10 Alternative Study Spots in London

Mar 3, 2019 10:05:00 AM / by Stephanie Sadler

Sometimes a change in scenery is just what you need for a boost in motivation to write a paper or to provide you with inspiration to complete a big project. Luckily, there are lots of great alternative places to study in London. If you’ve been sticking to CAPA’s study space or your bedroom and find yourself getting distracted easily or are feeling uninspired, it’s time to take your laptop out into the city. Try one of our 10 recommendations below:

10 Alternative Study Spots in London - Pinterest Graphic


The British Library is enormous and has free WIFI and outlets!Inside the British Library.

For somewhere quiet that feels especially studious, there’s nowhere better than the British Library in Kings Cross. It’s home to over 200 million items including the Magna Carta, but don’t let that distract you until you’re ready for a well-deserved break. Instead, head upstairs to one of the library’s many Reading Rooms. Be sure to get a Reader Pass first; it’s free, but you’ll need to register, so check the website before you go. The library is open most weekdays from 9:30am-8pm. Go early and try to snag one of the armchairs with a mini table and personal plug socket. There’s a cafe and restaurant on site too.

Location: Kings Cross St. Pancras
Plug sockets: Yes
Free WiFi: Yes
Website: https://www.bl.uk/


PictureHouse CentralThe member café at Picturehouse Central.
Source: Ewan Munro / Flickr

There’s a downstairs cafe area at Picturehouse Central (a huge cinema) where you can go to study, but there’s also a member’s room that draws creatives and media types, has comfy sofas and stays open late. To use that space, you can become a student member for £30 (which actually isn’t bad considering it includes two free movie tickets, up to £3 off future movie tickets, 25% off all food and drinks, and access to the roof terrace). Study hard and then treat yourself to a film when you’ve met your goals for the day!

Location: Soho
Plug sockets: Yes
Free WiFi: Yes
Website: https://www.picturehouses.com/cinema/Picturehouse_Central/buy-membership


JOE and the JUICEPhoto from Marco Verch via Flickr

If studying in a cafe is more your style and you don’t mind loud music and muddled chatter as a backdrop, Joe & the Juice is an amazing place to bring your laptop. There are branches across the city serving up delicious sandwiches, coffee, and freshly squeezed juices, and they’re well set up and welcoming to anyone hoping to get a bit of work done. We love the Kings Road branch especially. It seems small when you go inside, but they have a basement with a lot of tables, free WiFi, and plug sockets next to almost every seat.

Location: Various locations around London
Plug sockets: Yes
Free WiFi: Yes
Website: https://www.joejuice.com/


Timberyard Seven DialsImage from tyuk.com.

The slogan over at TY Seven Dials is “Tea, coffee, work and play. Reimagined." There’s wi-fi, electrical juice for your laptop, coffee and yummy food, a meeting room, friendly staff, and armchairs. You’ll spot plenty of other creatives, students, and freelancers drawn to this award-winning, independent cafe. Plus, there’s Oreo brownies. Go early to get a seat and treat yourself to a delicious breakfast. (Maybe save those brownies for a late morning snack…) Covent Garden is a fun area to explore when you’re ready for a break, and there are other branches in Soho and Old Street too.

Location: Covent Garden
Plug sockets: Yes
Free WiFi: Yes
Website: https://tyuk.com/


Victoria & Albert Museum

A short walk from CAPA, one of the city’s best museums also offers an excellent place to study. Choose from the bustling cafe for background noise (and one of the most impressive interiors we’ve ever had our coffee in) or seek out peace and quiet in one of the study rooms or the stunning National Art Gallery that overlooks the John Madejski Gardens. Sign up on their website before you go so you can access the study rooms or library (it’s free) and note that the rules are quite strict in terms of what you can bring into the rooms and what must be left in the storage area at the entrance.

Location: South Kensington
Plug sockets: Yes
Free WiFi: Yes
Website: https://www.vam.ac.uk/info/study-rooms


Ace Hotel, Shoreditch, by Stephanie Sadler

If you’re looking for somewhere trendy to work and you’re a night owl or an early bird, head to Shoreditch because The Ace Hotel is perfect for you. It’s open 24/7, has a great cafe, is packed with study-friendly amenities like plug sockets galore, free wi-fi, and cozy sofas. And there will be a lot of other people pattering around on laptops, so you’ll have company no matter what time of the day or night you show up. There’s also the Hoi Polloi restaurant at the back which is quieter and has booths which each have a socket. Plus, they serve delicious cold pressed juices to keep you energized; and coffee, of course.

Location: Shoreditch
Plug sockets: Yes
Free WiFi: Yes
Website: https://www.acehotel.com/london/


Google CampusPhoto by David Guerra Terol via Flickr.

Did you know that the Google Campus in East London has a whole floor that’s dedicated to free working and studying space? You can register free online to become a member. There are comfortable chairs and desks, coffee, and healthy food to fuel your work. It’s a great place to network too and they have tons of events that may be of interest, covering a range of topics. The campus is closed for renovation until early 2019, but check back any time after that for opening hours and a full calendar of talks, classes and other happenings.

Location: Shoreditch
Plug sockets: Yes
Free WiFi: Yes
Website: https://www.campus.co/london/en/


The BarbicanPhoto by Tom P via Flickr. 

There are plenty of places to work inside The Barbican, which is one of the most striking pieces of brutalist architecture in London and a place for dance, film, music, theatre, and visual arts. It’s a huge space and stays open until 11pm. Head directly to the library, wander up to the higher levels for some undisturbed quiet or just explore this labyrinthine building until you find a peaceful corner that appeals. You could also sit inside the spacious Barbican Kitchen which overlooks the pretty lakeside terrace (or on the terrace if you can do your work outside).

Location: Barbican
Plug sockets: Yes
Free WiFi: Yes
Website: https://www.barbican.org.uk/


Waterstones is one of the biggest bookshop chains in London and many of them have a Dillons Cafe attached. One of the most popular branches with students is on Gower Street, near several of the big London universities. A quieter option that we also like is the branch inside the Putney Exchange on Putney High Street. Go early in the morning and be sure to snap up a booth. Each one has plug sockets and there’s also free WiFi, so you can fuel up on coffee and study the day away.

Location: Various locations around London
Plug sockets: Yes
Free WiFi: Yes
Website: https://www.waterstones.com/bookshops/gower-street


Hyde Park and Neighborhoods_Crop

London is a massive city. There are so, so many places beyond this list that would make amazing study space alternatives, from cafes in your own neighborhood to your local borough’s library to other larger cultural venues like galleries, museums, and even hotel lobbies that welcome the public to sit and relax. Part of the fun of studying abroad is going out to explore and discovering your own favorite spots along the way. Everyone’s experience of London is different. Give us a shout on social media at @CAPAStudyAbroad and let us know what gems you’ve fallen in love with along your journey!

Location: Various
Plug sockets: Depends
Free WiFi: Depends

Learn More about the CAPA London Program

Topics: London, England, International Education