Bored of the library? Here’s how my week studying at independent cafes in Notts went

I will never financially recover from this…


If you can no longer hack the chaos of George Green during deadline season, a change of scenery to one of Nottingham’s many independent coffee shops might be just what you need. Taking yourself on a study date in an aesthetic coffee shop can feel like self-care when deadlines keep coming at you. Café ambience can be a bit hit and miss sometimes but changing up the scenery can also help to boost productivity. 

This week I only allowed myself to do my uni work if I was simultaneously trying and testing some of the finest spots in Notts. It was a great way to spice up my study routine whilst also exploring the city. Here’s what I found:

Monday: Blend at EastWest

Discovering the hidden gem of Blend at EastWest on the walk into the city centre was a great start. Despite its sizeable and spacious interior, Blend is easily missed, but once you realise you are in fact allowed to be there too, you’ll find they have created the perfect environment for a productive study session. With a soundtrack of groovy Lofi beats, a delicious-looking range of enormous focaccia sandwiches and lots of greenery with floods of sunlight, you’ll be fully immersed in your uni work for hours on end. If you’re someone who struggles with focus and concentration, give this place a try. It closes relatively early in the day but by the end of the session, I’d started and completed an entire piece of coursework.

One thing about me is that if there is a cinnamon swirl available for me to buy, I will be buying the cinnamon swirl. For £3.70, this wasn’t the most groundbreaking but it was still tasty and satisfying enough. 


Tuesday: Yolk

Located in Hockley, Yolk is small and very quiet with only a handful of tables so I felt quite guilty taking one up for just me and my laptop. I couldn’t stop listening to the conversation of the two girls in the corner, which was infinitely more interesting than my seminar prep, so I stopped typing and started snooping. All my concentration went towards being nosy and piecing together their very juicy backstory.  

You know you’re about to have a fantastic cup of coffee when the baristas on shift have man buns and short-sleeved shirts. I ordered an oat milk mocha, which is up there with one of the most difficult coffees to get perfectly right. It was the best mocha I have ever had. I had a pot of spearmint and jasmine tea too which was delicious. The vibe of this place made me want to get patchwork tattoos and a shag haircut. Even more money disappeared when I left because I tripped and fell straight into all the vintage shops of Goose Gate.


Wednesday: Fox Café

As someone who prefers a bit of background noise for my studying, Fox is a go-to. Another mocha and a slice of their chocolate caramel Halloween cake accompanied me on Wednesday’s session. The music was old pop music that I knew all the lyrics to so I had to drown it out by blasting the Dunkirk soundtrack in my headphones instead. Both the low lighting and Autumnal colour scheme make Fox Cafe a really cosy place to romanticise your studying and the baristas are super friendly. However, I didn’t have a lot of work to get through and didn’t last very long before I got sleepy and bored and decided a pre-crisis nap was more important than my dissertation proposal.

Thursday: Effy

Along with its change in location, Effy has recently undergone a drastic makeover and she’s a whole new woman. More sophisticated and subtle than her very pink former self, the interior of the new Hockley store is darker and moodier and the coffee is brewed from some very fancy-looking equipment. I recognised the barista from when he previously worked at Beam at Primary. I wasn’t anywhere near a plug point and my poor old laptop struggles to survive for long without a charger, so this visit was short-lived but it was nice to see Effy all grown up.

Friday: Dispatch

Dispatch has the cutest vibe. I got a pot of peppermint tea and I had to have a sweet treat, so I went for a Biscoff brownie too. Halfway through the session I had a break and moved to the window seat to people-watch and saw that in true Nottingham style, there was a very loud, worryingly intoxicated Hen-do stumbling down the street outside at 2pm. Apart from a couple of interludes where I engaged in a game of peekaboo with the baby next to me, I was very focused. My weekend was completely chock-a-block and I knew I wouldn’t have time to spare for uni work, so I powered through the rest of my to-do list and didn’t leave until everything was ticked off, my bum was numb from sitting down for so long, and it was dark outside.

Related articles recommended by this author:

• This is the reality of taking a year away from Notts, from someone who did it

 Hallward Library versus George Green: Where should you study?

• Mega Munch to society boys: These six things guaranteed to happen on every Notts night out