Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the North
Graham Clark
Features Writer
7:16 AM 25th May 2021

John Watt And Son - Carlisle’s Oldest Coffee Shop

If you want a good coffee or cup of tea in Harrogate chances are you would go to Bettys. If you happen to be in Carlisle then the border city has something similar - John Watt and Son.

As you approach the shop on Bank Street the smell of freshly ground coffee entices you towards the shop which has been in business for over 120 years.

Bank Street has been home to John Watt and Son since the first shop was demolished in 1897. The shop has undergone several major changes since the move 120 years ago, not least the transition from traditional grocer’s shop to a tea and coffee specialist with a thriving café on-site.

Fruit scone
Fruit scone
The menu provides a range of light snacks, cakes and their freshly baked scones served with Claire’s Handmade Jams.The food is prepared fresh and where possible is all sourced from suppliers from within a 50 mile radius of the shop.

The fruit scones seem to be a popular choice as when we arrived at 3pm we managed to order the last one of the day. The densely rich fruit scone was worth our drenching in the pouring rain during the 10 minute walk from the train station.

Whilst the cafe might not be as ostentatious as Bettys, the quality and range of teas and coffees make up for that.

In the basement there is a small museum with old weighing scales and other artefacts. The mail order business continues to thrive too.

The Museum, John Wattt and Son
The Museum, John Wattt and Son
When every high street in Britain seems to have a coffee shop that is part of a chain, the good news is that this independent seems to be as popular as ever - and rightly so.

John Watt and Son Coffee House, 11 Bank Street, Carlisle CA3 8HG
Telephone 01228 521545