Like many towns and cities, Milton Keynes is rather saturated with coffee chains like Starbucks and Costa. All well and good, but they sap the character out of high streets. It kind of irks me when I see gorgeous little high streets with a Starbucks or Costa full of people – they just don’t know what they are missing! Not only is the coffee better at independent cafes, but the money goes straight into the pockets of passionate people who contribute to the community. And this is exactly why I am starting this series. My Milton Keynes Food Guide will showcase all the fabulous independent restaurants in Milton Keynes that are putting it on the food map. And coffee shops and cafes seemed like a good place to start.
I love spending an afternoon in a coffee shop and watching the world go by. If you are sick of the chains but love your caffeine fix, check out these cool coffee shops and cafes in Milton Keynes.
Bar Bar Black Sheep, Wolverton
As far as trendy coffee shops go, Bar Bar Black Sheep is certainly very trendy. It’s a cosy, comfy spot that I can’t believe I hadn’t visited before! The coffee is good and they serve a hearty selection of cakes and treats. But Bar Bar is more than a coffee shop; it’s a social enterprise backed by The Black Sheep Collective bringing creativity and the arts to the community.
Find it: 16 The Square, Wolverton, Milton Keynes MK12 5DG
Bogota Coffee Company, The Hub
Bogota has been in The Hub for some time, and it’s actually a little bit of a strange location for an independent coffee shop as it’s surrounded by chains. Despite this, Bogota has thrived and is a favourite for most people in Milton Keynes. Bogota is one of Dan’s favourite spots! I like it because it’s right next to Sweat Studios and I can grab a nice herbal tea afterwards, but their coffee is also off the scale. It’s pretty cosy inside but they have plenty of outdoor seating too.
Find it: 4 Rillaton Walk (The Hub, off Avebury Boulevard), Central Milton Keynes, MK9 2FZ
The Cupcake Bar, Ampthill
If you like coffee AND cake, I highly recommend making a trip to the cupcake bar. Although not technically in Milton Keynes, it’s close enough and has an MK postcode! The interior is fresh, modern and very Instagrammable, and the cake menu changes up every day. Pictured above is a peanut butter and jam cupcake, but expect to find flavours like Eton mess, banoffee pie and jammy dodger too! This is well worth a visit for the cupcakes alone. The owner, Lauren, also makes beautiful cakes which you can see more of on their Facebook page.
Find it: 9 Church Street, Ampthill, MK45 2PL
MK Gallery Cafe
The newly refurbished MK Gallery brings a lovely independent cafe to the city centre. Bright, bold and unapologetically MK, the interior makes this a welcoming place to be and the coffee isn’t half bad either. The cakes are also worth writing home about – try the carrot cake or lemon drizzle cake, you will not be disappointed!
Find it: 900 Midsummer Blvd, Milton Keynes MK9 3QA
Fourth & Fifth, Central Milton Keynes
Fourth & Fifth opened late last year and is a nod to the trendy brunch spots in New York. Captained by the same owner as Bogota, you would expect the coffee to be amazing – and it certainly is. The black and yellow interior and sunflowers make this a very Instagram friendly spot with great coffee to boot. It’s also a good spot to grab brunch or lunch if you work nearby.
Find it: Witan Studios, 280 Witan Gate West, Milton Keynes MK9 1EJ
Gyre & Gimble, Buckingham
If you fancy heading further afield, Gyre & Gimble in Buckingham is an absolutely adorable little spot. Tucked away from the high street you’ll find a very rustic interior with books adorning the staircase. They also have an amazing range of chocolate flavours – I remember the look on Dan’s face when they reeled off all the flavours and intensities they could offer for his hot chocolate! They also offer cakes and sandwiches. This is about ten minutes away from where I work but if you’re visiting Buckingham or anywhere nearby it’s a lovely stop to watch the world go by.
Find it: 9 Cornwall Place, Buckingham MK18 1SB
Out of Office Coffee, Stony Stratford, Olney & Newport Pagnell
Out of Office has a special place in my heart because it’s where Dan and I had our first date! The original shop opened in Stony Stratford in 2017, and since then two more locations have opened in Newport Pagnell and Olney which testament to what a successful little shop this is! With their cute orange owl branding and lovely coffee, this is the ideal place to spend a Saturday afternoon. You can also find some brilliant cakes in there – I recommend the red velvet slice from Minkie Moo bakery…
Find it: 45b High St, Stony Stratford, Milton Keynes, MK11 1AA | 41 High St, Newport Pagnell MK16 9HN | 38 Market Pl, Olney MK46 4AJ
Where do you like to grab coffee in Milton Keynes? Send some recommendations my way! I will keep adding to this post as I find more places to get your caffeine hit.