It’s official: Seven independent restaurants in Lancaster you have to visit before you graduate

Comfort food is the perfect cure for stress, right?

With graduation only a couple of months away for final years and postgraduate students, many students are using their free time to explore Lancaster before their new journeys outside university. For many, comfort food is a significant part of a student’s time in Lancaster, particularly during the stressful exam season, with independent cafes, restaurants, and pubs dotted around the town centre.

Here is our list of the seven best independent pubs, restaurants, and cafes that all Lancaster students should visit before they graduate and why.

Journey Social

The first spot on our list is Journey Social, a cute specialty coffee shop on New Street that is the perfect place for a brunch date with friends or your significant other. The staff are friendly, welcoming and attentive, and the menu means you are spoiled for choice, with a significant range of coffee, tea, breakfast and brunch options using local products. The food is delicious, good quality, and both meals and extras have a reasonable price tag. Furthermore, the decor allows customers to take pictures of themselves and their meals that are Instagram-worthy.


Buccelli’s is an authentic Italian restaurant, wine bar, and cafe located on Church Street, brought from Rome by Bruno and his family, who have placed new roots in North Lancashire. The small counter-serve deli and bistro restaurant is beautifully decorated and is a fantastic mix of ristorante, cafe, and delicatessen. The staff and family are friendly, helpful, and attentive and take the time to talk to every customer who walks through the door. The food and produce are fresh and authentic, made of good quality, and reasonably priced. It’s the perfect small slice of Italy in the middle of Lancaster.


Cappuvino is a European-style bar and restaurant on Church Street, turning out various charcuterie boards & classic sharing plates, plus cocktails & milkshakes. Although on the more expensive side, the taste and fantastic quality of their food and drinks, as well as the friendly and attentive attitude of the staff, makes up for it. The restaurant offers an extensive range of options, with large portions and a good presentation. Furthermore, the lovely ambiance, decor, and sophisticated atmosphere make the restaurant perfect for pre-drinks with friends or an evening date.

The Three Mariners

The Three Mariner’s is the oldest pub in Lancaster, with a stone facade selling traditional pub dishes, real ales, beers & gins. The staff is welcoming and friendly, and the chef takes the opportunity to talk to customers. The menu consists of traditional pub grub food with an adventurous twist, and a specials board is always available. There is also an outdoor seating area, perfect for the upcoming summer months, and a significant range of local alcohols on sale at the bar.

The Herbarium

The Herbarium is the perfect spot for a study date with mates or coffee and a catch-up due to its relaxed, welcoming, and chilled atmosphere. The independently-owned vegan cafe on Great John Street offers a variety of teas, smoothies, soups, sandwiches and hearty mains to enjoy while reading a book in the corner or playing a board game with friends. The staff are warm, welcoming, helpful, and knowledgeable about their products. The Herb is reasonably priced and dog-friendly, with the staff giving every furry friend a cuddle or two.

The Water Witch

The Water Witch is a canalside, multi-award-winning pub and restaurant in the heart of Lancaster, located on the Canal Tow Path at Aldcliffe Road. The bar sells a variety of beers, ales, and other local alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, with the restaurant providing a wide range of lunch and dinner options made from good quality, locally sourced food. The nautical-themed decor, welcoming atmosphere, and friendly staff add to the experience of watching boats float up and down the canal from either the indoor booths or outdoor seating area. It’s perfect for a drink in the summer with your mates after an exam. The restaurant also offers a great mixture of music from the modern day to the 1960s.

Araya Thai

Araya Thai is an authentic Thai restaurant on Chapel Street offering everything from curry and stir fry dishes to soups and sharing plates. The food is delicious, authentic, and beautifully presented by the chef, and the large portions mean a to-go is a necessity. The menu has several pescatarian, vegetarian, and vegan options available, with the possibility to sit inside or take away, and is a small slice of southeast Asia in the centre of Lancaster.

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