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Best cafes and tea shops in Cambridge for a cup of tea and a slice of cake

By Tracey Lattimore

The university city of Cambridge is positively brimming with tea, cake and coffee shops.

On Chesterton Road, just north of Midsummer Common, is Stir, a cool neighbourhood cafe. It’s a lovely, bright place that serves an array of cakes and light snacks, with a great space in the corner for parents with children – who are positively welcomed with colouring books and small toys. Café Foy is a new place in town, offering coffee, cake and brunch right by the river at Magdalene Bridge.


Stir is an independent and locally-owned coffee shop for people to meet, connect, recharge, escape and unwind

Heading up this eclectic area towards the east of the city is Espresso Library, a cool cycle cafe that’s open for breakfast, brunch and lunch until 5pm. It’s also open for drinks and dinner from 6pm until 10pm.

New kid on the block

Scott’s All Day is a new face in town, a neighbourhood cafe by day and a pizzeria by night, which has been giving a big thumbs up by locals. Also new is Modigliani, an artisan coffee shop and Italian focacceria in Cambridge.

Tom’s Cakes is a cafe that sells its own home-made cakes and biscuits, with an emphasis on local ingredients and flavours. It also serves paninis, sandwiches and soup, too. The new kid on the block is the 5 Blends Coffee House, which has been going down a storm since it opened in 2018.


Pancakes, waffles, French toasts and all sorts of delicious brunch options are on offer in Cambridge

The Garden Kitchen is a spin-off from the hugely successful Garden Café at the Cambridge University Botanic Garden. Primarily takeaway – seating is minimal – food is fresh and there’s a tasty selection of salads, hot food and cakes. There’s also a sister cafe at Kettle’s Yard house and art gallery on Castle Hill.

Hot Numbers is now a Cambridge favourite. It serves the perfect coffee from a no-fuss, pared-down menu, and a tasty selection of cakes. It’s so good that there’s another one, right opposite The Fitzwilliam Museum on Trumpington Street, plus a newly-opened roastery, kitchen and bakery near Shepreth, a few miles outside the city.

Scott’s All Day is a new face in town, a neighbourhood cafe by day and a pizzeria by night, which has been giving a big thumbs up by locals

Further up Mill Road and over the bridge is the Black Cat Café, which is a good place for breakfast – try the specials at the weekend, which include eggs benedict with treacle-cured bacon and lemon hollandaise. Café Blue Sage is also a locals’ favourite, while Bravo Patisserie is new on the scene, serving coffee and cakes with a Turkish twist.

Tunes and spoons

Liutaio is a music cafe and stringed instrument shop that offers a fusion of old and new, with an Oriental and Western menu and a place to enjoy live performances. Relevant Records, at the far end of Mill Road, has a coffee shop on one floor and a vinyl emporium in the basement –a treasure trove for vinyl lovers.

Browsing records

Dig the coffee and then dig the crates at Relevant Records in Mill Road

The Urban Larder is a well-loved, cosy coffee shop that serves great coffee, toasties and blondies, while locals rave about the new Cambridge Waffle Bar, serving sweet and savoury delights with a huge range of toppings.

Right at the end of Mill Road is The Edge Café, which – as well as serving good food and award-winning coffee – supports people who are recovering from substance abuse.

If that little lot hasn’t quenched your thirst for Cambridge, check out the links below and brew up some fresh ideas for a trip to this beautiful city.

Read more about Cambridgeshire

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Image credits: ©Caroline Attwood/Florencia Viada/Toa Heftiba/Unsplash; Ian Olsson/Stir

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