Is there a greater joy than piling a pillowy soft bun into your mouth, or slathering a piece of freshly made bread in a thick layer of butter before savouring it slowly? Bakeries, they bring a lot of joy, don’t they? And we think they should be celebrated. So much so that we’ve gone out of our way to try one, or two, or maybe thirty odd, in a quest to find the best bakeries London has to offer.
Made to be snapped, papped and photographed, these London bakeries are seriously satisfying to look at, and that’s before you get to their goods. With counters loaded with everything from cinnamon buns and custard tarts to sourdough and doughnuts, there’s a cake shop in London for you, whatever your preference. And the beauty, of course, of baked goods is that they’re acceptable at just about any time of the day. Just woken up? Get yourself a croissant, friend. Flagging in the afternoon? It’s time for a sugar rush courtesy of a cupcake. Ready for bed? Help yourself to tea and toast before you tuck yourself up.
The best bakeries London houses on her streets are a real melting pot of specialities, covering the breadth of the globe and reflecting the wider population of our capital city. There are little corners of Chinatown that focus on traditional Asian pastries, while there are Michelin star outlets that find their finesse most suited to churning out French eclairs made from the finest choux pastry.
There are even a ton of restaurants in London that offer their very own bakeries - some that are integrated within the restaurant itself and others that standalone, so you can nip in and pick up a loaf whether you've eaten there or not. Look out for Darby’s in Vauxhall, Toklas just moments from Somerset House and Jeru in Mayfair.
Ready to get your teeth into something sweet? Scroll through our list of the best bakeries in London and take your pick. You know what they say though? The proof is in the pudding, so you’re just going to have to gallantly go out and try as many as you can for yourself to know for sure which is your favourite.
Dusty Knuckle Bakery, Dalston
Why: The likelihood is you’ve already heard of Dusty Knuckle Bakery, which has a lot more going for it than just baked goods. Yes, the bread is insanely delicious, but its owners clearly care about more than just its edible output, running a youth programme that aims to provide employment for young offenders and those from disadvantaged backgrounds. You can sit-in or takeaway here. Either way, we recommend picking up one of its epic doorstep sandwiches if you're in town, plus a sticky bun for afters.
Where: Abbot Street Car Park, E8 3DP
Book now: Dalston and Haringey
Why: Toklas is a trendy restaurant located a stone’s throw from Somerset House, serving simple Mediterranean dishes alongside a natural wine list. Its little sister, Toklas Bakery, can be found next door serving bread, pastries, coffee and sandwiches all week long. We’d definitely make a detour to sample one of its pastry-based bakes if you’re in the area: we’re talking citrus laminated brioche and mandarin and rhubarb danishes.
Where: 9 Surrey Street, WC2R 2ND
Book now: Toklas
Pavilion Bakery, Broadway Market
Why: Pavilion now has a few bakeries in London (also Victoria Park and Columbia Road), but it all started at this one in Broadway Market. Passersby can’t help but take stock of the rustic wood-paned shop window which is loaded with stacks of its freshly-baked sourdough. The staff are super-friendly and they also do a mean coffee - the perfect elevenses combo we think.
Where: Broadway Market, E8 4QJ
Little Bread Pedlar, Pimlico
Why: We first discovered Little Bread Pedlar on Instagram after drooling over pictures of its gorgeous golden croissants. In fact, one look at its perfectly laminated pastries proves these guys are sticklers for accuracy, executing every single bake with precision and finesse. They use traditional techniques and proper French butter to guarantee the best flavour and colour in their pastries, while their bread is made using organic flour, filtered water and naturally occurring yeast. And the results are pretty special.
Where: 34 Moreton Street, SW1V 2PD
Layla, Notting Hill
Why: There’s only one Layla Bakery in London and you can find it on Portobello Road – right down the other end towards Westbourne Park. These guys really care about their ingredients and suppliers and they make all their bread using traditional techniques and with ancient grains from Wildfarmed who prioritise soil health. It’s got the whole simple-Scandi vibe going on inside, and they don’t overcomplicate their food offering either. Look out for sourdough, pastries, sausage rolls and focaccia sandwiches.
Where: 332 Portobello Road, W10 5SA
Luminary Bakery, Camden and Hackney
Why: Nowhere is the power of baking quite so transformative as at Luminary Bakery, a social enterprise that offers women from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to build themselves a bright future. It offers employment-based support, including courses, work experience and paid employment, to help develop transferrable skills for later in life. You can’t argue with that business model. Head in to one of its stores or order online for the likes of letterbox brownies, sticky buns and beautiful celebration cakes.
