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Where to find the best breakfasts in the UK

From desi dishes in Birmingham to a sticky plum duck benedict in Newcastle, here’s our pick of the UK’s 10 best bets for a brilliant breakfast.

Published 5 Apr 2021, 08:00 BST, Updated 14 Apr 2021, 14:44 BST
Arrive hungry when visiting the Antipodean-inspired Belfast chain of General Merchants, one of ten restaurants serving up ...

Arrive hungry when visiting the Antipodean-inspired Belfast chain of General Merchants, one of ten restaurants serving up unmissable breakfast dishes in the UK. 

Photograph by General Merchants

1. The Pig & Pastry, York

This multi-award-winning neighbourhood cafe serves breakfast with a generous side of banter — witness the eggs Benedict Cumberbatch, which comes complete with ‘juicy Cumberland sausage’. Also on the menu are fry-ups, homemade granola, buttermilk waffles, breakfast burgers, homemade pastries and much more. The cafe also produces its very own zine. Breakfast dishes from £4.95. 

2. Twelve Triangles, Edinburgh

This mini chain of bakeries prides itself on its slow-fermented sourdough bread and handmade pastries using local ingredients. Among the creations are gooseberry and ricotta curd cruffins and banana and peanut butter croissants. There’s excellent coffee to wash it all down, too. Breakfast dishes from £2.20. 

You can’t get much more local in Dorset's Hive Beach Cafe than Portland crab served on home-baked toast with rocket and a fried egg.

Photograph by The Hive Beach Company Marketing Manager

3. Hive Beach Cafe, Dorset

This place is right on the sand, with panoramic views of Lyme Bay and Chesil Beach, though you may be too busy enjoying your breakfast to pay much attention. The team pride themselves on using local ingredients where possible, and you can’t get much more local than Portland crab served on home-baked toast with rocket and a fried egg. Breakfast dishes from £6. 

Read more: Beyond the full English: how fried breakfasts vary across the UK

4. William Cafe, Glasgow

A favourite of restaurant critic Marina O’Loughlin, who describes it as ‘an idiosyncratic, tiny and hugely friendly slice of cafe heaven’, this characterful little place has the full range, from porridge to eggs Alec — a type of benedict, ‘but a little more pompous, i.e., with smoked salmond’ (sic). There are several vegan choices for those not convinced by the idea of a Bute black pudding morning roll. Breakfast dishes from £2.20. 

The headline breakfast dish in Belfast is the General Manwich — a toasted brioche roll stuffed with double bacon, two black puddings and two fried eggs — served at General Merchants. 

Photograph by General Merchants

5. General Merchants, Belfast

Arrive hungry when visiting this Antipodean-inspired Belfast chain if you want to do justice to the General Manwich — a toasted brioche roll stuffed with double bacon, two black puddings and two fried eggs, although you might prefer the Street Hawker scrambled eggs with chilli oil, roasted sweet potato and spring onions, or the simple Irish porridge bowl. Breakfast dishes from £3. 

6. Quay Ingredient, Newcastle

In the shadow of the Tyne Bridge, Quay Ingredient offers diners the chance to try the northeast’s famous stottie cakes (soft, white rolls with a distinctive dent in the top), filled with sausage, bacon, egg or all three. Other options include smoky Craster kippers from just up the coast, and more surprising specials such as eggs benedict with tempura soft-shell crab, grilled halloumi or sticky plum duck. Breakfast dishes from £2.45.

Producer of not only stunning pastries, but also an award-winning social enterprise, check out Luminary Bakery's sites in Stoke Newington and Camden, London. 

Photograph by Luminary Bakery

7. Luminary Bakery, London

Producer of stunning pastries, but also an award-winning social enterprise empowering women from disadvantaged backgrounds to get back into work, this is the kind of place that will gladden your heart as well as your stomach. The bright, welcoming sites in Stoke Newington and Camden are both perfect for whiling away a lazy morning with a coffee and a fluffy cinnamon roll. Breakfast dishes from £2.20. 

Read more: Five of the best breakfast ideas from around the world

8. No 33, Norwich

It’s a good sign when the vegetarian fry-up looks tasty enough to tempt omnivores away from the meat version, and this tiny independent cafe delivers with its homemade bubble and squeak, sautéed spinach and rosemary and sea salt mushrooms — though there's serious competition from the sweetcorn fritters with bacon or halloumi, and the homemade maple and vanilla granola. Breakfast dishes from £2.50. 

The ethically-minded Snowdonian stalwart, Alpine Coffee Shop, popular with walkers, serves all-day breakfasts alongside various cakes and pastries.

9. Alpine Coffee Shop, Betws-y-Coed

The name is slightly misleading; not only does this cosy Snowdonian stalwart stock almost 100 loose-leaf teas to enjoy by the open fire, but it also serves all-day breakfasts alongside various cakes and pastries. Regulars recommend the herby potato hash that comes with the free-range meat or vegan fry-ups. Palm oil-free, dog and walker friendly. Breakfast dishes from £2.25. 

10. Apna Lahore, Birmingham

Crisp, fresh poori (fried bread), deliciously oily chana masala (spiced chickpeas) and sweet, fluffy halwa (semolina pudding) — this small Pakistani cafe in Ladypool isn’t the only one in the area serving up desi breakfasts, but it does do them very well. You can have your chana with naan or paratha if you prefer, or go for an omelette or pakoras instead, but chai on the side is a must. Breakfast dishes from £3.50.

Love food and travel? Taste the world at the National Geographic Traveller Food Festival, our immersive culinary event taking place on 17-18 July 2021 at London’s Business Design Centre. Find out more and book your tickets.

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