Canada in London: Tim Hortons’ Coffee and Doughnuts

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As our World in London series continues, we come to our friends in Canada. Writer and comedian Ryan Millar tells us the best place for Canadians to get their caffeine and sugar fix in London:

When I first rode by 56 Haymarket, SW1, I did a double-take. Across four busy lanes of traffic I glimpsed a frosted Tim Hortons logo. I couldn’t resist stopping. There are more than 50 Tim Hortons in London, Ontario, but I wasn’t expecting any in London, England? I had to get a taste.

Doughnuts and coffee have a peculiar magnetism on the Canuck. Almost any journey made by a Canadian – be it a quick pick-up from hockey practice, a family road trip to Head-Smashed-in-Buffalo-Jump, or – evidently – a cycle through central London to the Royal Academy of Arts, can be waylaid by Tim’s coffee and doughnuts.

The coffee is earthy and spicy with notes of nostalgia. And the panoply of baked goods is a feast of fruit and sugary deliciousness, perfectly formed to feed a nation. How else to explain that Tim Hortons is, by some accounts, a bigger fast-food retailer in Canada than McDonalds, and a bigger coffee chain than Starbucks?

And it’s now available right in the centre of the swirling metropolis of London, England – just a two minute walk from Leicester Square and half that to Piccadilly Circus. For any Canadian feeling far from home, the comfort of comfort food can be sweet in both the “double sugar” and metaphorical senses.

However, the Haymarket Tim Hortons isn’t a full-blown outlet. No such luck. It is just a small wall display in the Spar supermarket. The doughnut selection isn’t huge (What? No crullers?) and the coffee comes from a self-serve machine on the counter.

But there’s no mistaking it – this is a Tim Hortons coffee and doughnut. And that’s enough for me.

Check out Ryan’s brilliant blog for more musings on life in London.

And let us know where else in London you can get an authentic Canadian in the comments below…


  1. Claire says:

    Sounds tasty. And central! I must try these

  2. LazyLondon says:

    I’ve walked passed The Maple Leaf in Covent Garden many times but never been in. Would anyone recommend it?

  3. Millar says:

    I’m also curious about The Maple Leaf. Tim Horton’s is a solid Canuck option, but they do lack beers..

  4. Matt says:

    The Maple Leaf has a pretty good selection of Canadian beers – last time I was in there we were drinking Sleeman’s and Keith’s, so it’s not just Canadian!

    Anyway, more importantly: Do they have Tim Bits?!

  5. Yvonne Marie says:

    Hello, My name is Yvonne, I am planning a visit to London for next Spring, I would love to know more about London. Anyone got any good pointers, and advice? Thank you, Have a great day! Yvonne:)

  6. Nathan says:

    Haven’t heard anything good about the Maple Leaf, but I can’t speak from experience. Sounds like the only thing Canadian about it these days is the paraphernalia which is kitschy at best from what I saw peering in through the window.

  7. Aparently the Maple leaf used to be the hub of the London ex-pat community. Then new owners took over and turned it into a tacky theme pub and the Canadians deserted it. The few times I have been in there it has been full of office workers enjoying a drink after work.

    If you’re interested I have reviewed Tim Hortond on my blog

    • d says:

      The Maple Leaf smells like the morning after a grad party..lots of stale beer…and I was more like an embarrassed Canadian than a proud one in this establishment.

  8. Adam says:

    I believe (from google streetview) that this lustrious Canadian establishment has now been turned into a pizza hut. :( I just had a huge craving for a large double double and a bagel with cream cheese. The search will continue…

    • Anna says:

      Adam – I just rang up the Spar and asked if they still had the Tim’s section, and the guy said they did…fingers crossed it wasn’t a ruse…

  9. Sam Beveridge says:

    I tried really hard to find this tim hortons hide out in central London and couldn’t find it!

    Can anyone help me?! Walked from Leicester square right through to Piccadilly several
    times and failed. where exactly is it?! Whts it called?!

    Thank you

  10. Anna Nash says:

    The Tim Horton’s outlet near Picadilly circus london is now a Costa Coffe Spa franchise – sad news.

  11. jessie says:

    Is this Tim Hortens still around?