Best brunch spots in Durham

Hello everyone, my name is Kirsten and I’m so excited to be the Junior General Editor this year for The Bubble! For students new to Durham University, one thing you should know is that brunch is a sacred meal. No matter what day of the week it is, if you are free in the late morning, then brunch is an unspoken rule (the queues outside Flat White prove this). For my first article for the ‘Editor’s Note’, it felt only appropriate to share my knowledge of the best brunch spots in Durham, consider your weekend plans sorted!


  1. Vennels

Coming in as number five in my ranking of best brunch spots, we have ‘Vennels’. This café is very unassuming, yet it is absolutely charming and a perfect escape from the big crowds in town centre. With plenty of indoor seating, this is a relaxing place that you need not worry about queuing for hours. They also have a wide range of coffee alternative drinks, including milkshakes for the sweet-toothed amongst us. The tables are consciously spaced out so you do not feel as though you are sharing your date with the people next to you. The cakes they serve are hugely sliced and I absolutely recommend the carrot cake. In terms of brunch, this place has raked fifth on my list because it is better equipped for lunch: it has a wide range of paninis and quiches, as opposed to waffles and pancakes. Overall, Vennels is the perfect, slow-paced, relaxing brunch spot in Durham that is perfect for dates, long catch-ups, or solo studying. 


  1. Cafedral

Cafedral wins bonus points for having the best café name in Durham so for that alone it would make the top five list. However, beyond the name, this café has such beautiful décor. With an eye-catching pink door, the interior is full of plants and decorations that creates a stunning atmosphere. Their Victoria Sponge cake is potentially the best in Durham, and they have many meat and vegetarian/vegan options. The menu is slightly more limited than other cafes in Durham, which is why it’s not in the top three options, but they have enough options to appeal to everyone and their falafel wrap is one of my favourite lunch options in Durham. The seating is slightly more limited though, so if it’s a weekend you may need to queue for a little bit. 


  1. Chapters

Chapters remains another phenomenal brunch place in Durham’s town centre, especially because they serve breakfast all-day. With no need to set alarms and rush getting ready, Chapters is ready for you whenever you are ready for it. They have a range of healthy options, such as yoghurt and granola bowls, to more indulgent full-English options. If your friendship group has a range of dietary requirements, this is a wonderful ‘one size fits all’ café. Their cakes are absolutely the selling point though! They do some incredibly unique flavour combinations that are to-die-for every time. If you fancy a sweet treat, this is arguably the best place in Durham for it. 


  1. Flat White

Flat White has a reputation as being the best brunch place in Durham, and whilst it is definitely close, I think it misses the mark marginally. Beginning with the reasons why this is such a beloved place: the exterior is full of plants and exposed wood, which makes it feel airy, timeless, and peaceful. The menu has a huge variety of options, including sweet options such as pancakes (the Morello cherry stack is my favourite) and they have the biggest range of drinks that I’ve seen at any café. The food is incredible, it’s filling, and it’s varied. The reason this café is not number one on my list however, is because the queue is basically inevitable at this point, and it does not go down quickly. It is also the most expensive café in Durham, making it a good occasional treat, but if you want to make brunch a weekly routine then Flat White probably is not the best option for this. 


  1. Riverview

Riverview is my beloved brunch place in Durham, as it is probably my most visited place in Durham. I have brought everyone in my life to Riverview: my parents, my beau, every friend that I have – this is a place everyone needs to experience. The reason this place is my absolute favourite brunch place is because the prices are so reasonable for amazing quality (I think their pancakes are fluffier and nicer than Flat White’s, and it’s cheaper too). The tables by the river are so romantic and the view is beautiful year-round. The reason I also bring everyone I know here, is because there is something for everyone. My dad is a carnivore and loves how many options he has, yet my mother is vegetarian and the full-English vegetarian breakfast is her favourite because it has her ideal food options (mostly because it has halloumi). I love sweet brunch options, and the banoffee pancakes have the perfect amount of toppings and the texture is addictively soft. They also have a myriad of tea options, which is worth top-spot alone. Riverview also has the BEST carrot cake in the world. I could list the copious wonderful things about Riverview forever, but really you need to go and experience it for yourself. Happy brunching!


Featured image: by Rachel Park from Unsplash.

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