Loafing Around London: The Top Bakeries in Town

The popularity of The Great British Bake Off (known as The Great British Baking Show on Netflix in the U.S.) has put the heat on London bakeries—and they’ve risen to the occasion. London is now home to artisanal breads and pastries that rival Paris, Michelin-starred pastry chefs from Spain and, of course, English tea cakes and scones that are second to none. For aspiring bakers, there’s also the chance to learn from the masters. Here’s a round up of Luxury Travel Advisor’s favorite bakeries, what to order and where learn to bake.

Bread Ahead

Opened in 2013 in foodie-haven Borough Market, this is a go-to for amazing sourdough loaves. In 2014, Bread Ahead opened a baking school offering full- and half-day courses in all disciplines of baking, from puff pastry to New York bagels (which we tried and was a really fun and relaxing way to spend three hours, kneading, shaping and eating!). We hear the most popular courses are English Tea Time and Great British Baking courses. Booking is essential. 

Cakes & Bubbles

This is London’s most buzzed-about new bakery by famed chef Albert Adrià, voted The World’s Best Pastry Chef by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants and having built a gastronomic revolution alongside his brother, Ferran, at the legendary Michelin three-star elBulli, Cakes & Bubbles, in Hotel Cafe Royal, is his first permanent establishment outside of his native Spain, and his signature dish is “The Cheese Cake,” which actually looks like a small brie but combines Coulommiers cheese, hazelnut and white chocolate for the adventurous eater. 

Karma Bread

Located near Hampstead Heath, Karma Bread is the spot for gorgeous fresh loaves of a variety of grains made onsite, featuring everything from a chewy rye to chia and other Omega 3-rich grains and seeds. Tip: Of all the options, the best is the eggy challah, served on Fridays only—perfect sustenance for a long walk through Hampstead Heath.

St. John Neal’s Yard Bakery

A London institution, known for their “nose-to-tail” restaurants, St. John has also has built a reputation for their chewy artisanal sourdough, yeasty doughnuts and flaky English Eccles cakes, a small, round pastry filled with currants topped with demerara sugar. Pop in here for sustenance before a show or while shopping around Soho and Covent Garden.

Ole & Steen

This Danish bakery came to London from Copenhagen in 2016 and has since opened nine locations in London and one in Oxford. We love their rye breads (chia is a particular favorite), the cinnamon-infused “social slice” and the Dark Chocolate Puff, with its airy marshmallow and dense marzipan base. Tip: Ole & Steen has great coffee, too. Basically, eat here whenever you can.

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