A photo tour of Britain's quirky roadside cafes.

London's growing food truck culture looks a lot like what we see in most American cities today, filled with quirky-looking vehicles and their enthusiastic owners serving things like crêpes, "punk riffs on Korean classics," or even homages to 1950s diner food.

But food served out of moving vehicles is far from new, and along Britain's roadways, the humble forefathers of the 21st century urban food truck can still be found. Trailers, small vans, even the shell of a double-decker bus serve unglamorous fare to passing motorists, giving truckers and travelers their English breakfasts, burgers, and teacakes. No clay-oven flatbreads with beet root and goat cheese in sight.

Reuters photographer Stefan Wermuth recently documented the country's many roadside cafes, still Britain's alternative to a meal at a rest stop:

Vanessa Burras, 42, poses for a photograph outside her snack trailer along the A49 near Bristol, southwest England September 5, 2013. (REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth)
Jay Grey (L), 21, and his sister Vicky, 22, wait outside their roadside double-decker cafe, the Red Bus Cafe, along the A64 near Thorner, northern England August 23, 2013. (REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth)
A woman stands in a snack trailer along the A423 near Banbury, central England August 19, 2013. (REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth)
Claire-Suzanne Izard prepares food in her snack trailer along the A421 near Buckingham, central England August 19, 2013. (REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth)   
Danny, 51, poses for a photograph next to his snack trailer along the A69 near Newton, northern England August 22, 2013. (REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth)
Customers wait outside a snack trailer along the A69 near Newton, northern England August 22, 2013.  (REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth)
A truck driver walks towards a snack van along the A22 near Caterham, southern England September 4, 2013. (REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth)
Workers take a break next to a snack van along the A22 near Caterham, southern England September 4, 2013. (REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth)
People wait outside a snack van along the A683 near High Casterton, northern England August 22, 2013. (REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth)
The Glider Cafe is seen along the A419 near Frampton Mansell, southwest England September 5, 2013. (REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth) 

About the Author

Mark Byrnes
Mark Byrnes

Mark Byrnes is a senior associate editor at CityLab who writes about design, history, and photography.

Most Popular

  1. Postcards showing the Woodner when it used to be a luxury apartment-hotel in the '50s and '60s, from the collection of John DeFerrari
    Equity

    The Neighborhood Inside a Building

    D.C.’s massive Woodner apartment building has lived many lives—from fancy hotel to one of the last bastions of affordable housing in a gentrifying neighborhood. Now, it’s on the brink of another change.

  2. Equity

    The Poverty Just Over the Hills From Silicon Valley

    The South Coast, a 30-mile drive from Palo Alto, is facing an affordable-housing shortage that is jeopardizing its agricultural heritage.

  3. Infrastructure

    Vienna Makes Peace With Its Trash

    The famously clean Austrian city boasts one of the world’s most innovative waste processing systems.

  4. Design

    The Military Declares War on Sprawl

    The Pentagon thinks better designed, more walkable bases can help curb obesity and improve troops’ fitness.

  5. Life

    Why a City Block Can Be One of the Loneliest Places on Earth

    Feelings of isolation are common in cities. Let’s take a look at how the built environment plays into that.