Where: 71 Allen Road, N16 8RY; 47 Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8AJ
Buns from Home, Holland Park and Notting Hill
Why: There are two Buns from Home bakeries in London and both hail from West. After selling its flaky baked buns on Portobello Road during lockdown, the team opened its first bricks and mortar shop in Notting Hill with the help of a crowdfunding campaign, with its latest site in Holland Park only opening in 2022. It’s been a rapid rise to glory, and we can see why. Its signature bun is made with layered croissant dough, hand rolled with muscovado cinnamon sugar into a bun, then drizzled with homemade icing – um, drool. Signature flavours include chocolate and hazelnut, cardamom and classic cinnamon. There are also weekly-changing specials so there's always something new to pop in for.
Where: 2 Holland Park Avenue, W11 3RB; 128 Talbot Road, W11 1JA
Gail’s, Various locations
Why: We couldn’t not include Gails in a round-up of the best bakeries in London. We know they’re a chain, but they’re a good one and you'll often find queues out the door from weekdays through to weekends. We have a particular soft spot for its cinnamon buns, which are legendary, while its no-waste loaf made from leftover scraps of sourdough is a tasty example of its Waste Not Range, which use ingredients that would otherwise go to waste. Yes, Gail's will always hold a place in our hearts.
Where: Soho, Barnes, Chiswick Wimbledon and more
Book now: Gail's Soho, Gail's Barnes, Gail's Chiswick, Gail's Wimbledon and more
Pasticceria Marchesi, Mayfair
Why: One of Milan’s oldest bakeries, Pasticceria Marchesi has brought its clever baking to London, opening its first location outside of Italy with a plum spot in the heart of Mayfair. Specialising in panettone, this pretty shop also has its walls lined with pastel coloured candies and sugared almonds which make it feel like something from a child's dream. From the glass cabinet you can choose from the intricate, carefully decorated cakes that line the shelves.
Where: 117 Mount Street, W1K 3LA
Cutter & Squidge, Soho
Why: Touting itself as London’s only all-natural bakery, Cutter & Squidge manages to be healthy(ish) without sacrificing on taste or appearance. Celebration cakes are generously sized and beautifully bold with splodges of colourful buttercream adorning the sides, and their signature ‘biskies’ bakes combine the best bits of a cake and a cookie by sandwiching layers of cream and jam between two home-made biscuits. If you’re in the market for one treat only, try the salted caramel one, with awards to its name and a salted caramel marshmallow filling. It's sure to satisfy any sugar craving.
Where: 20 Brewer Street, W1F 0SJ
Lily Vanilli, Hoxton
Why: East London-based Queen of Cool and self-taught baker Lily has made cakes for all the trendiest events in town. With a list of clients that includes Jo Malone and Baileys, Lily is certainly a girl in demand and with her unusual flavour combinations and signature detailed decor it’s not hard to see why. Sharp lemon tarts with a slick of burnt meringue on top make the perfect afternoon treat, while one of her glittery, flower-topped showstopper cakes would make the ideal party centrepiece. You can also sample Lily Vanilli's afternoon tea at The Theatre Royal Drury Lane if you want the full experience.
Where: 6 The Courtyard, Ezra Street, E2 7RH
Book now: Lily Vanilli
Bread Ahead, Borough
Why: Queue-causing doughnuts sest Bread Ahead apart from the pack, with its Borough Market site constantly stowed out with eager fans ready to wait for a bite of its bakes. Aside from the doughnuts - which are filled with ever-changing things like salted caramel, homemade jam or classic vanilla custard - Bread Ahead also deals in robust sourdough loaves and unctuous sticky buns that will take your teatime to a whole new level. For those keen to learn the tricks of the trade there is also a cook school at Borough where you can enrol in all kinds of classes, from bread making to mastering British bakes.
Where: Borough Market, Cathedral Street, SE1 9DE
Why: Another restaurant-cum-bakery to add to the list, Jeru serves up Middle Eastern bakes in the heart of Mayfair from Yemenite butter bread to murtabak (stuffed pancake) filled with langoustine. You’ll also find pies, cakes and pastries that are perfect with a short, strong coffee. It might not be your average British bakery, but it’s certainly worth a stop.
Where: 11 Berkeley Street, W1J 8DS
Book now: Jeru
Orée, Various locations
Why: From breads and breakfast pastries to celebration cakes and petit treats, this bakery aims to bring the taste of a rural French boulangerie to the capital city. Outside of the core offering there is also a small lunch menu that allows you to sit in and enjoy bright plates of things like a classic quiche or a fresh salad. Plus, with 10 locations across London including Covent Garden, Fulham, Kensington and London Bridge, you’re happily never too far from an Orée bakery.
