Independent cafes are the perfect place to relax, unwind and sip on a delicious cup of coffee or a slice of cake.

Unlike chain cafes, these seven hidden gems in Durham offer a unique ambience, personalized service, and a one-of-a-kind experience.

From cozy neighborhood cafes to trendy artisanal spots, here's a list of the best independent cafes you need to check out this weekend if you're a Durham local or visitor.

The Northern Echo:

1. Cafedral, Durham 

Located on 1 Owengate, only a stone's throw from the castle and cathedral, Cafedral is the perfect place to sip a specialist tea and take in the majesty of Durham's historic splendour. 

With 630 "Excellent" Tripadvisor reviews, this is the best-rated cafe in Durham. 

One reviewer, from Switzerland, said: "We had a fabulous brunch here on a rainy Saturday. The welcome was immediate and very warm. Service was speedy.

"Delicious freshly made smoothies, a fresh homemade bagel with perfectly-ripe avocado was generously topped with smoked salmon. Coffee was top notch too. Couldn’t fault it from beginning to end."

2. Tealicious Tea Room, Durham 

Tealicious is a quaint tea room in the heart of Durham City offering a delightful place to enjoy afternoon tea, cakes, brunch, lunch, and loose-leaf teas.

A delighted customer said: "Came on a Sunday morning with my mother and had the loveliest time in this cute, welcoming tea room. We were the first customers of the day and the kind lady took care of us.

"She was sweet and really easy to talk to and ask for recommendations. We enjoyed a great cream tea and the home made scones were perfection. Would love to visit again if I ever head up north again!"

3. Flat White Kitchen, Durham 

Well known for their delicious brunches, Flat White is such a firm favourite amongst all those living in Durham that there are often queues out of the door. 

A visitor said: "Fabulous breakfast - the constant queue to get in says it all! Loved it! This has to be the best place for breakfast. The ambience, the fabulous food, the historic building, the fresh teas & juices are just brilliant.

4. Treats Tea Room

This café in the heart of historic Durham offers customers ‘good food at good prices', with a wide selection of award-winning sweet treats and desserts, from cakes, scones, and our traditional British Afternoon Teas

A reviewer from Louth said: "Excellent Tea Rooms. Called here five years ago when last in Durham. Pleased to say we have just been again and it is still as good, and very popular too.

"We only needed light lunch so a scone and a cuppa was ideal. The scone came with quality butter and jam. Garnished with a couple of strawberries.Brilliant service from the busy waitresses. Highly recommend this tea rooms

5. Broom House Farm Cafe, Witton Gilbert

If you are visiting the farm for your shopping or passing on your walk or cycle ride, Broom House farm, in Witton Gilbert on the outskirts of the city, is the perfect spot to top for delicious breakfasts, lunches, coffees & cakes daily

A happy customer said: "We go mainly for the shop and butchers, although the breakfasts in the coffee shop are wonderful too!

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"The butchers are very friendly and knowledgeable (with some interesting stories to tell if they’re not too busy and you have a few minutes!) and the meat is always top quality.

"As older people on a limited budget we are selective about what we eat and prefer to pay a bit more for the best quality. It helps to know that the animals have had decent care and that the meat is safe to eat.

"We occasionally buy little ‘treats’ from the shop as gifts for friends too. It’s a delightful place and we always enjoy our visits."