Much of the information stored on the web contains geographical context, but current search engines treat such context in the same way as all other content. In this paper we describe the design, implementation and evaluation of a spatially aware search engine which is capable of handling queries in the form of the triplet of <theme><spatial relationship><location>. The process of identifying geographic references in documents and assigning appropriate footprints to documents, to be stored together with document terms in an appropriate indexing structure allowing real-time search, is described. Methods allowing users to query and explore results which have been relevance-ranked in terms of both thematic and spatial relevance have been implanted and a usability study indicates that users are happy with the range of spatial relationships available and intuitively understand how to use such a search engine. Normalised precision for 38 queries, containing four types of spatial relationships, is significantly higher (p<0.001) for searches exploiting spatial information than pure text search.