best bakeries in london

Upper crust: The best bakeries in London

13 Jun 2024 | |By Hitanshi Kamdar

From specialty sourdough to flaky pâtisserie, here’s where to head for your daily bread

Whether you’re after a buttery croissant and a hot coffee or need a hearty sourdough sandwich for a quick lunch fix, the capital is brimming with great bakeries ready to oblige. But, given the rather large roster of bakeries in London, ranging from classic patisseries to trendy alternatives, how to whittle down the best? A taste test, of course. We’ve criss-crossed the capital ordering perfect honey butter toast, laminated pastries, and specialty brews to beat the best coffee shops in the city to find the best bakeries in London.

Forno, Hackney


Best for: Unpretentious Italian classics

Set in a converted railway arch, Forno is one of East London’s most popular foodie spots. With plenty of exposed brick and industrial decor, it’s a decidedly cool bakery, pastificio and deli dreamed up by the team behind nearby Italian restaurant Ombra. Feast on freshly made maritozzi stuffed with fluffy cream, zesty lemon-filled croissants, sugar-encrusted sfogliatelle, and of course, tiramisu. If you lean toward the savoury, enjoy a selection of pasta and pizza slices as well as Tuscan-inspired sandwiches and delicious focaccia. Somewhat unusually for a bakery, there’s also a curated wine list to pair with the food, while non-alcoholic options include plenty of Italian coffee.

322 Andrews Road, E8 4RP, visit

Toad, Camberwell

Best for: Off-beat confections

Fair warning, if you’re to wander down the tree-lined road in Camberwell that’s home to Toad bakery on even the slowest midweek afternoon, you’ll probably find pastry enthusiasts queuing out the door. Founders Rebecca Spaven and Oliver Costello have managed to make quite the impact on London’s bakery scene with an inventive menu that celebrates the UK’s seasonal produce via experimental flavour combinations that shouldn’t work, but really, really do. Case in point: the best-selling everything bagel-croissant and soy sauce chocolate chip cookies. For reliable classics, Toad offers croissants, chocolatines and sourdough sandwiches. Alternatively, jazz up your next birthday with a yuzu, orange and almond jaffa cake delivered to your home. 

44 Peckham Road, Camberwell, SE5 8PX, visit

Toklas, Temple

Best for: Hearty sandwiches and strecci pizza

Situated moments from its sister restaurant of the same name in Temple, Toklas greets you with buzzy chatter and the aroma of freshly baked bread. The sleek bakery is bigger than first impressions would lead you to believe – which is handy as it's usually packed – with a bright dining room lined with quirky art prints. A menu of pastries, including cinnamon buns, pains au chocolat and chocolate and bitter honey cookies is delicious, but it’s the generously-stuffed sandwiches that steal the show. Try a hearty roast chicken, rocket and aioli on rosemary focaccia or a light cheddar and summer chutney medley on fresh baguette. Another must try? Thin slices of Roman-style strecci pizza topped with seasonal produce. 

1 Surrey Street, WC2R 2ND, visit

E5 Bakehouse, Hackney

chocolate babka

Best for: Organic sourdough

The original East London bakery, E5 Bakehouse has long supplied fresh bread to some of the best chefs in London. The Hackney-based eatery is now a cafe and shop offering delicious sweet and savoury delights. With sustainability baked into its ethos, ingredients are sourced locally while the organically grown wheat is processed at the bakery’s own stone mill. Weekend brunch menus offer classics such as brioche french toast and chocolate babkas while hearty lunch menus are constantly evolving and posted on E5’s Instagram page everyday at noon. Favourites include a classic sourdough sandwich with cheddar cheese and homemade pickles and a focaccia sandwich with seasonal fillings. Plus, test your baking chops at its weekly bread-making classes.

