My last trip to the United Kingdom I added the charming city of York to my UK itinerary. I had mixed feelings of spending time in York as it seemed to be a place that people either loved or disliked. Some visitors gushed about how charming and quaint it was. Others said it was touristy and didn’t feel “real”.
I absolutely fell in the first category. York won my heart and I can’t wait to return. I visited in late September, so I’m sure I missed the worst of the crowds. It never felt overly touristy and there were many moments in the morning and evening when I had the most picturesque streets to myself.
York has charm, a stunning little section of medieval streets called The Shambles, awesome restaurants, good shopping, a reputation for being the most haunted city in England, and a very interesting Viking past. There is also no shortage of cozy coffee shops and cafes.
Whether you need a place to work, chat with friends, or soak in the views, I have the spot for you! Let’s dive into the best coffee shops in York!
Looking for things to do in York? Read TOP York Attractions | 10 BEST Things to do in York, England.
1. Gatehouse Coffee
One of the best coffee shops in York for memorable views
Gatehouse Coffee will be one of the most memorable coffee shops in York that you visit. Like many medieval cities, York was encircled by city walls for protection. Did you know York has more miles of intact city walls than any other place in England? Along these walls are gatehouses. These were the entrances through the wall and often used to collect tolls.
Gatehouse coffee is, you guessed it, located in a gatehouse. It’s a must on any visit to York, especially if the weather is nice. They have a patio at the top of the gatehouse that offers views over York and the ancient city walls.
It’s quite a unique spot to enjoy your morning latte, which is why it’s at the top of the list of best coffee shops in York. If the weather isn’t agreeable there is a small, but very cozy, space inside with exposed stone walls and rustic furniture.
The staff is especially friendly and will make sure you are taken care of. Try a warm panini, homemade soup, freshly baked pie, or the popular lemon cake. Everything here is made with care and will not disappoint. WiFi is available if you need to stay and work.
One of the best coffee shops in York for riverside views
DYLS has a scenic riverside view and is located at the Skeldergate bridge. The patio is the perfect spot to enjoy some afternoon sunshine while watching rowers glide by on their narrow boats. The interior is a circular building at the entrance of the bridge. Walk up the winding staircase to check out the four quirky, circular rooms…you almost feel like you’re in a miniature castle.
DYLS is a great choice if you want more than coffee and pastries. A full bar and food menu are available and makes this a convenient choice for evening cocktails. The brunch menu features items like vegan blueberry overnight oats, smashed avocado toast, and homemade brioche French toast with a variety of toppings. Try the croque madame or goulash soup if you stop by in the afternoon.
If you’re just stopping by for a coffee, try the red velvet latte or the turmeric spiced hot cocoa. The baked goods are always fresh, so be sure to ask what is available that day.
DYLS and Gatehouse Coffee are the best coffee shops in York to visit when the weather is nice and you want the option to sit outside.
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3. BREW & BROWNIE
One of the best cafes in York for baked goods and treats
If I lived in York, you would find me at Brew & Brownie multiple times a week. Not only do they serve excellent artisan coffee drinks and quality loose leaf tea, their baked goods and extensive breakfast and lunch menu are incredible. The menu changes with the season and ingredients are sourced from the best local farmers and suppliers.
I highly recommend the American pancake stack with salted caramel, bananas, and golden syrup for something sweet or the eggs royale with smoked salmon, watercress, poached eggs, and hollandaise over fresh sourdough for something savory.
The homemade soups and toasted sandwiches are a solid choice for lunch. Be sure to check out the specials they have written on the board.
Make sure to save room for dessert. The baked selection is always fresh and rotates. Try the lemon crumble shortbread, salted caramel brownie, scones, or the Victoria sponge cake. A small variety of gluten-free and vegan options is also offered.
WiFi is available, but this is not a place I would stay and work. Since Brew & Brownie serves a full menu and the space is small, it would feel like bad manners to stay after you’ve finished your meal. It’s better to come and enjoy your coffee or meal for an hour or two and then move on (unless it’s a slow day and empty). There is usually a line on the weekends, so prepare accordingly.
Brew & Brownie is hands down my favorite coffee shop in York when I’ve worked up an appetite.
4. Drift-In Cafe
One of the best coffee shops in York to work or study
Drift-In Cafe has a totally different vibe from the other coffee shops in York. Its beach theme complete with surfboard décor, weathered wood flooring and walls, and large windows makes this a relaxing place to chill or work.
This one of the best cafes York offers with a super healthy menu complete with fresh juices, green smoothies, and granola shakes. There are also grilled sandwiches, wraps, and a large selection of salads.
Drift-In Café is a safe choice for vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free diets. The crepes (both sweet and savory option) can be made with gluten-free vegan batter. Try the gruyere cheese and sautéed mushroom crepe or the black cherry with vanilla ice cream.
This York café really seems to have it all. Excellent artisan coffee drinks, sinful treats, healthy salads, hearty sandwiches, and refreshing smoothies…all served with a smile.
Drift-In Café is one of the best coffee shops in York for those looking to work or study. It’s spacious and bright and the tables are spread out so you don’t feel cramped.
5. Spring Espresso
One of the best coffee shops in York for quality coffee
Spring Espresso knows their coffee! The flat white was probably one of the best I had while in York. There are two locations. The Fossgate location is perfect if you’re walking by the river or visiting Clifford’s Tower. The Lendal location is close to the Museum Gardens and St. Mary’s Abbey. Both are small and cozy with just enough space for a few tables and chairs along with counter and window seating. It’s the perfect mix of cozy without being overly packed.
The menu has classic café fare like avocado toast, overnight oats, granola bowls, and sandwiches. The American pancakes are extra fluffy and worth the splurge. The flat white and mocha are especially good here along with the classic Americano.
Neither location had WiFi when I visited, so bring a book or friend to chat with.
I hope you enjoy York as much as I did. These are without a doubt the best coffee shops in York. Each spot serves excellent espresso and tasty treats. Try one of all five and let me know which ended up being your favorite!
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Are you a York resident or have you visited recently? Let me know your favorite coffee shops in York, UK in the comments below!
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