Roaming a city without signal is great, no virtual distractions. But when you need it, you need it good. Here’s a handful of (free) places in Central London with FAST WIFI, PLUGS, COMFORT, and WARMTH – the whole package!
In the spring/summertime, the list would be very different. Perhaps a part-2 to think about.
Curzon Soho downstairs lounge (busy during peak evening times and when screenings finish, otherwise you could spend a whole day there)
The Barbican Centre (so many nooks! Very busy in the evenings, and usually accompanied by loud music filling the hall, but a comfy place where you can get work done)
The Hilton Metropole Edgware Rd at Edgware Rd station and a short walk from Paddington has a pleasant lobby where you can sit for hours. There is an automatic piano always playing, but with ear plugs, you’re good to go! Connect to M&S Free WiFi unless you’re an HH member.
Starbucks on Vigo St off Regent St in Mayfair (upstairs, no draft from the entrance door)
Planet Organic on Westbourne Grove has great wifi and great food and snacks and drinks, though it’s not as warm because the doors are constantly ajar.
Waterstones off Picadilly Circus (decent wifi and comfy chairs at each floor but no plugs near them). If you have enough battery to last you a few hours, it’s a very cozy and quiet place to be.
National Geographic Cafe across from Harrods is decent if you’re in the area but no nooks where you can stash yourself, you’d be front-and-central by the bar.
Baden Powell House, the HQ of Meininger Hyde Park Hotel/Hostel across from the Natural History Museum has a comfy lounge area, and it’s 24h!
and speaking of museums, most have decent wifi but no place where you can sit quietly for a long period of time, and most are always swarmed with visitors (plus, you’d be queuing with everyone to get in).
The British Library has strong wifi and if you have some quiet work to do, that’s the place to head and be productive among other great thinkers or procrastinators.
Joe & the Juice at Oxford Circus (just north of the cirq, on the west side) has a really cozy upstairs couch area where you can slouch on a hungover Sunday all day; be warned, they tend to like their music at club-level volume.
Whole Foods Market (both Picadilly Cirq and High Street Ken) have terrible, exasperatingly slow wifi but the Kensington location has a nice nook on the top floor to the right.
Although all public libraries have strong, fast wifi, they’re too quiet, can’t Skype, can’t snack and most don’t have public toilets. If you’ve settled in to work for a long time, you would need to pack all your stuff and go for lunch or a loo elsewhere.
These above are absolutely free, and you’re not under obligation to buy anything (read: no one will check up on you). There are plenty more where you may have to pinch a few pounds for a tea or an order, but they’re worth it if your budget allows.
The Book Club in Shoreditch is a great space, and everyone here has the same idea, this is hipster freelance central. If you want to socialise, be sure you look the part, none of that ‘writer out of work’ look of mess.
Zieferblat in Shoreditch is more ‘innovative’ by this list’s standards, it’s a pay-per-time cafe where you can have anything you want (coffee, snacks) for free but you pay for the amount of time you stay. It’s a cozy place with lots of mismatched furniture and crazy old-school clocks marking your time. A popular chain with plenty of locations in Russia, abroad you can find it in Ljubljana, Kiev and now London.
Look Mum No Hands is a hipster cafe and bike workshop, but the wifi is turned off during lunch hours (work around it or actually have lunch!) Two locations: Old Street and Clarkenwell
Department of Coffee and Social Affairs, is a chain and there are a few locations, the two of which in Farringdon are great for the purposes stated above.
Timberyard at Old Street or St Martin’s Lane off Leicester Sq, pick a location