The first thing a startup or a freelancer needs is a cheap or free working space where they can put their head down and get to work without worrying about being kicked out.
When we started working on Locappy, we did rounds around London to find the best space for us to work. We were a team of three so finding a desk/table was all the more a challenge.
Here we have summarised our thoughts below and what we consider are the best cafes to work from in London:
- Best cafes to work from in East London
- Best cafes to work from in Central London
- Best cafe to work from in South London
- Best cafe to work from in West London
Best cafes to work from in East London
1- Google Campus
Google campus has a floor dedicated to free working space. The Central Working at Google Campus is open from 9am to 5:30pm (Mon-Fri) and is the perfect environment (sometimes too much buzzing) for entrepreneurs and freelancers to work and connect. It has free wifi and loads of charging spots all over.
This space not only brings networking opportunities, but The Campus also hosts a million events every week. Benefit from the energy and collaborative atmosphere of Google Campus in the heart of Tech City right next to Old Street Station. This is an inspirational hang out for your business with pool tables and a networking den with creatively shaped furniture.
You will have to sign up online and then pick up your card from the reception. Its nice to have that cardCheck out Google Campus
This new co-working style cafe is a great getaway from Google Campus if you don’t want the hustle and bustle of the tech environment. Located on Old Street near Barbican station, this cafe is very accessible and has 2 floors of co-working. The amazing food and quality of the wifi are just a couple of the many wow factors.
They even have a meeting room/separate space which could be booked for a nominal price or minimum spend (last time we asked it was only £50!)
We used to switch between Google Campus and Timberyard, depending on what kind of task we were onto. Our first lean canvas was made at Timberyard when we did our initial customer validation, so this cafe has a special place in our hearts <3Check out Timeberyard here
3- The Book Club
Not only a cafe, but an institute which helped shape the Shoreditch culture we see everywhere in London. It’s large, bright, airy and has a good wifi. The waiters are amazing and the food (the kitchen is run by some super cool chefs) is fairly priced and yummy. Note that they also serve alcohol (it turns into a bar and later a club) so towards the evening it could get busy. The have hosted the Wall Street Journal Tech Cafe so they are very friendly towards people who want to work.Check out The Book Club here
4- Look Mum No Hands
Just 2 doors down from Timber yard on Old street, this cafe/cycle shop is a cool place to work outdoors (and indoors in the winter). They have an amazing yard which opens up to the main street, however the wifi connection outside can be a bit patchy. Inside though, the quirkiness of the cycle shop brings a different aspect to working. The tables are large which is good for meetings or if you are more than one. Its very airy and bright which is also a plus point. Locappy has had a few meetings here with our lovely friends at Billetto and we still go there from time to time.Check out Look Mum No Hands here
5- Long White Cloud
This cute cafe on Hackney road has probably the best coffee in the world (well Locappy loves it). It has a very homely feeling with hearty food served all day (and evenings). The closest station is Hoxton or Shoreditch high street, hence it’s famous amongst the locals. The vibe is very chilled out and relaxed. In our early days, we used to drop by this joint constantly!Check out Long White Cloud here
6- Hoxton Hotel and Grill
This may look a bit upmarket for the “hipster” and tech community of the Silicon Roundabout, but for us it has always been a relaxing and productive place to work from. It has an amazing bar, a great restaurant and of course if you are over worked, you can stay at one of their rooms (which will set you back a few quid!)
The trick is to get one of the sofa/chairs next to the main window, looking over Great Eastern Street so you can easily access the power sockets. The wifi/internet is decent and the bathrooms are good too! (trust us, you need clean atmosphere when nature calls!)
Its open from 7am until 2 am (last time we checked) and has also has a cool concept of ordering the set menu: Bring me food. You can find more details on this here.
Without a doubt, Hoxton Grill is one of the best places to work from in East London.
Check out Hoxton Hotel & Grill here
7- Ace Hotel
This workspace is located in the lobby of the Ace Hotel, following a trend of London hotels setting up a communal workspace. The best thing about this space is that it’s open 24 hours, so you can get to work any time with free wifi. The way the space is designed is that it’s made into different zones with furniture, glass, or steel screens as partitions. Its great for meetings as there’s a long 16-seat table and if you feel like you’ve worked hard enough for the day then make your way over to the bar and enjoy a much deserved drink! There is also a room at the back where we at Locappy have enjoyed some World Cup matches. We definitely think this is one of the best places to work in Shoreditch as it has both a relaxed and chill feel.
