The top 10 cafes in York

I have a lot of experience of cafes in York, since I cafe-hopped extensively during my time in York. I well and truly lived up to the stereotype of an English student reading a book with a cup of tea in a cafe, with the occasional piece of cake.

Betty’s Cafe, York

bettys cafe york

I’ve got to start with the Queen of all cafes in York, which of course is Betty’s.

It’s 100 years next year since Betty’s was founded and provides the city with an original old fashioned tea room. You can sit upstairs and book in advance for a swanky extended version of their afternoon tea, or you can queue it and spend £18.50 per person for an afternoon tea with all the trimmings.

Thankfully you can also just go in for a cuppa (but their hot chocolate is also A M A Z I N G) or grab an  all-day breakfast, so we do.

Brew and Brownie

My favourite independent cafe in York is without a doubt Brew and Brownie. I’ve spent SO much time in there over the course of university as it’s just so darn good.

They are pretty famous for their pancakes (which I’ve still never had), as I normally get the classic smashed avocado on sourdough toast with poached eggs or bacon. The best thing they do is without a doubt the three cheese toastie with chutney. I’m OBSESSED.

It’s perfect for brunch, lunch or just a cake, especially the brownies obviously. I would highly reccomend the oreo, or the salted caramel brownies. It’s always pretty busy and it’s relatively small inside so usually you have to queue for 15-30 minutes, but it’s always worth the wait.


Probably about two years ago Brew and Brownie opened their sister shop, the Bakeshop. The Bakeshop as the name suggests just sells cakes, pastries, or pre-made savoury food like pasta salads, and some sandwiches. It’s airy and spacious, again is always busy and has relatively few tables though so it’s lucky to get a table.

They also have great coffee, obvs an essential for the whole coffee n cake thing. Also, their green & mint tea’s are fancy af so that makes my order 10 times more interesting than usual.

Crumbs Cafe 

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Now Crumbs is the cutest independent in cafe in York.

Imagine if a princess or Alice in Wonderland had a tea shop, that’s kind of what crumbs is like. There’s pink sofas, old wooden chairs, bunting, and the walls are lined with dainty china teacups and saucers. Also, as the name suggests they have a wide range of cupcakes with seasonal specials. My favourite is the American cupcake which is filled with peanut butter.


Waterstones Cafe, York. 

I always write about how much I love Waterstones cafe. We’re always in there because a) it’s homely, b) it’s cheap and c) they serve smarties cookies and scones so we’re all happy.

They also don’t kick us out after being there for three hours with one drink, so that’s also a massive bonus when essay writing… sorry Waterstones.

Vanilla Cafe

The Vanilla Cafe is at the back of the Minster next to Crumbs and is again a very cute cupcake cafe.

I really like the cupcakes here, and the interior is very quaint. Also, both the Vanilla Cafe and Crumbs have outside seating with a view of the Minster, so it’s a perfect little hideaway to really get a feel for the city.

Filmore and Union

Okay so it is a chain, but the Filmore in York is really nice and I just love the vibe inside as it’s pretty small so it’s never to noisy and the large windows make it really airy. They also do healthier cake and beetroot lattes so at least there’s the option to be healthier, or for a pretty photo.

Gatehouse Coffee

gatehouse coffee york

This coffee house is probably the best one in York to get a feel for the heritage as it’s actually inside the walls.

They serve great coffee and iced coffee and have seating outside on the wall as well as inside. The interior also has very Harry Potter vibes. I don’t know why there isn’t a Harry Potter cafe yet in York, there are several HP shops along the shambles and a good percentage of the rest of the shops sell at least a HP key ring. Not that any of it was filmed or written in York.

Spring Espresso

There are a couple of Spring Espresso cafes in York. They’re a great place to get brunch, chill and grab coffee. The food is actually great, as is the coffee.

York Cocoa House

Everything is made out of chocolate. Need I say more? They have every flavour of hot chocolate, plus more chocolate to buy, then chocolates or chocolatey cakes AND a chocolate afternoon tea. They also do workshops where you make more chocolate to take home with you. Always worth a visit, unless you don’t like chocolate in which case you might not be interested or might NEED to go here and change your mind?

What are your favourite cafes in York?

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