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Best Coffee Shops in the UK

Thursday 16 March 2023

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We all have visited some of the big coffee chains, but there is a growing wave of small and independent coffee shops surging across the UK. So much so that there are currently around 8,000 coffee shops and café chains in the UK to choose from – so finding the best can be a challenge.

We always recommend supporting local businesses, and what’s great is that all the independent shops have their own uniqueness, whether through their self-roasted beans, quirky interiors, or passionate staff.

Whether you want a morning pick-me-up, are searching for a place to take a date, or simply looking for the best coffee in the city, this guide is for you. Here are some of the best coffee shops in the UK.

Person pouring latte art

Fig & Sparrow; Manchester

With so much great coffee in Manchester, finding the best coffee shop hasn’t been easy. But you certainly won’t be disappointed in visiting Fig & Sparrow in Manchester’s Northern Quarter: an independent coffee shop with fantastic coffee and delicious food. The café itself is small and intimate and has a very relaxed atmosphere, the perfect opportunity for a break during a busy day, catching up with friends, or a date. Customers can indulge in a house blend made exclusively by Grindsmith. Fig & Sparrow can brew through AeroPress, Chemex, and V60 filters if you know exactly how you like your coffee. What's also plus is that the cafe is dog-friendly, so your four-legged friend is welcome too.

Getting there by train

Fig & Sparrow is less than a 10-minute walk from Manchester Piccadilly.

V60 Coffee being poured

Fortitude; Edinburgh

Fortitude has not one, but three coffee shops dotted across the Scottish capital. Each shop has its unique and beautiful interior design, but all sell the same delicious, Edinburgh-brewed coffee. Whether you're in York Place, Hamilton Place, or Newington Road, you're in for a coffee and interior design treat. Fortitude offers two espresso options and a variety of filter coffees - from hand-brewed on Kalita Wave or batch-brewed. If you're hungry, choose from a selection of cakes and morning buns, all freshly made in their own bakery, to accompany your lovely coffee.

Getting there by train

  • York Place: Less than a ten-minute walk from Edinburgh Waverly
  • Hamilton Place: 22-minute walk from the station
  • Newington Road: Is a 15-minute bus journey from Edinburgh Waverly

Full Court Press (FCP); Bristol

A coffee lovers' dream shop. If you're pursuing the best coffee shop in Bristol, FCP should be your first stop. Their mission is to provide the highest-grade coffee available, so the local FCP roastery order in small bulks for the freshest coffee result - a streamlined process from picking, to roasting, to brewing. Buying in smaller quantities also means FCP has been able to experiment with various beans. In their first year of roasting, FCP offered 69 single-origin coffees across 18 countries! The café matches these high standards with a key focus on being honest and informative about their coffee; paired with the uber-friendly staff, you can learn tonnes about coffee while getting a top-notch beverage.

Getting there by train

Full Court Press is a leisurely 15-minute walk from Bristol Temple Meads station.

Papercup Coffee Roasters; Glasgow

Tucked down a leafy cobbled lane, Papercup Coffee Roasters offers a quaint setting for exquisite coffee. Ethically and sustainably sourced speciality beans are roasted right there in the cafe, so you get a hypnotising view of the process and a beautifully rich aroma of the coffee - a sensory delight. If you like a milky coffee, order your usual at the bar and be impressed by the top-grade latte art. While for those dining in, grab a seat outside and observe the bustle of Glasgow's West End while you kick back and enjoy a lovely coffee.

Getting there by train

Papercup Coffee Roasters is a picturesque 35-minute walk from Glasgow Central station or a 25-minute bus journey.

Coffee roaster dispensing freshly roasted coffee

Missing Bean; Oxfordshire

Since they started roasting coffee in 2014, Missing Bean has surged across Oxfordshire with five coffee shops in Oxford, Abingdon, Banbury, and Botley, serving over 1,000,000 coffees! No matter which store you visit, the staff, otherwise known as Beanies, are genuinely passionate about brewing excellent coffee - welcoming questions about their local roastery, their very own bakery, and where their coffee comes from. If you like to brew at home or would like to get started, Missing Bean sells a variety of freshly roasted coffee by the bag, as well as home brewing equipment – just be aware of catching the coffee bug.

Getting there by train

Missing Bean has shops located across Oxfordshire; depending on which one you’d like to visit, Oxford or Banbury station are the closest train stops.

Fitzbillies; Cambridge

This café and bakery has stood proudly on Trumpington Street for over a century and has a very proud heritage of a traditional British café. Not only selling good coffee, but Fitzbillies also has an array of homemade cakes, great brunches and lunches, and a classic afternoon tea experience. The must-try is the Chelsea Bun – a foodie fixture in Cambridge since 1920! Due to popular demand, you can also find a branch of Fitzbillies on Bridge Street.

Getting there by train

Both Fitzbillies branches are less than a 30-minute walk from Cambridge stations. Alternatively, the bus will take around 20-minutes.


If you’re planning a trip to one of the best coffee shops the UK, don’t forget to book an Advance ticket via our website or our Train Tickets app. You can also find information on how to get cheaper train tickets via our special offers page. If you need more information, you can contact us here.

The UK is bursting with fun activities. Whether you’re visiting one of the best historical places in the UK, the best forests in the UK, or the best cinemas in the UK, you can always travel by train. CrossCountry has services running up and down the country to ensure you can get to the places you need to be.

Written by Abby

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