Discovering five fab UK coffee shops

One of the things I’m known for amongst my friends is my love of good coffee. It hasn’t always been this way, in fact I didn’t even like coffee until after university. But in the early days of blogging, when a wave of independent coffee shops were sweeping through London, I discovered an enjoyment for not only the taste of speciality coffee but the place offered to enjoy it in.

I wrote about my love of London coffee shops before. But there’s so much more good coffee to discover beyond the capital, seeing as it’s UK Coffee Week, I thought I’d share the coffee shops I’ve discovered outside the M25.

L I N C O L N – Coffee Aroma

Truth be told I wasn’t expecting to find any independent coffee shops in Lincoln, but I was getting into town an hour or so before my friends and thought it was worth a Google. I happily found Coffee Aroma.

Tucked down a small side street off the main high street, it looks like any other cafe on the outside but step inside and you’ll realise that these guys know their coffee. It’s warm and cosy with a creaky staircase, worn leather sofas and walls covered in music sheets (they do live music events upstairs.) Well worth skipping Starbucks for.

(As a cheeky bonus for you, I also discovered Makushi whilst we were there. Much more modern in style but equally good coffee.)

B I R M I N G H A M – Yorks

I hardly ever have much time to actually explore my hometown as I’m usually there to visit friends or family. But on the occasions my train pulls into the station with enough time to have coffee, off to Yorks I go.

Their newest and recently(ish) extended coffee shop is just around the back of the station. The bare brick, reclaimed wood interior fits in with the old corner shaped building. The coffee, which is roasted on site, has a light fruity note. And I definitely need to go back to try their brunch menu. But what I often like most is overhearing the brummie accent and the comfortable feeling of being ‘back home’.

C A M B R I D G E – Espresso Library

You’ll have seen this coffee shop before but I thought it was worth highlighting here.

With a town full of students and a reputation regular cyclists, it’s no surprise that a cycling-themed cafe can be found on the route between Cambridge Station and the town.

What I liked most about this coffee shop is that it’s a huge space and there’s loads of light. Obviously the coffee is pretty good too.

B A T H – Colonna Small’s

Last year I was in Bath for a hen do and got there early to explore the town. Naturally, the first thing on my mind was coffee, so I made my way over to Colona Smalls (which I’d heard about it via Giulia.)

As I waited to put my order in I overheard the Barista talking to another customer and it was pretty clear how passionate he was about coffee and recommending what to have.

Set up in what I think must have been an old shop that extends right out into the back, it’s full of light and small corners to enjoy a coffee or two.

Colona Smalls now offer Nespresso pods so you can try their coffee without needing to leave London.

L E E D S – Laynes Espresso

My most recent discovery as I popped in there on Thursday! I was up north for an all-day session of sifting through the M&S Archive for work. Laynes Espresso is handily only a few minutes from Leeds station so I popped in before jumping into a cab.

The coffee was great and slipped down very nicely, the food looked pretty tasty too. It didn’t feel as cosy as the previous coffee shops here, but I was only in there for a short while.


So how do you find a good coffee shop in the UK? My first port of call is usually Brian’s Coffee Spot, his passion for good coffee ensures that if he’s been to a town, he’ll have sought out a cafe worthy of his visit. If the town isn’t covered I resort to Google and search for ‘independent coffee shop’ and the town I’m visiting. Then I might check the location out on Instagram,  most good independent coffee shops will be on there!

I’m always looking for other coffee shops to discover. Do you have any UK coffee shops to recommend?



  1. May 1, 2017 / 6:36 pm

    Oooh this is so great – saving this for my UK travels! I always try Foursquare when I’m on the hunt, or my sister (who’s your level of coffee fiend!) swears by the Beanhunter app.

    • ThisCityLifeLondon
      May 1, 2017 / 7:09 pm

      It’s always worth knowing where the good coffee shops are hiding outside London! 🙂 Ooo thanks for the extra tips! I’m definitely adding Foursquare and Beanhunter to my phone!