As you get acquainted with Central London during your trip planning, you might notice and start to recognize some areas: Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, and even Westminster… These are the names of places where you can find the city’s top sights, sounds, smells, and souvenirs.
But within Central London are other areas you will probably pass through – and though they may not have the same draws for travelers, they still have a lot to offer. (After all, Londoners do live all over the city, so you know there have to be some good things everywhere!)
While you might associate London with tea, there’s a strong coffee culture too, and London’s central Holborn area is right in the heart of it all. Most commonly a pass-through area by commuters and travelers alike, Holborn is a great area to fuel up with caffeine before, during, or after a day of adventure.
Below you’ll find a list of the cafes and coffee shops in Holborn, ranked in order of both quality and popularity. Whether you’re looking for a sit-down spot with delicious brunch options or a quick cuppa to-go before hitting the British Museum or heading elsewhere in London, here are the best cafes and coffee shops worth stopping into.
Editor’s Note: During my time living in London, I passed through Holborn a lot. It’s not a destination in its own right, but some of these coffee shops and cafes are, especially if you’re a true connoisseur. – Valerie
The Best Cafes & Coffee Shops in Holborn – Ranked!
There are a lot of lists of the “best” cafes and coffee shops in Holborn out there, and most of them have some sort of black box way of deciding what to include and in what order. I prefer to be transparent in how I rank the things I recommend on this site, so below you’ll find a table with scores for each cafe and coffee shop; here’s how I came up with those numbers:
- I selected only those coffee shops and cafes that are located within the generally agreed bounds of the Holborn area (23 in all)
- I ranked all of the cafes/coffee shops by rating and number of reviews on Google reviews
- I then combined those scores with the proportion of reviews each coffee shop/cafe received to come up with a score (out of 5) for each cafe or coffee shop
- I ranked the coffee shops and cafes by score, and broke ties by the number of reviews (at the time of reviewing the data)
Also, I included only cafes and coffee shops with a rating of 4.0 or higher, to ensure I was only including those coffee shops and cafes which are truly good. I additionally didn’t include international chains like Pret a Manger or Costa Coffee – not because they aren’t good, but instead to better represent the independent coffee shop and cafe options. (Shop and buy local!)
Given all that, here are the best coffee shops and cafes in Holborn:
|Cafe/Coffee Shop Name||Reviews||Score|
|3||Party At Pavilion||325+||4.05|
|4||The Black Penny||300+||4.05|
|5||Buns From Home||125+||4.02|
Below, you’ll find more about each of these top 5 Holborn coffee shops and cafes, plus shorter descriptions of the other eight that I reviewed for this post.
1. Prufrock Coffee
Photos courtesy of Prufrock Coffee via Instagram
When it comes to the best coffee shops in Holborn, Prufrock Coffee tops the list for a reason. Created and run by a bunch of true coffee experts, the ethos here is to support small, independent farms and local producers.
It’s not just all about coffee though! Lovers of tea have an exciting choice too, once again, all thoughtfully sourced and wholesome, healthy brunch-style dishes are also served from the kitchen throughout the day.
Photos courtesy of Catalyst
Holborn is the central London legal district and is made up of imposing offices and formal buildings. With this in mind, you would be forgiven for thinking that the area is lacking in quality cafes and eateries.
However, hardworking and sometimes frazzled legal teams virtually run on good coffee and the blends served at Catalyst are exceptional. The coffee beans are roasted and ground on-site by staff who are passionate about making sure the coffee they provide customers with is far from ordinary.
There is also an excellent food menu that consists of dishes that combine traditional British cuisine and Greek flavor and influence.
3. The Fleet Street Press
Photos courtesy of The Fleet Street Press via Instagram
Renowned both locally and further afield for serving exceptional blends of coffee, the team at The Fleet Street Press takes their task of providing customers with high-quality drinks very seriously. The beans they use are ethically sourced and sustainably processed and they pride themselves on investing in specialized equipment and the best technology to guarantee the highest possible standard of coffee is poured into your cup.
As well as coffee you can also enjoy various artisan teas, delicious homemade cakes, and a whole array of different pastries.
4. Becks Cafe
Photos courtesy of Becks Cafe via Instagram
Becks Cafe is what a typical Londoner might refer to as a greasy spoon. Don’t be put off by this rather unflattering nickname though, as traditional British cafes like this are at the heart of the local communities and usually serve good, honest homemade grub!
Recent reviewers rave about the Big Breakfast which is an authentic English morning dish, guaranteed to start your day off right! The prices charged here are far more reasonable than other cafes in the area and the service is renowned for being warm and friendly.
5. Knockbox Coffee
Photos courtesy of Knockbox Coffee via Instagram
Considered by many to be one of the best coffee shops in Holborn, Knockbox Coffee may be small in structure but it is huge in character! The front of the shop is dominated by a large half-moon window which lets in plenty of sunlight, making the interior bright and welcoming.