Where: Battersea, Chelsea, Kensington, Notting Hill, Covent Garden, St Martins Lane, Parsons Green, Richmond, St John's Wood, Muswell Hill
E5 Bakehouse, Hackney
Why: E5 takes its bread ever so seriously. Wasting no time with intricately piped icing or layers of sponges stacked up in a gateau, these guys are all about their satisfyingly strong organic sourdough. Loaves are huge and high-baked to ensure killer crusts and perfectly chewy centres. Choose from a range of options: try walnut bread, spelt or a ‘Hackney Wild’ country loaf made with white flour and a touch of rye. Sweets are a glossy selection of butter-rich cakes, pastries and biscuits. E5 also roasts its own coffee and offers a short lunch menu for days when you want to ignore the chaos of your own house and pass a few hours in a warm and inviting space.
Where: 395 Mentmore Terrace, E8 3PH
Pophams Bakery, Hackney and Islington
Why: With a cult-like following, Pophams proved so popular just a few short months after first opening that it expanded into a second site, and is now also a pasta restaurant in the evening. The signature serve here is a cheese and Marmite scroll that the bakers swear will bring any non-believer round. If you’re not ready to make the plunge from Marmite hater to lover then there are also more traditional combos on offer - like everyone’s favourite pain au chocolat.
Where: 19 Prebend Street, N1 8PF; 197 Richmond Road, E8 3NJ
Ole & Steen, Various locations
Why: This achingly cool Danish bakery has a handful of sites across the capital, and serves its wares from breakfast through to supper. Cinnamon swirls and plaited spiced loaves are mainstays of the pastry counter here, but there also some more unusual creations, like the caramel puff. This upside down cone-like-creation is formed from a marzipan base which is topped with fluffy marshmallow that hides a caramel centre. That’s all covered in dark chocolate and chopped almonds for a rather grown up version of something quite snowball-like. Heaven. Coffee and sandwiches are also good here, and the atmosphere is conducive to co-working, so making an afternoon out of a visit wouldn’t be unheard of.
Where: Canary Wharf, Chiswick, Richmond, Leicester Square, Notting Hill, Oxford Circus and more
Maitre Choux, Various locations
Why: Pastel perfection is the order of the day at Maitre Choux, with the team here being the world’s only choux specialists (or so they say). The counters are an artwork of colourful creations - eclairs and choux buns both feature - dreamt up by three-Michelin-starred pastry chef Joakim Prat. Fillings and toppings continuously change with the seasons, but they’re always vibrant, playful and effortlessly elegant.
Where: Chelsea, Soho, South Kensington
Book now: Maitre Choux Chelsea
Kova Patisserie, Various locations
Why: If you’ve had your fill of croissants (if that’s a thing), why not try a crepe specialist instead? The beautiful thing about London is that everyone can find their niche and Kova has done that with its Japanese versions of mille crepes. Its colourful pancake stacks are interlaced with delicious fillings ranging from fruit and coconut to matcha and durian, depending on how adventurous you’re feeling. Purchase by-the-slice or go all-in with a whole cake.
Where: Chinatown, Soho, South Kensington
Santa Nata, Covent Garden
Why: The theatre of baking is lauded at Santa Nata, which has a glass frontage onto the production line of its Portuguese custard tarts: the only bake it makes. This specialism is headed up by a Portuguese family of second-generation bakers. Watch as the well-versed artisan bakers create perfectly crisp pastry shells filled with rich set custard, before topping them with a sprinkling of cinnamon or icing sugar. When you hear the ring of a bell you know there’s a fresh batch ready to be served up. While you’re there grab a coffee and enjoy your spoils warm and fresh from the oven, or take a box home if you can bear sharing them with loved ones.
Where: 17 Russell Street, WC2B 5HP; 7 New Row, WC2N 4LH
St. JOHN, Various locations
Why: Mostly recognised for its staunchly British nose-to-tail food, the team at St. JOHN also does a pretty solid line in baking. Bread here is mainly served up in the restaurant but there is always a range of treats on offer to take away. Try the brand’s famous doughnuts, which come filled with generous amounts of homemade jam, rich cream fillings or custard. Alternatively, plump for a piece of traditional seed cake, a few scones or a baker’s dozen of buns. Whatever you choose, we’d bet our last British pound that it’ll be top drawer stuff.
Where: Covent Garden, Bermondsey and Borough
Book now: St John Bakery Borough
Poilâne, Belgravia and Chelsea
Why: Poilâne first opened its doors as a bakery on the streets of Paris in 1932, with London now the proud owners of two outlets. With locations in Chelsea and Belgravia, the locations of this French bakery in London might give you some idea of its clientele. The team behind Poilâne values slow fermentation and the use of only a handful of high quality ingredients. This combination results in flavoursome loaves that are destined to be the star of the show rather than just sandwich sides. In terms of treats, there are a few specialist sweets on offer: the signature butter biscuits are a must try, but you’ll also find things like gingerbread, croissants and apple turnovers.
