London has an endless supply of sights, shops and restaurants – there’s just so much to see and do! As the poet Samuel Johnson famously wrote, “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” It’s the UK’s most popular tourist destination – according to Groupon, London attracted almost 20 million visitors in 2017. Getting around all of those sights and museums can be exhausting, though, and you can end up feeling like all you’ve seen is other tourists! If you want to get off the beaten track and see the real, authentic London, a good place to start is by exploring its many gorgeous and quirky cafes. They’re the best place to meet locals, take a break, get a new perspective on the city, and savour your time in the capital. Cafes also offer a great backdrop for photos, adding some authentic local charm and cultural interest to your Instagram feed. Here are three of the most Instagrammable London cafes to include on your next visit:
1) Chief Coffee
A hidden gem tucked away in Chiswick, Chief Coffee is a fantastic find for coffee lovers. The prices are quite good for London, the food and drink are excellent, and the bar is stunning. Check out their custom copper and wood filter coffee brew station, granite counter and exposed brick walls. The atmosphere is chilled out and you won’t be rushed to move on if you linger over that first cup. Downstairs in the Pinball Lounge, there’s a fairly impressive collection of classic 80’s and 90’s pinball games to play. Gamers will love to have a go on these vintage machines, installed there by pinball-fan and owner Sam for “big kids as well as little kids”, and they make another quirky Insta photo op to enjoy. They’re also dog-friendly, so nobody is left out of the fun!
And the award for quirkiest cafe goes to Attendant, a former Victorian-era public lavatory that has been transformed into a surprisingly great brunch and lunch destination. Centrally located in Fitzrovia, this beautifully renovated space incorporates original porcelain Doulton & Co. urinals and original Victorian floor tiles into its must-see decor. If you find the idea of drinking coffee in a former toilet to be off-putting rather than quirky, you can still enjoy Attendant’s great food and drinks at its two other locations, in Shoreditch and Clerkenwell.
3) Monmouth Coffee Company
With shops in Covent Garden and The Borough, Monmouth Coffee Company has been a favourite of London’s coffee connoisseurs for over three decades. They are dedicated to single-origin coffee, visiting farms around the globe to taste and source the best quality coffee beans they can find, then roasting them back home in London. Not only is the coffee incredible, but the surroundings are gorgeous, too. The wooden tables and exposed brick walls, latte art and vintage industrial lighting are aesthetically spot-on for Instagrammers – no filter needed!
Interested in a self guided Harry Potter themed walking tour of London? You can read more here.