Whether you want to sip a pint at Wetherspoons, pick up a well-priced pastry at Greggs, or pick up a latte at Pret A Manger, you likely choose these chains for their convenience factor.
But not all outlets are created equal, and some high street favorites are housed in rather unusual buildings – from elaborate and impressive listed buildings to those with an interesting history.
So, if you want to enjoy a drink or eat in impressive surroundings, without spending a lot of money, you could do worse than visiting any of these restaurants.
From Pret A Manager in a 14th-century building in Oxford to All Bar One in a 1933 neo-Georgian building created by a famous, forgotten architect, these outlets show that chains don’t always have to be without character.
Here, FEMAIL brings together the most beautiful branches of high street chains across the UK.
Wetherspoons, Corn Exchange in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
Based in the former Corn Exchange building in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, it is widely considered to be the best Wetherspoons around
And it’s not just the impressive exterior – the Wetherspoons branch’s interior is also beautiful, with a huge glass vaulted ceiling.
The value pub chain Wetherspoons is known for its branches in historic buildings.
The chain often buys historic buildings such as former halls or banks and converts them into pubs.
Take, for example, the Canary Wharf pub, located in the Ledger Building, a single storey Grade I listed building, built around 1803.
Or there’s the option Royal Tunbridge Wells, in the area’s former opera house. Built in 1902, it still has some original features.
However, its most impressive offshoot is widely considered to be the Corn Exchange in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.
The Grade I listed structure, which opened in 1862, cost about £7,000 – about £1 million in today’s money.
Its exterior features large Greek-style columns, and the interior is no less impressive.
One of the pub’s most aesthetically pleasing features is the enormous glass-domed ceiling.
All Bar One, 2-3 Pavilion Buildings, Brighton
The Brighton branch of All Bar One occupies a building of historic interest, built by architect John Leopold Denman
Inside the building, the neo-Georgian style continues with its sage green color palette and ornate chairs
The Brighton branch of All Bar One is another high street chain known for housing itself in a historic building.
Moments from the city’s Pavillion, the bar is housed in a nearly century-old building with a rich history.
Built in 1933, in the neo-Georgian style, the structure was created by Brighton architect John Leopold Denman.
His career, which spanned both world wars, was an illustrious one: he built more than 200 buildings.
These include the Masonic Temple in Brighton, the Cathedral Archives in Canterbury, and the SW Surrey Crematorium in Feltham.
Now home to All Bar One, 2-3 Pavilion Buildings was once the office of the Brighton and Hove Herald Newspaper.
Perhaps in reference to the building’s neo-Georgian exterior, the interior decoration also refers to that era.
It features a sage green color scheme and ornate paneled seating inspired by Chinoiserie wallpaper typical of the mid-Georgian period.
Pizza Express, Gloucester Road branch, London
The Pizza Express ‘Gloucester Road’ branch, located in a ‘beautiful’ Georgian building on Cromwell Road, offers diners affordable food in a period location.
Formerly thought to be a bank, the chain describes the property as a “beautiful Georgian building” with period features
Another restaurant chain located in a historic building, the Gloucester Road branch of Pizza Express is considered one of the finest thanks to its location and the architecture of the building in which it is located.
Previously thought to be a bank, the series describes the property as Beautiful Georgian building.
It has attractive period features, as well as being surrounded by some equally impressive structures.
The restaurant’s location, on Cromwell Road in South Kensington, also has an interesting history.
Built in the 19th century, the road is believed to have been named after Richard Cromwell – son of Oliver – because he once owned a local house.
Zizi, Corn Exchange, Manchester city centre
Those looking for beautiful architecture will find it in this central branch of pizza chain Zizzi (pictured)
Buildings don’t get bigger than the Corn Exchange in Medieval, Manchester city centre.
Built in 1837, the imposing structure boasts an array of handsome Edwardian features, along with some modern touches.
The building has a rich history. Originally called the Corn and Produce Exchange, merchants from all over the world would come to exchange their wares.
After a brief stint as the Royal ExchangeTheater Company in the mid-1970s, it became home to a used market and record store in the 1990s.
Although it suffered damage in 1996, when the IRA bombed the city centre, the stock exchange has been restored to its former glory.
It is now home to a number of restaurants and retailers, among them An offshoot of the Zizzi chain, whose grand, second-rate exterior belies its somewhat casual menu.
Greggs in Abgate Street, in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
The finest branch of Greggs is thought to be this one on Abbeygate Street in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, thanks to its location in a 17th-century Grade II building.
Greggs has become increasingly popular in recent years, with diners flocking to the high street bakery for its affordable pastries.
But one of its branches is a little different from the others, and it has a more familiar interface.
The Abbeygate Street branch – again in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk – is housed in a 17th-century Grade II listed building.
Unlike other Greggs branches, which have a similar appearance (usually large windows and the chain’s famous blue sign), this outlet has a dated look.
The storefront’s exterior is decorated with decorative wood paneling, and even the sign was created from wood material to match.
However, the interior is no match for its interior design, and is closer in style to an average Greggs outlet.
Pret A Manger, Cornmarket Street, Oxford
The Pret A Manger (left) is housed in a building in Oxford believed to date back to the 14th century
The impressive building that houses the Oxford branch of Pret A Manger is believed to date back to the 14th century.
However, he believed that the building he belonged to To Jesus College, it may have undergone some building changes in the 17th and 19th centuries.
The three-storey building, which has a timber-framed facade and a Welsh slate roof, is Grade II listed.
Inside, while the outlet features some rustic touches such as wood paneling, the restaurant has a similar look to other Pret A Manger outlets.
Starbucks on Great Portland Street in London
This London branch of Starbucks is located in the ornate 1920s Tennyson House on Great Portland Street
Another unlikely high street gem can be found on Great Portland Street in central London.
Starbucks is known for being a very long avenue with a mix of architecture, and is located in one of the most iconic buildings on the street – the Tennyson House.
The large corner building, with six floors, was built circa 1920.
According to the coffee chain:Located in London’s West End, the Great Portland Street Starbucks design takes its cues from the building’s original architecture.
It includes dark paneling to complement the skirting of the building, restoration of the original wood floors, and a set of benches for the local community.
Café Rouge, Samuel Ryder Building, St Albans
Although now closed, Cafe Rouge once had a branch inside Samuel Ryder’s Art Deco building in St Albans
While now sadly closed, the St Albans branch of Rouge Cafe in Holywell Hill deserves an honorable mention thanks to being housed in an elegant Art Deco building with a fascinating history.
The Samuel Ryder Building, located at 27-29 in Holywell Hill, was once home to entrepreneur Samuel Ryder’s showroom.
His seed business was inspired by the realization that gardening was running out of working class prices, so he began selling small packages of seeds.
And that wasn’t his only achievement: in addition to being mayor of St Albans, he was also the founder of the Ryder Cup.
During the restaurant’s time on site, while serving the same menu as in its other branches, diners regularly praised the historic site in reviews.