Where: 39 Cadogan Gardens, SW3 2TB; 6 Elizabeth Street, SW1W 9PA
Why: First and foremost, Darby’s is a restaurant, but it’s a restaurant with an ethos that's underpinned by the adage that if you want something doing properly, you should do it yourself. With this in mind, there’s a whole pastry team that creates much of what graces the menu, but you’re also free to buy their treats for yourself to take home. A hero item, if we had to choose one, would be the burnt honey tart. This small custard-tart-like creation has a hint of bitterness from the scorching it gets in the oven, which gives way to a rich and creamy centre spiked with the flavour of honey. If you're around for breakfast, you could do worse than spoiling yourself with one of its ham and cheese croissants. Trust us, this isn’t your average morning snack.
Where: 3 Viaduct Gardens, SW11 7AY
Book now: Darby’s
Maison Bertaux, Soho
Why: Proudly advertising the fact that its pastries are made only with pure butter and fresh cream, French bakery Maison Bertaux is our kind place. Set up in central London in 1871, this bakery is something of an institution. Here you’ll find Soho city workers enjoying a quick lunch during the day, while locals often pop-in for an elevenses pastry or afternoon treat. Old fashioned bakes such as eclairs and fruit tarts are piled up inside the glass cabinet, while intricately made marzipan figs offer a slightly fancier option.
Where: 28 Greek Street, W1D 5DQ
Why: Once a restaurant from the team behind Lyle’s, Flor is now first and last a bakery - so its not a total loss. Make sure to set your alarms! It only serves its baked treats to hungry customers on Fridays and Saturdays. We love its cream-filled brioche buns, golden danishes and crusty sourdough loaves.
Where: Spa Road, SE16 4RP
Why: We have a soft spot for restaurants with their own bakeries, and here Jolene delivers. Owned by an eccentric French restauranteur, this small East London outlet uses uncultivated grains that are milled on site to make its breads and pastries. They also use Wildfarmed ingredients, a company who are putting soil health first in an effort to address the need for more sympathetic agriculture in the UK. You’re able to buy bread and sweet treats as you please, or you can enjoy Jolene’s baking efforts from the main menu which changes daily. Here you’ll find things like chunky bread and butter served up with rolled pancetta or a treacle tart with cream.
Where: 21 Newington Green, N16 9PU
Book now: Jolene
Comptoir Gourmand, Various locations
Why: Richly flavoured and decadently decorated, Comptoir Gourmand’s bakes have been a fixture at ever-popular Borough Market since 2010. Since then, it's expanded to four sites in the city and regularly sells out of its treats come the weekend. Get down early on a Saturday to snaffle one of the huge croissants or chocolate cakes, and make sure to take a couple of things away with you too, because once you’ve had a taste for these bakes you’re going to want more.
Where: Borough, Soho and Bermondsey
Fabrique, Various locations
Why: Sometimes we just have to put our hands up and say we don’t always make the best things ourselves. Prime example: cinnamon rolls. Fabrique fills that hole in Britain’s culinary knowledge by bringing its sublime bakes to London from Stockholm. Alongside its famous Swedish buns (a must-try), Fabrique also makes killer bread, which the team cooks in stone ovens for a deliciously crisp crust and even bake.
Where: Shoreditch, Covent Garden, Notting Hill, Fitzrovia and High Holborn
Why: If it’s good enough for royalty, it’s good enough to earn a place on our round up of the best bakeries in London. Yes, Violet Bakery was the mastermind team behind Harry and Meghan’s wedding cake. Violet creator, Claire Ptak, specialises in cupcakes that actually taste good (which is rare in these post 2002 years). Her signature celebration cakes are adorned with fresh flowers and a unique rough swipe of buttercream on top. Back to cupcakes, and flavours change regularly, but chocolate is always a winner.
Where: 47 Wilton Way, E8 3ED
Book now: Violet
Yauatcha Patisserie, Soho
Why: Yauatcha Patisserie is the little sister of Yauatcha in Soho, but takes the Chinese restaurant’s beautiful pastries and offers them up independently of the dine-in setup. Yauatcha was brought to London by none other than Alan Yau (the man behind Wagamama and Hakkasan) and the patisserie follows the chef's wider exacting standards. Everything on the shelves is precisely presented, with homemade chocolates, macarons and cakes being the order of the day.
Where: Broadgate, EC2M 2QS
Book now: City and Soho
Love sweet treats? You might like our round up of the best hot chocolates London has to offer.