Thank you to Alexander who recommended this place to us!Check out Ace Hotel here
8- Forge & Co
Another great spot in Shoreditch is the Canteen at Forge & Co. Not only is it a great social work environment but it also has a really good lunch menu, making it a good informal meeting place. If you wanted to, you can book in advance for tables and sofas to ensure you get a space as sometimes they can get quite busy. Also, it gets a little bit louder towards the night, so its best to get your work done earlier in the day. Wifi is available and at a good speed. They also have another section called Workspaces, which deals with members. They have different kinds of memberships, all for a price of course, so if your thinking of making this workspace permanent then you can! Overall a good spot to work in London.Check out Forge & Co here
9- The Laundry
This is another really cool workplace we came across. It’s mainly for creative businesses and they developed the space from an abandoned 1960s commercial Laundry business which is pretty cool, hence the name. We worked at the Canteen & Bar where you can also have lunch and drinks, and it was nice because it wasn’t too packed. The wifi wasn’t the fastest but the chairs were comfortable. It was a little too cold for us to sit outside, but the area is nice and we would go back to it in warmer weather. We have to admit, it wasn’t all work and no play for Locappy when we visited The Laundry. We tried the Mexican Old Fashioned cocktail, which was just the Tequila kick we needed at the end of our day. Delicious!Check out The Laundry here
This little hidden gem is such a great place and one of our favourites cafes to work at in London. It’s warm and cozy with comfortable sofas, along with really friendly staff that make you feel right at home. Be sure to ask them for the wifi code, it lasts only an hour, but had a really strong and fast connection. The place itself is bright from natural light, as there are lots of windows with counters and the way the sofas and tables are organised creates a great environment to work in. Really great cafe with a laid back vibe and really really good coffee. A must visit if you are in the area, definitely one of Locappy’s favourite places to work in london!Check out Fix Coffee here
Best cafes to work from in Central London
1- Timberyard – Covent Garden
The East Londoners are taking over the west in the radicalisation of the coffee shop culture. Timberyard has recently opened a much needed cafe in Covent Garden for the benefit of startups and freelancers! Yes!!!!!
When it comes to free and cool working spaces in the centre, London really lags behind but thanks to both the wider population of London accepting quirky coffee shops and the fact that coffee business is doing “alright”, more cafes are exploring the option to open new branches.
We haven’t been there yet, but here is a review by Zoe on Yelp:
“This is the paragraph that is actually about the shop. The space is neat and clean and it’s fairly obvious that it’s new. I’m prediciting a full room when the word gets out. The guys serve pretty nice coffee, along with some sandwiches and other breakfast options. The shop was obviously meant for work as there’s wifi and comfy tables with sockets by them for all those power users out there”Check out Timberyard
2- Department of Coffee and Social Affairs
Just look at the name; that alone would attract you towards this amazing cafe near Farringdon/Chancery Lane. The exposed brick wall, large open counter with numerous treats and cakes and of course the amazing coffee – this place has it all! We went there a couple of times after saying hi to our good friends at lastminute.com. The wifi is good but we did find 2 small issues. It can get stuffy at the back (so avoid sitting there) and there weren’t enough charging points. We would still recommend this place, perhaps for a couple of hours as you pass by the area.Check out Department of Coffee and Social Affairs
One of our favourites given its location, coffee, wifi and staff. This 2 floor cafe is located just behind Oxford Street station near Carnaby Street. We can safely say Flatplanet was one of the first “East London style” coffee shops in the heart of the centre. When will we go back to Flatplanet? Whenever we are in Central London and want to work for a few hours. We will go downstairs and select a corner and put our headphones and get lost in another world. We can be sure that no one will bother us and the cafe will play amazing indie music for us to enjoy during our break. Try their organic spelt bread pizzas – you are sure to go to this place for more than one reasons.Check out FlatPlanet
4- The Riding House Cafe
Locappy visited The RHC on Great Titchfield St. for breakfast and ended up staying there for a bit to work. We sat at the bar area with our laptops and free wifi was supplied. If you mean serious business with your work then you can go to a private meeting room. The place itself is quite nice and bright because there are so many windows which give natural light and is a good look with the wooden decoration. It’s more of a restaurant then a cafe but is still a good place to work if you are alone, don’t mind the chatter noise and are hungry, because they do make really good eggs.