There is only limited space inside for seating but outside there is more, making this the ideal spot to sit down on a sunny day, with a coffee to watch the Holborn world go by. This place is well known for the quality of the coffee it serves, and for the delicious toasties that come in various flavors.
Other Great Coffee Shops & Cafes in Holborn
Photos courtesy of The Espresso Room via Instagram
While those are the top five Holborn coffee shops and cafes, there are lots of other choices if you’re not sold on them. Here are the rest of the spots I reviewed to help you find the perfect one for your perfect cuppa.
- Caffè Vergnano 1882 – Caffè Vergnano 1882 has a fascinating history, as the building it resides within was originally built in 1545 and was one of the few to survive The Great Fire of London in 1666. What an extraordinary accolade! It is not just the property that is special. The Times wrote that Caffè Vergnano 1882 serves “The best Espresso in London ”, so that alone surely puts this place firmly on everyone’s list of the best cafes in Holborn.
- Kozzy Cafe – The Kozzy Cafe is a no-frills affair where you can enjoy a great breakfast or brunch at an even better price, right in the center of Holborn. Its claim to fame is that it has been used to film a number of popular TV shows.
- SOHO Coffee Co. – Part of a large cafe chain that certainly knows its beans, the SOHO Coffee Co in Holborn is a convenient spot to grab a hot drink and a bite to eat. It is worth noting that the reviews for this place are a little hit-and-miss, so perhaps your experience here will depend on the day that you visit.
- Half Million – Half Million takes its coffee blending super seriously to ensure customers enjoy the best possible cup when visiting them. The food they serve, which consists of an attractive selection of cakes and pastries are all very carefully chosen to best complement the coffee!
- The Espresso Room – The Espresso Room is a charming little place that is both cozy and inviting. It is worth noting that there isn’t any indoor seating here, but there are some cute outdoor benches that are ideal to perch on and enjoy your coffee on a sunny day.
- EspressoBase Speciality Coffee – At the EspressoBase Speciality Coffee place they use the highest grade single origin roasted Arabica beans and they enthusiastically encourage customers to enjoy their coffee without adding sugar, so confident are they in the exquisite taste of their offerings.
- Chancery Press – At the Chancery Press, you can indulge yourself in a cup of specialty coffee that has been expertly blended. There is also the opportunity to buy your own packs of coffee beans and Chancery Press merch too.
- Black Sheep Coffee & Cocktails – This unique and delightfully quirky place has to be one of the best cafes in Holborn. The walls at the Black Sheep Coffee are filled with witty and inspiring quotes and animations. It is comfortable and friendly and the food and drink get some rave reviews from customers.
- Redemption Roasters Holborn – Redemption Roasters is the ideal spot for larger groups to meet for a coffee and a catch-up, as it boasts ample indoor seating. They serve the finest specialty coffees, as well as other drinks, and a variety of sweet and savory treats.
- Lever & Bloom Coffee – Lever & Bloom Coffee is a delightful independent coffee company that is owned by two best friends who share a passion for serving superb coffee and delectable baked goods. An absolute must-visit when in Holborn.
- Beanberry Coffee Company – A modern and smart-looking coffee shop in the heart of Holborn, the Beanberry Coffee Company showcases a full espresso bar offering four different varieties of flavor plus a cabinet packed with scrumptious treats.
- Little Venice Cafe – The Little Venice Cafe is tucked away but worth the search if you are hoping for a traditional English breakfast at a reasonable price.
- Blank Street Coffee – Blank Street Coffee is a cool and contemporary place where you can grab a specialty coffee. In addition to the place in Holborn, they also have branches in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Boston, and Washington, D.C..
- Roasting Plant Coffee – At the Roasting Plant, they pride themselves on being able to serve their customers outstanding coffee from freshly roasted beans, every single day using an innovative roasting system that they invented and developed themselves.
- Red Lion Cafe – The Red Lion Cafe is a family-friendly informal eatery that sells good coffee and decent food at very reasonable prices. Rumour has it that the cheese and tomato toasties are something of a specialty!
- The Gentlemen Baristas Holborn – The Gentleman Baristas have been delighting customers with their good manners and chivalry since 2014. This is a well-meaning, community-spirited concept where visitors can be assured of a truly super cup of (award-winning!) coffee and the most splendid customer service!
- Cafebotanical – A super cool interior, ample outside seating, and excellent cuisine make Cafebotanical a contender for the best cafe in Holborn. Comfortable surroundings and friendly staff who pay attention to detail are also comments that recent customers have made. They specialize in organic, sustainable, and a predominantly vegetable-based menu.
- Queens Coffee Holborn – Queens Coffee is a coffee stand that boasts a central location in the heart of Holborn. If the constant stream of customers visiting here is anything to go by you can tell the coffee served here is very popular with both locals and tourists. There is plenty of surrounding seating offering enjoyable views too.
Have any questions about these best cafes and coffee shops in Holborn, or which one(s) to visit? Let me know in the comments below!