I’m incredibly well acquainted with many coffee shops in Durham – so much so that I’m often consulted when friends are looking for somewhere new to try, and several of these lovely places now know me (and my order) far too well!
I’m going to give you a quick run-down of a few of the lovely cafés… but please don’t ask me to choose a favourite – I love them all in different ways!
[Disclaimer: it’s impossible to cover every coffee shop in Durham! I’ve chosen just five here – but there are many more, and I have yet to have a bad experience!]
Leonard’s: This is a lovely little café, tucked away behind Durham’s Indoor Market, and alongside the River Wear – Leonard’s is the perfect place for lunch, cake, and coffee! Their range of gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian food is fantastic (the orange and pistachio gluten free cake comes highly recommended) – and it’s really refreshing to see such a range of choice. The variety of hot chocolate flavours is also fantastic: salted caramel, orange, and cookies and cream – just to name a few! It’s a hidden gem, and the cute décor makes spending time there even more enjoyable.
Lounge: Relatively new to the Durham coffee shop scene, Lounge is branching out and operates as both a coffee shop and restaurant. My favourite aspect of Lounge has to be the service: it’s simply fantastic. Staff are lovely and really genuine – and it makes the whole experience more enjoyable. What would I recommend? The cookie dough is to DIE FOR! Purely fresh cookie dough, heated through, with a range of sauces and ice creams – it’s incredibly sweet so is the perfect post-summative treat!
9 Altars: Situated next to Bella Italia, 9 Altars is the perfect place for a coffee, cake, and a catch-up! I’ve personally sampled the fudge cake, red velvet cake, and blueberry cake (and I’ve shared many others) and they have all been fantastic. The café itself is small, but this means it’s very cosy, and ideal for a one-to-one catch up! It’s also just down the hill (alongside the river) from Palace Green – so #treatyoself after one of those early morning lectures!
Vennels: It’s highly possible that my blood stream is 90% hot chocolate, as that’s all I ever seem to drink – and Vennels is THE PLACE to drink hot chocolate! It’s so good, and the cakes that accompany it (you can’t just have a hot chocolate on its own – can you?!) are also yummy. I always have the banoffee pie – I’m a huge fan. This is also a fantastic place for lunch, really good sandwiches and the soup of the day (I had leek and potato) was delicious – AND healthy!
Flat White Café/Kitchen: Flat White has become a quintessential part of Durham, and when friends visit they always leave with fond memories of a Flat White brunch! I’m afraid I’m unable to offer much of a varied opinion on Flat White – as I always have the pancakes, and I always have a smoothie – because they are just SO good! The classic ricotta-stuffed pancakes with fresh fruit and maple syrup are to die for, and the seasonal variations are really exciting – I’ve sampled the blueberry, and Bakewell tart varieties! It’s a must visit – I know I’ve commented on the décor of a lot of coffee shops, but Flat White wins hands down – it’s so rustic and homely – it’s a really special little place.