The Grand Tour of Lancaster’s Independent Coffee Shops


As a student in a small and historic city, coffee shops will inevitably become a part of your weekly routine, as the perfect environment to study, socialise, and unwind; you need to know the best independent cafe’s to stop you throwing your money away at Costa.

Holm: @holmcoffeelancaster

The most unique themed coffee shop in Lancaster, this Nordic café and grocery shop, is holm to ‘coffee, cake, and good company.’ With a selection of boardgames, books, and art created by local artists situated in the seating area Holm provides the most cosy and comforting environment I have found in Lancaster. With only a small lounge area and a little garden out back for summertime dining, customers can enjoy a wide variety of teas, coffees, and other unique Nordic drinks such as ‘Chocolate O’Boy’. For a quick lunch to eat in or takeaway, the wraps, sandwiches, and pastries are perfect, but the star of the show is the £5 fika deal: routed in the Swedish culture of sweet treats, caffeine, and socialising with friends. For just a fiver you can get any hot drink and any home-made cake from the counter. As a pet friendly space, you can almost guarantee a visit from one of the regular pups as you enjoy a cinnamon bun on the couch, or as you try and refrain from eating an entire box of ginger ‘Anna’ biscuits which come with every drink. Situated at 22 King Street, Holm is only across the road from the Primark bus stop, making it convenient for a quick stop on the way to the train station or to try something new and join the secret drawing club and craft workshops that are regularly held in the café.


Sat at the end of Brock Street, Brew is well known amongst Lancaster locals for the coffee, cakes, brunch selection, and smiling faces, offering a wide selection of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free alternatives. All the cakes, sandwiches, and pastries at the counter are hand crafted, and a little-known gem of the café is that they make celebration cakes with Baked by Brew, so the birthdays in the flat are covered, and they definitely beat the confetti cakes at Aldi. For a strong start to your day, or a mid-day pick me up, the big brew breakfast sandwich is an obvious choice, with chilli jam, egg, meat (or an alternative) and a huge home-made bun, you might struggle to finish it. The quality of the food, as well as the coffee is incredible, and the best part is you can take it away for a brew on the go before the big grocery shopping trip. With a homely outdoor seating area, decorated with fairy lights and classic iron tables, the garden compliments the interior with plants hanging from the ceiling, and smooth music playing across the speakers. Brew covers all bases with a calming garden to sit with an iced latte in summer, and warm benches indoors for winter. Show your student ID this month only for 10% off.

The Herbarium: @theherbariumbar

One of Lancaster’s most praised cafés and bar, The Herbarium on Great John Street is a 100% vegan café, serving food, alcohol, and coffee. The rustic décor is complemented by the modern touches of neon signs, plenty of plants (of course), as well as cosy and mismatched furniture, and up-cycled decorations. The entire space feels relaxing and welcoming, and it’s also a great place to feel close to likeminded people, whether that be those who share your diet and lifestyle, or via the community blackboard, which advertises all the current events in Lancaster. With a wide range of hot, cold, and alcoholic drinks, including the infamous mermaid matcha latte, you have a choice of many fully vegan, and many gluten free, cakes and bakes, as well as an always updating menu to fit with seasonal trends, and dishes on trial. For a quiet break away from the bustle of the town centre (and likely the pouring rain) shelter in ‘the Snug.’

The Music Room: @musicroomcafe

Hidden away in a small, cobbled square on Sun Street, The Music Room is a small café with an indoor upstairs balcony and the main character vibes you need while you work on that essay, your next book, or study to the lo-fi music over the speakers. Also serving home-made cakes, as well as the famous Atkinsons coffee, just like at the castle. Atkinsons, in their China Street store, supplies a very wide range of teas and also offers an exceptional range of coffee and chocolate to more than satisfy the hot drink connoisseurs amongst you. A hot herbal tea accompanied by a fruit and nut loaf cake up on the balcony with a good book just makes the academic dream of your teen-drama fantasy come true. The Music Room has by far the largest variety of drinks to chose from, mostly tea, which sets up that wholesome and cosy vibe, in a secret pocket of town, with friendly and knowledgeable staff, The Music Room really is a hidden gem.

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