London is a huge city and has no shortage of good cafés. Between the many chain coffee shops there are plenty of quirky, interesting places if you know where to look.
Most of the suggestions below are in central London (though exactly what constitutes central London in such a large city could be debated). Of course, this lists barely scratches the surface and there are always new places to be discovered.
So, if you don’t fancy Costa or Starbucks for your caffeine fix, don’t fret. Here are some great cafés to check out.
Be prepared for a wait at this popular coffeeshop off Euston road. Word is very much out about this funkily decorated cafe, which is popular for its coffee and brunch options. They’ve got everything from paleo granola to avocado toasties to Oreo French toast (I’m not kidding).
It’s conveniently located just a few minutes’ walk from Kings Cross St Pancras station.
As the name suggests, this place is more about tea than coffee, and it really knows its stuff. The range of teas available can be a little overwhelming on your first visit, but the helpful staff will always give suggestions if needed.
Given its Soho location it does tend to get busy (especially on weekends) but there is additional seating downstairs.
During the week, Fleet Street is full of suits rushing to offices with a takeaway cup in hand, often purchased from one of the many chain cafés. But Fleet Street does have at least one great independent coffee shop to boast of: The Fleet Street Press.
The coffee is good and the service always friendly. I used to work on Fleet Street and would often grab breakfast from Press, so I can vouch for the porridge and croissants, too!
I recently came across this charming little café/bar on a visit to Marylebone. If you’re coming during the day then you’ll receive the modest but decent brunch menu. You can accompany it with a cold-press juice (not pressed on the site itself, the waiter was quick to inform me) or choose from a selection of teas. The evenings are for cocktails instead.
31 Below is on Marylebone High Street, just across from the wonderful Daunt Books.
I love the Southbank centre. Its outdoor market is a great place to sample new food and drinks, with everything from Ethiopian coffee to Italian ice cream to traditional Greek food.
The market is open every weekend. There’s always something going on at the Southbank centre so it’s worth checking out the website to see if you can catch something during your visit.
I’m cheating a little, as Vivo is more of a restaurant than a café. I’m including it as a nod to the yummy food and open roof terrace. It has a deli counter with baked goods and a great salad bar.
You can find Vivo in Islington, which is home to a number of nice (often high-end) bakeries, cafés and restaurants. It’s just a couple of minutes’ walk from Angel station.
If you happen to find yourself down in Twickenham, you won’t be hard-pressed to find a good coffeeshop. I recently visited this lovely little café and would highly recommended it. The service is great, and you can choose from a selection of sweet and savoury food and drinks.
Esquires Coffee is surprisingly roomy, extending back quite far from the entrance. I liked its earthy colours and decor, which give it a laid-back feel. You’ll find it on popular King Street, just a few moments away from the river.
On a recent bookshop day in London, I came across a book by Kirstin von Glasow called 111 Coffee Shops in London That You Must Not Miss. After a quick skim-read, I discovered that I’d only visited one on her list (Fleet Street Press), so I’ve obviously got plenty more cafés to visit. It’s a hard life.
Do you have a favourite coffeeshop in London? If so, I’d love to hear your recommendations!