A foodie guide to London’s sweetest treats (& where to find them!)

Ahh, London, a city so jam-packed full of awesome foodie treats that it can be overwhelming. Yep, whether you’re after pizza or prosecco, cheese or chocolate, whittling down your choices can be quite the challenge, never mind fitting them into a limited itinerary if you’re visiting for a short time. Well, never fear, here at a foodie guide we’ve put together a guide to some of the best sweet treats the city has to offer, organised by sightseeing spot so you can combine your quest for a sugar high with a little bit of exploring. Let’s go!

If you’re hanging out in Soho…

Crosstown Donuts
Crosstown Doughnuts

Crosstown Doughnuts is one of the best known foodie spots in London for a sweet treat, having started up as a market stall back in 2014 and expanded rapidly since. Though they have a  number of locations around the city, their Soho outpost on Broadwick Street is the perfect Central London spot for tired shoppers to refuel (though it’s worth noting that there isn’t much seating, so you might have to take your doughnut treat to go!) If you find yourself on Oxford Street or Regent Street during your visit to London (& I’m guessing you will…), it’s definitely worth a quick stroll over to Crosstown to try one of their doughnuts, whether you choose to go for a classic such as Vanilla Glazed or something a little more adventurous. Of their premium flavours, I definitely recommend the Crème Brûlée doughnut -if you’re a sweet tooth like me, you won’t be disappointed.

If you’re hitting up Columbia Road Flower Market…

Columbia Road Flower Market is nothing short of a London institution. Operating every Sunday morning on (you guessed it!) Columbia Road, the whole area of Tower Hamlets comes alive as a number of gorgeous flower stalls set up shop, attracting what feels like half of the city’s residents by around 10.30am. To avoid the crowds, head there early, take your pick of the stunning flowers on offer and retreat to the safety of Lily Vanilli’s by the time things get too busy. This beautiful, minimalist space is only open for business on Sundays during the market, as the bakery operates primarily to order the rest of the time. It’s an amazing hidden gem, offering up the most gorgeous array of treats and cakes to hungry market goers. I’d especially recommend the brownie, which is rich, gooey, sweet and salty: a perfect combination I’ve never been able to get quite right in my own kitchen. Lily also has a gorgeous blog that’s well worth a browse, showcasing some of the incredible cakes she has created previously. If I haven’t convinced you that Lily Vanilli’s is worth a visit yet, I dare you to have a look: I promise you won’t be able to think about anything else until Sunday rolls around.

If you’re visiting Brick Lane…

Dark Sugars Brick Lane
Dark Sugars

The area around Brick Lane in Shoreditch boasts a quirky, independent vibe that makes this East London area unique. From the street art to the indie bookshops, cafes and restaurants that line the streets, it’s no wonder that the area is popular, especially on Sundays when the arrival of the weekly market brings both Londoners and visitors to the area to explore everything that is on offer. If you’re seeking out a sweet treat during your visit though, then look no further than Dark Sugars, a heavenly chocolate shop serving all kinds of tempting truffles and chocolates to passers by and in-the-know locals. It’s definitely more of a shop than a cafe, so if you do decide to buy something (and I don’t know how you could possibly leave here empty-handed) you can either take it away with you for later or simply open the bag and get started as soon as you leave the shop, like me. Personal recommendations include the chili chocolate truffle, as well as the hazelnut praline pearls (pictured above). With a seemingly infinite number of flavour combinations on offer, I’m certain Dark Sugars has something to please everyone – go in and see for yourself!

If you’re strolling through Primrose Village…

For an afternoon exploring a beautiful London suburb, you can’t go wrong with Primrose Village. Nestled next to Primrose Hill, a rolling green space with some of the best views of the London skyline, you’ll find Regent’s Park Road, one of the area’s main shopping streets boasting an abundance of cafes, restaurants and independent shops. Take a right on Berkley Road and you’ll find yourself in gorgeous Chalcot Square, one of the prettiest pockets of North London that is also conveniently on the way to Primrose Bakery, one of the best spots in the area for something sweet. Hidden a little off the beaten path on Gloucester Ave, Primrose Bakery offers up a range of cupcakes, with a number of favourites that are available every day, as well as a list of more unusual flavours that change daily. The cafe itself is super charming, from the bright yellow facade that welcomes you in to the pastel pink interior, and has a seating area to accommodate its loyal customers, though you might struggle to find a spot at busier times. Not to worry though, you’re in one of the loveliest parts of the city: grab your cakes to go, find yourself a bench nearby and get down to some serious people watching.