Check out The Riding House Cafe here
5- Wellcome Collection Cafe
This cafe is part of the Wellcome Collection museum on Euston Road which is really cool! The cafe itself is very bright, spacious and looks like something out the of future, so its a little different than the cafes we usually go to. Quite a few people around us were having meetings and on their laptops which is always a good sign. The is wifi and fast free, but we couldn’t find too many sockets. Just a heads up, if your going to be there for a while then keep ordering drinks every now and then, as we got the feeling they didn’t appreciate us just sitting around and using their internet. Also be aware of what time you go, as Locappy got there before noon and it wasn’t till soon after the place was absolutely packed! Definitely a spot that surprised us, but we think it’s a really good cafe to work in London.Check out Wellcome Collection here
6- Raw Press
Raw Press at Wolf & Badger on Dover Street is a great cafe to sit down, relax, and get some work done, while snacking on some healthy meals and drinks! Locappy initially came across this place to grab a bite, but it ended up being a nice place as you are able to sit down and work on your laptop with free wifi. This is a cafe so you would have to order at least a drink to be able to enjoy the place, but surely that shouldn’t be a problem as they have many delicious and healthy drinks to try – it’s also featured in our Healthy Cafes article. You’ll have to enter through the Wolf & Badger store to get to the cafe.Check out Raw Press here
Best cafe to work from in South London
1- Federation coffee
If you manage to secure a space in Brixton Village and have been there for a while, you are of course doing something good! This is one of the best cafe’s in South London (yes South London is big but this is what we know :)). We have gone down to the village many times to eat, meet, work, and play. We highly recommend this place to work or have a meeting at.Check out Federation Coffee here
2- Costa Coffee – Brixton
If you are in South London, this has to be your spot! Set on Brixton Road, this Costa has a closed front as if there is nothing behind it, but then walk through the door and boom! This massive cafe awaits you. Yeah, we know it is not an independent cafe so its not “cool” enough. Well, it has one of the best working atmosphere we have seen! It has friendly staff, good coffee, and amazing wifi. What else do we need? Locappy has spend many hours there after meetings with local businesses.
Check out Costa Coffee Brixton here
3- The Lido Cafe
If you happen to find yourself in this area, then it’s well worth a visit as its such a beautiful and scenic place to work. The Lido cafe overlooks Brockwell park and if you happen to have the time you can spend a bit of your day in the park. The cafe itself isn’t very busy, so its great for meetings or making calls as it’s not too loud in the background and it also has free wifi. If you do happen to find yourself there on an unusually hot London day, then you can take a swim in the lido pool to cool off after your hard work!Check out Lido Cafe here
Best cafe to work from in West London
1- Coffee Plant
We are trying to find more cafes in West London to work in and here is one Locappy has recently come across. Because this cafe is on Portobello Road, it can get a bit busy to work in as it becomes crowded with people and the seating is very limited. However the coffee is good and it’s a good stop to get your work done if you manage to get a seat. The music is a bit too loud for our liking but at least the wifi is free and fast.Check out Coffee Plant here
2- Kitchen & Pantry
This is a really nice and cosy place to work in the wonderful neighbourhood of Notting Hill. There is such a relaxed vibe about the place as they welcome people with laptops with plenty of space and fast wifi. The coffee is really good and the hot chocolate is great to try on a cold day. The only downside is that you need to get an internet voucher every 30-60 minutes, which is a little annoying, but other than that a really great place to work.
Check out Kitchen and Pantry
This is an obvious choice. Internet is super fast, the staff never ask you to leave, the coffee is ok, good charging points and above all they are everywhere! Starbucks is trying hard to stay away from the image of being the Macdonald’s of coffee and so far they are doing well. We at Locappy love our independent cafes but sometimes these big chains have the resources to create a better working environment. Good work Startbucks!
We hope you liked our selections of the Best Cafes To Work At In London and we will keep adding more to this list.
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