There’s nothing quite like a visit to your favourite coffee shop to start the day. And when it comes to coffee, the UK’s got it pretty good! In fact, there are over 25,000 coffee shops in the UK, so you’re never too far away from a caffeine fix. So with coffee around every corner, we’ve narrowed it way down to bring you some of our favourites. Grab a brew, settle in, and have a read through some of the best independent coffee shops in the UK.
1. Bean & Bread, Abergavanny
A hidden gem of the UK coffee scene, Bean & Bread is a South Pacific style coffee shop and cocktail bar with a passion for plant-based food and sustainability. With a warm, friendly atmosphere and welcoming staff, it’s a delicious place to stop for a healthy bite to eat with friends.
2. Bold Street Coffee, Liverpool
Bold Street Coffee in Liverpool is an award-winning specialty coffee shop, and the perfect place to catch up with friends over a brew or two. Not only is the coffee excellent, but there’s some great food on offer too.
3. Cafe Strange Brew, Glasgow
A local favourite, Cafe Strange Brew might have the best reputation of any coffee shop in Glasgow. The coffee is great, the atmosphere is friendly and the breakfast and brunches are delicious!
4. Alchemista Coffee, Norwich
Come for the coffee, stay for the coffee cocktails. With a passion for great coffee and impeccable customer service from trained coffee experts, Alchemista are on a mission to take their customer experience from the ordinary to the extraordinary. Grab a table, enjoy your coffee of choice, and stick around to try 6 of their signature coffee cocktails.
5. General Merchants, Belfast
A popular spot for Belfast locals, General Merchants have three sites across Belfast, serving up coffee, brunch and burgers. Known best for their excellent breakfast and brunch plates, we recommend trying their Avo Brekkie washed down with a flat white.
6. Rosslyn Coffee, London
Despite its location in the City of London, the folks at Rosslyn are more concerned about quality tasting coffee than following trends. Behind the smart black facade is a bright and airy coffee shop, with friendly staff making commuters, tourists and office workers feel at home.
7. Brew Lab Coffee, Edinburgh
Edinburgh’s home of excellent specialty coffee. Grab a seat and watch as the staff lovingly make a coffee just for you. The coffee is great, but the surrounding ambience and character of the cafe are just as good.
8. Federal Cafe & Bar, Manchester
Federal has been serving superb coffee since 2014, from three locations in Deansgate, Altrincham Market and The Northern Quarter. Its founders, Claudio and Emily, pride themselves on the authentic, enjoyable, welcoming experience they’ve created at one of Manchester’s favourite coffee spots.
9. Plant, Sheffield
Fill your day with foliage and pop in for a coffee at Sheffield’s Plant. Aside from stocking a huge range of plants and all you need for making your home brew, they also have a trusty coffee menu which serves up some of the best brews in town.
10. Flat White, Durham
Flat White serves their coffee with the highest attention to detail. So much in fact, that their baristas need to train for six months before being allowed to serve their customers. With service like this, tasty brunches, and a cosy atmosphere, it’s no wonder it’s one of the North East’s favourite coffee shops.
11. Pink Lane Coffee, Newcastle
Helping to fuel the coffee lovers of Newcastle, Pink Lane Coffee’s brews will keep you coming back for more. There’s also a hefty selection of yummy pastries to tame your sweet tooth, if you’re so inclined.
12. North Star Coffee Shop, Leeds
If you’re looking for a coffee pit stop in Leeds, North Star Coffee is THE place to go. A short walk from the city centre, they serve fresh bakes, delicious brunches and the best brew in Leeds. Head on over to grab your caffeine hit and see what all the fuss is about.
Photo @federationcoffee via @europeancoffeetrip
13. Federation Coffee, London
In Brixton Village, you can try some of London’s best coffee, browse the independent stores and galleries, and try cuisine from all corners of the globe - without ever having to leave Brixton. And tucked away in here is cosy Federation Coffee that has a lovely neighbourhood feel to it. Grab lunch with your brew, and take in the atmosphere from one of South London’s favourite spots.
14. Colonna & Smalls, Bath
Not all coffee is created equal and Colonna & Smalls’ coffee is a cut above the rest. With a host of awards under their belt, and a weekly coffee rotation that embraces the seasonality of coffee growing, the innovative team behind Colonna are some of the industry’s most passionate coffee lovers.
15. Black Cab Coffee Co, London
It’s difficult enough to make great coffee indoors, but battling the elements? Well, that’s something Graham Buck and Emmy Osman have been successfully conquering for years with Black Cab Coffee Co. Rain or shine, they’ve been a regular on Brick Lane for 6 years, and have most recently opened their first bricks and mortar coffee shop in Nine Elms, serving up coffee, cocktails and delicious food.
16. Strangers Coffee, Norwich
Strangers has soon become the Norwich coffee shop of choice with three locations to choose from. It has all the charm to become your new neighbourhood cafe, with a roastery on Dove Street where you can grab a cup and buy a bag of beans to takeaway. This is bean to cup in all its glory.
17. District Coffee, London
District Coffee is a London favourite. Its humble beginnings stemmed from founder Chelsea wanting to bring the Australian brunch culture to the UK. Since then it’s grown in size with three London locations in Parsons Green, Nine Elms, and the newest addition in the charming streets of Mayfair. The quality food and welcoming atmosphere prove to be just as good as the speciality coffee.
18. Picnic Coffee, Bath
The cosy spot that caffeinates the people of Bath, Picnic Coffee brew speciality grade coffee and boast delicious sweet treats that are too good not to try.
19. Blackbird Bakery, London
Serving top-notch coffee and heaving with bread, cakes, pastries, jams, salads and sandwiches - there’s not much you won’t find at Blackbird Bakery. What began as an East London market stall now spans eight South London locations. And the best bit? They still make every single thing they sell.
20. Haptik, Newtownards
The crowd at Haptik is always friendly, and the coffee is always delicious. Kickstart your morning with one of their artfully made coffees, and fill up with the best brunch in town.
21. The Flower Cup, Chester
The Flower Cup is pretty much the closest thing you’ll find to cafe heaven in Chester. A buzzing place, with green and pink decor, it’s one of the North West’s prettiest spots.
22. The Scandinavian Coffee Pod, Cheltenham
The Scandinavian Coffee Pod has become renowned for giving Cheltenham locals their fika fix. A little off the beaten track, its chilled out vibe means it’s a great place to escape the town centre. The coffee here is strong, smooth and always delicious.
Visit The Scandinavian Coffee Pod
23. Full Court Press, Bristol
We love a place that puts honesty and transparency at the core of their business. Not to mention a place that’s planning to invest in a training space where social enterprises can deliver coffee training to marginalised groups. The energy at Full Court Press is focused solely on the coffee, with a changing menu to showcase the full coffee spectrum. It’s the perfect spot to grab a coffee and learn about its complex flavours from truly passionate staff.
24. Milk, London
With bone white brick walls and gorgeous greenery, the coffee here just is as good as the aesthetic. Serving delicious food and great coffee, this sleek and stylish Balham cafe has become one of London’s favourite brunch destinations.
25. Lovecrumbs, Edinburgh
You’re in for a real treat when you visit Lovecrumbs. The coffee is brilliant, the staff are friendly, and the cakes are expertly made. A day exploring Edinburgh should start right here.
26. Flotsam & Jetsam, London
You’ll feel at home at Flotsam & Jetsam thanks to the cosy interiors, not to mention the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. Pop in on a gloomy day and the decor and friendly baristas will give you as much of a pick me up as the coffee.