Primrose Bakery also has two more locations in London, one in Covent Garden and another in Kensington. However, as the name suggests, the Primrose Village location came first, and in my opinion, it can’t be beaten. Enjoy!

If you’re exploring Covent Garden…

Milk Train Covent Garden
Milk Train

If you’re visiting London, chances are that at one point or another you’ll find yourself exploring Covent Garden, a famous part of the city known for its gorgeous covered markets, eclectic street performers and world class shopping, not to mention the amazing array of food and drink on offer. However, it’s all too easy to find yourself wandering through Covent Garden, almost too overwhelmed by the crowds and the choice to decide where to eat! However, if you want to try something sweet, unique and oh-so-Instagram-worthy, there’s a lovely cafe just a stone’s throw from the heart of Covent Garden, offering up one of the quirkiest desserts in London to locals and visitors alike. Yep, Milk Train Cafe on Bedford Street offers up soft serve ice cream that comes in a cloud of cotton candy, a dessert trend that is taking the Instagram world by storm (go on, have a browse of their Instagram page – it’s mesmerising!)

Milk Train Cafe offer up a selection of pre-designed gourmet ice cream creations featuring their signature cotton candy, or you can choose to build your own, choosing from a selection of soft serve flavours and toppings. The cotton candy is optional, but frankly, it’s half the fun – go the whole hog and watch gleefully as passers by look at your sweet treat with envy, amazement and a little bit of confusion. Yum!

If you’re walking on Hampstead Heath…

One of London’s most popular open spaces, Hampstead Heath is an oasis of greenery just a short hop from Central London. When wandering through the Heath alongside families, couples and dog walkers, it’s impossible to believe you’re actually in the English capital, let alone a short tube ride away from the centre, and this proximity to the heart of the city makes the Heath a great activity for a long afternoon walk. Once you’ve built up a bit of an appetite, you’re also perfectly situated: Hampstead Village is bursting with foodie spots offering up everything from a quick snack to a 3 course meal, as well as a number of coffee shops and pubs for a post-walk drink. When you’re ready for something sweet though, Hampstead has the perfect place: La Crêperie de Hampstead is definitely something of a local institution, serving up Parisian-style street crêpes to its loyal fan base. Another of London’s foodie locations that started off as a weekend market stall, the Crêperie moved permanently to a street stand in Hampstead in 1980 and has retained its immense popularity ever since. The menu is expansive, the crepes are made to order and the stand is picture-perfect, from its adorable logo and branded crêpe holders to its location under the twinkling street lights of Hampstead High Street. Depending on the time of your visit, there may well be a queue, but believe me when I say it’s worth it. Top tip: the hazelnut creme crunch is a customer favourite for a reason. Try it and see!

If you’re in Notting Hill…

Biscuiteers
Biscuiteers

No trip to London is complete without a visit to Notting Hill, whether it’s to explore the famous Portobello Market or to visit the filming locations of the famous Hugh Grant & Julia Roberts film of the same name. Well, if you’re in the area, you’re in luck: you’re in close proximity to one of the most beautiful shop fronts in London, and as an added bonus, it’s a biscuit boutique serving gorgeous (& delicious!) sweet treats decorated in all manner of styles. Biscuiteers Biscuit Boutique and Icing Cafe sits on Kensington Park Road, Notting Hill, and as well as offering up a range of biscuits (both boxed and for immediate consumption), the shop also hosts icing classes at their School of Icing, where you can learn to ice biscuits almost as perfectly as the shop does under the expert tuition of their staff. While I haven’t had the chance to attend one of their biscuit classes yet (it’s so high on my list of things to do this year!), I have tried their biscuits, and though they aren’t the cheapest snack you’ll find in London, if you’re in the area it’s well worth visiting the cafe and treating yourself to a biscuit or two just for the experience.

So there you have it: 7 of the best spots in London for a sweet treat, all located in great areas of the city that more than deserve a visit in their own right! Please let me know what you think of this foodie guide, and what you think if you decide to try any of the places mentioned! You can get in touch by commenting below, following a foodie guide Instagram or Twitter, or via email at afoodieguide@gmail.com.

I have also linked the Instagram accounts of the places I’ve mentioned below (at least the ones that have an account!). Enjoy!

Crosstown Doughnuts

Lily Vanilli

Dark Sugars

Primrose Bakery

Milk Train Cafe

Biscuiteers

London Sweet Treats.png

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