The Best Bakeries In London guide image


The Best Bakeries In London

The best spots to find sourdough loaves, excellent doughnuts, and counters filled with freshly baked pastries.

There’s a reason why your local high street probably has more Greggs than banks, and it has less to do with online banking than it does Britain’s love for baked goods. Nothing quite beats the feeling of walking into a bakery. The air smells like the inside of a croissant and no one will judge you for staring into the display case of pretty pastries like a cat watching goldfish swim around in a tank. These are London's best bakeries, serving everything from cheesy Lebanese flatbreads to excellent raspberry-filled doughnuts.


photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Toklas Bakery review image

Toklas Bakery


1 Surrey St, London
View WebsiteEarn 3X Points


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For: Roman-style pizza slices and exciting pastries

The downfall of many bakeries in London is the poky seating. Often the price you pay for an excellent pastry is having to eat it on a cold bench outside. But not at Toklas. This Aldwych bakery is spacious and calming, with a display of sweet and savoury pastries—pistachio cream laminated brioche, ham and cheese pain suisse, and your classic pain au chocolat. But one of our favourite things to get from this inviting spot is the strecci. A Roman-style pizza slice topped with excellent combinations like leek and crème fraîche, or potato and olive tapenade. It’s the perfect to-go breakfast, although we’d recommend taking a seat in their cafe instead. Plus, if you stick around for long enough, you’ll be able to get one of their hefty sourdough sandwiches for lunch. Know that they’re closed on Sundays and Mondays.

For: a glossy meat pie

Everyone deserves to have a bakery as good as Uncle John’s on their road. Technically, this Ghanaian bakery in South Tottenham is on everybody’s road now, thanks to the internet and its nationwide delivery. Aside from the majestic sweet bread and addictive servings of chin chin, the glossy meat pie is our favourite thing. After months of dedicated practice, our preferred method of eating them is by steadily picking off the glistening baked crust, then nibbling our way through the herby mince and carrot centre while lying horizontally. If you too wish to take part in some of London’s tastiest self-care, you should know that it’s strictly a takeaway affair.

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For: clay-oven flatbreads and plenty of seating

OK, we’ve never shed tears over a spicy sausage, but the merguez and garlic aioli flatbread at this Victoria bakery made us more emotional than the average merguez. And it’s not all you should focus on either. The whole ‘flatbreads from the clay oven’ section of the menu at Chestnut Bakery reads like a carb lover’s dream. We’re talking a chewy, fluffy base topped with things like fig, goats’ cheese, and ricotta, wagyu salami and honey mustard, or our personal favourite, the burrata and burnt honey flatbread. They make everything from challah rolls and ka’ak, to vegan cinnamon buns and doughnuts. The airy interior and charming terrace also make it a great place to spend a few hours.

For: the best mana’eesh in London

If you’ve ever had mana’eesh, you’ll understand how important it is that this Lebanese bakery serves them until 10pm. And they’re not any old flatbreads, they’re the best in London. Plus, you won’t be judged for rocking up at this Acton spot at 4pm in need of some doughy, meaty goodness. You can head there at 1pm on a Sunday for a platter of freshly baked minced meat and cheese, or spinach and cheese flatbreads, and it’ll be just as good as when you come at 7pm on a Wednesday. Basically, what we’re trying to say is, whatever time of day it is, get the mana’eesh.

For: that beef sando

There’s always room for exciting food in London but, more than anything, there’s always room for an exciting sandwich. Put it on a plate and there may be pause. Put it between two slices and it’s down the pie hole immediately. This occurred to us at Panadera—an impeccable Filipino bakery in Kentish Town from the Mamasons people—while eyeing up the corned beef sando on the menu. And what a sandwich it is. Soft and crunchy thanks to the deep-fried corned beef patty. Lovely little chunks of potato flecked throughout. Sweetness from the pandesal—Filipino milk bread—combined with a tart sauce, a wipe of mayo, and a bit of lettuce for moral support. It’s the sort of sandwich you can expect to queue for, but don’t expect to be disappointed. You can get whole loaves of their excellent pandesal as well as other baked things.

For: glorious morning pastries and a cheeky loaf cake for later

Walking through Russell Square without popping into this small bakery for a flaky sausage roll or custard and strawberry morning bun is unforgivable in our books. A popular spot with locals (people and pigeons) plus anyone who’s fond of golden pastries and cinnamon buns the size of a mini basketball, it’s open from early morning until 3pm. Grab a latte, a spinach and feta-stuffed pastry that you can scoff on one of the benches out front, and a carrot cake loaf for your mid-afternoon snack (trust us, future you will appreciate it). Just know that if you arrive after 2pm you might miss out on these excellent baked goods.