Arch 395, Mentmore Terrace, E8 3PH, visit

Layla, Ladbroke Grove

Best for: Laminated pastries and sausage rolls

A fusion of wild grains, seasonal ingredients and traditional techniques underscores the menu at this artisanal bakery on Portobello Road. Fuel up for a weekend in Notting Hill with flaky layered croissants, spicy sausage rolls, decadent cheese toasties, and focaccia and ciabatta sandwiches stuffed with mozzarella, roasted apricot and parsley caper salsa or basil pesto, prosciutto and hot honey. Arrive early at weekends to enjoy fresh coffee and people watching from the al fresco tables. It’s also worth keeping a close eye on Layla’s social media channels for its unique pop-ups and pizza nights.

332 Portobello Rd, W10 5PQ, visit

Pophams, across London

Best for: The famed bacon and maple croissant

Founder Ollie Gold opened Pophams in 2017 with a mission to bring an innovative spin to traditional viennoiserie baking – and its debut Islington location immediately shot to fame thanks to a laminated bacon and maple croissant, which remains a cult best-seller. Other breakfast highlights include a ham and cheese croissant and honey and smoked salt bun. Alternatively, choose from delectable lunchtime offerings: toasties with roast potatoes, crispy bacon and double gloucester, or garlic cashew cream, roasted mushrooms and spinach, or ask for the soup of the day served with fresh sourdough.


Bread Ahead, across London

Best for: Filled doughnuts and bakery classes

Walk through Borough market and you’ll often find throngs drawn to the inviting sourdough displays at Bread Ahead. Opened in 2013, it is best known for its doughnuts, which are generously dusted with sugar and filled with vanilla custard, sea salted caramel and honeycomb, lemon curd, and seasonal jams. The savoury options are equally delicious: choose from sandwiches with smoked Applewood and Wiltshire ham, or pastrami, pickles and wild rocket, and stonebaked sourdough pizzas. Not local enough to get your fix every day? Unlock the secrets to its addictive bread at one of the extensive baking classes and workshops hosted at all Bread Ahead’s locations.


Fabrique, across London

Best for: Knotted buns and caffeine fixes

Charlotta and David Zetterström founded Fabrique in Stockholm in 2008. It now boasts branches across Sweden, London and New York, serving artisanal Swedish confections including sourdough, organic rye bread, levain rolls and an array of knotted buns: cinnamon, vanilla, cardamom and almond, each with a warm gooey centre and sugar crystal-studded crust. Pair with a warm brew for a traditional Swedish fika (coffee and cake break).


Arôme, across London

Best for: Asian-fusion baking

Combining French patisserie techniques with Asian flavours sounds like an off-the-wall combination, but one trip to Arôme, and you’ll see why it's a brilliant idea. Brave the queues at its Covent Garden or Marylebone branches for the unique delicacies on offer: escargot croissants loaded with pistachio and chocolate or miso, bacon, grated cheddar and spring onion, sausage and cheese croissant with Japanese BBQ sauce, and cheese quiche. Our favourite? The Arôme honey butter toast made with homemade shokupan milk bread.


Sourdough Sophia, Crouch End

Best for: Cruffins and sourdough (obviously)

Many of us turned into bakers in 2020, following Instagram recipes to whip up focaccia and sourdough during lockdown. However, for Sophia Sutton-Jones, it proved to be the beginning of an entirely new career. Having started as a micro bakery in her dining room, Sourdough Sophia now boasts a pretty pink outpost in Crouch End with an exceptional menu. Inevitably, the sourdough is perfectly tangy and fresh, while the basque vanilla cheesecake is creamy and delicious. Be sure to sample the cruffins: the limited-edition tiramisu is moreish while the marmite and cheese bursts with flavour.

24 Middle Lane, N8 8PL, visit

St John Bakery, across London

Best for: Fluffy doughnuts

The bakeries from London restaurant institution St John have enjoyed social media fame thanks to their sugar-coated doughnuts oozing rich chocolate, jam, vanilla, custard and raspberry filling – and the hype is completely warranted. Made with locally-sourced ingredients, we also recommend sampling the sourdough, rye, and raisin loaves, and pick up perfectly baked hot cross buns come Easter


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