For: the pastry counter of dreams

The people behind Malaysian restaurant Rasa Sayang teamed up with a French patissier to create this bakery in Covent Garden’s St Martin’s Courtyard. The spread of pastries on their counter is the type of display you spend five minutes staring at before saying ‘just give me one of everything please’. They’ve got pistachio chocolate escargots, pineapple and mango danish pastries that look like a work of art, and a sweet honey butter toast that has the perfect fluff-to-crunch ratio. Warburtons could never. Everything here is pretty great, but that honey butter toast is a definite must.

For: a morning bun to start your day right

Unsliced rather than sliced bread is the greatest thing ever, as evidenced by the potato sourdough, springy oily focaccia, and everything else coming out of The Dusty Knuckle. This social enterprise bakery in Dalston has been doing good things in lots of ways for years now and it’s a great place for a pastry (the morning bun) first thing, sandwich (any) at lunchtime, or sourdough pizza on the weekends. Things change daily, but look out for their beetroot and chicken caesar sandwiches in particular. True classics of the genre.

For: raspberry doughnuts and exciting pies

A lockdown creation—hence the name—this bakery was started by two hospitality professionals providing supplies to their local community and NHS workers. It turned into a small bakery, then a pop-up cafe. The original Wandsworth spot serves some of the best raspberry doughnuts you can get in London, as well as a whole load of baked goods. From potato sourdough to sausage rolls and delicious pies filled with steak and ale, or mac and cheese, you can get it all here. They also deliver their excellent doughnuts and there's a location in Barnes.

For: a bacon and maple croissant on the terrace

Pophams is either an Islington coffee spot that bakes in house, or an Islington bakery that also serves coffee. Whichever way you want to put it, the coffee is excellent and the baked stuff even better. It’s on a quiet corner off the Essex Road and has a tidy little terrace out front, so it’s a great place to head if you’re trying to impress someone with your good taste and decent knowledge of London’s backstreets.

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Ararat Bread imageoverride image

Ararat Bread

Earn 3X Points

For: loaded naan

Ararat Bread is a teeny-tiny bakery on Ridley Road making brilliantly tasty and brilliantly inexpensive flatbreads. You can have your naan topped with cheese and garlic for just £1, watch it bubble and sizzle under the rotating oven, before inevitably sticking it in your mouth far too quickly and injuring yourself in the best way possible. If you want meat, the keema is a quid more and the mince mixture is packed full of coriander seeds. Though it’s not essential, we tend to get an egg cracked on top as well. Whatever you choose, grab it, go, and then come back for more.

For: takeaway dessert buns so good you won’t want to wait until you’ve found a bench

When focaccia smells so good that we sprint to the nearest bench to bite off huge chunks, just know it’s pretty special. And the mammoth focaccia slice we got from this bakery off Portobello Road was excellent. But it’s not even the best thing we’ve had at this lockdown project turned bakery, Buns From Home. They specialise in croissant buns, essentially double-baked, layered croissant dough with a range of different flavours like cinnamon or cardamom. They also do savoury ones topped with avocado or pulled chicken and dessert buns, filled with custard cream, tiramisu, cheesecake, or whichever special is on when you happen to be there. Focus your efforts on the dessert buns, trust us.

For: a superior savoury selection

As you approach Toad Bakery’s small shop front, catch a whiff of freshly baked bread, and then see the glistening pastries, that Pavlovian response will kick in. Your stomach will rumble, eyes widen, and you’ll start mentally calculating just how many carbs you can eat in one sitting—or how many loaves you can take home. Straddling Peckham and Camberwell, there are a few colourful stools out front and only a street-facing counter in the doorway, heaving with gooey, vegan cookies, buttery croissants, and cardamom-heavy cinnamon buns. But make sure to leave room for slow-braised goat bear claw pastries, comforting potato knishes, and hefty sandwiches to take to nearby Lucas Gardens.

For: a fancy sausage roll and chocolate babka

When your commitment to great bread means you’re willing to spend between 15 and 30 minutes queueing in the rain, then Sourdough Sophia is for you. While their baguettes and loaves are reason enough to make this Crouch End spot a destination bakery, you shouldn’t snooze on their (pre-order only) chocolate babka, expensive but fun specials like a pretzel croissant triangle sandwich, a Ferrero Rocher-inspired cruffin, or a 10/10 sausage roll. If you want to skip the queue, all of the baked goods are available for click and collect, however the excellent Gentleman Barista coffee is not.

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