Southbank Centre

Working (away) from home: The 20 best working spots in London for days when you just need to get out of the house

Whether your flatmate is getting on your nerves or your home office feels a little too claustrophobic, every now and then we all need somewhere outside of the home where we can spend the day. But finding a quiet, comfy space with decent wifi isn’t always easy.

The way we work is changing. When the pandemic began in 2020, remote working in the UK increased to 49%. And two years later, it seems to be official – remote working isn’t going anywhere.

According to a report published by the ONS last month, “38% of working adults reported having worked from home at some point over the past seven days.” Another recent study from King’s College London found that 73% of workers plan on working remotely at least once a week.

Working from home means less time spent on commuting, less money spent on travel and lunches, and less energy spent on workplace chatter. However, it can also mean spending more time with annoying flatmates, a sense of claustrophobia and a blurred line between your work and home life.

So, for those days when you’re just itching to get out of the house, heading to a local cafe or pub can offer some much-needed respite. We’ve compiled a list of the best spots in London that promise a strong wifi connection, a comfortable seat, an available power socket and maybe even some gorgeous outdoor seating for the summertime. 

Central London

  • The British Library

    British Library reading rooms
    The British Library

    The reading rooms at the British Library are the perfect spot to spend an afternoon when you need to hunker down and get some work done in peace and quiet. Think of it as like your uni library – there’s a strict policy of no talking on the phone, no food and drink, and no pens.

    Located around the corner from King’s Cross, the British Library reading rooms are open Monday at 10am and other weekdays at 9.30am, closing at 8pm Monday to Thursday and 5.30pm on Friday. Be sure to sign up for a Reader Pass in advance.

  • Picturehouse Central

    Looking for a quiet, spacious spot to get some work done in central London? At Picturehouse Central, located a stone’s throw from Piccadilly Circus, head to the first floor bar to find plenty of seating and strong wifi. While the bar can get a little busy in the evenings and at the weekend, on weekdays it’s generally a lot more quiet than most cafes. 

  • Granary Square

    For a gorgeous outdoor working space, head to Granary Square near King’s Cross. Here, you’ll find lovely green spaces and there’s free wifi. There are even tables and chairs just outside the Waitrose if you plan on grabbing lunch and working here a little longer. 

  • Benk & Bo

    A rare free coworking space, Benk & Bo in Spitalfields has everything you need from a remote office – loads of tables, plug sockets, cosy surroundings and, naturally, coffee and wifi. You’ll also be able to browse the extensive library of art and design books if they strike your fancy.

  • Heal’s Cafe

    Heal's Cafe
    Heal's Cafe

    If you like to work in beautiful surroundings, the cafe on the top floor of Heal’s department store on Tottenham Court Road should definitely be on your list. This stylish, comfortable space was designed with Heal’s furniture and offers coffee, lunch and cocktails for after you shut your laptop for the day.

East London

  • The Hoxton

    Sometimes, busy coffee shops are a little too hectic for a busy day of remote working. Here’s a little-known remote worker hack: hotel bars offer the same surroundings and service without the noise. At The Hoxton in Shoreditch, you’ll find plenty of cosy, peaceful rooms where you can plug in and work all day long. Or head to the Southwark outpost for the Hoxton’s very own official coworking space with over 700 desks if you decide to commit to a membership.

  • The Castle Cinema

    While this ultra chic 1920s-themed cinema bar in Hackney becomes a little wild in the evening, on weekdays it’s the ideal working sanctuary that’s open for business all day long and often hosts other remote workers.

  • Yonder E17

    Want to squeeze a bouldering or yoga session into your working day? At Yonder in Walthamstow, you can. This is a bouldering studio meets cafe meets coworking space. You can find everything you could want from a day of remote work: coffee, wifi and even a quick workout.

  • The Brew

    The Brew in Shoreditch offers various coworking memberships for freelancers, remote workers or even small startups. While some of their spaces cost money, they do have a free workspace with a “relaxed cafe atmosphere” designed for remote working. But, unlike some cafes, speedy wifi and plug sockets abound.

North London

  • Camden Collective

    Camden’s free coworking space, Camden Collective is a vibrant, buzzing spot filled with freelancers and small business-owners. It also has free 24/7 hotdesking for remote workers who are after an office-type setting, complete with lockers, showers, phone booths, meeting rooms and more. All they ask is that you contribute two hours a month to the community.

  • The Goods Office

    The Goods Office in Stroud Green may be a pub but, as the name suggests, it’s also a makeshift office. With strong wifi and outdoor plugs, this spot is a must-try in the summer. This remote working haven is open from 8.30am to 11pm every weekday and 9am to 11pm on weekends.

  • Redemption Roasters

    Redemption Roasters in Islington is one of those unicorn coffee shops – it’s independent, stylish and it welcomes remote workers all day long. Filled with gorgeous natural light, this is a great spot for coffee lovers who are after a chic makeshift office where it doesn’t feel awkward staying for hours on end. Plus, it even has a shady back garden.

West London

  • The Elgin

    The Elgin in Maida Vale is a beautiful pub that promises quiet, cosy work stations in the daytime. Whether you’re after a comfy leather sofa or a makeshift desk, this large independent pub has you covered.

  • The Eagle

    The Eagle in Shepherd’s Bush is home to one of the prettiest beer gardens in west London. While it can get busy in the evenings, on sunny weekdays, you will love getting some work done in the sunshine with a virgin cocktail close at hand. Or, during the colder months, head inside and grab a cosy table by the fireplace.

  • Granger & Co

    Granger & Co.
    Granger & Co.

    The Chelsea outpost of Granger & Co is a stunning modern cafe-restaurant with ample seating, great wifi and it tends to be pretty quiet during weekdays. This spot’s great if you want to escape your home for a few hours in the afternoon – but be warned: it can get busy at lunchtime. 

  • The Orange

    The Orange, a hotel in Pimlico, is a stunning spot to set up camp for a day of remote work. Pick a table in the lobby or in a corner of the bar. You won’t be disturbed and you’ll be able to work in peace for hours on end. You can even grab lunch and a coffee as you go. 

South London

  • Southbank Centre

    Southbank Centre
    Southbank Centre

    The Southbank Centre is home to cinemas and a concert hall, but it’s also a large public space with loads of desks and cafes where you can get some work done when you’re out of the office. With views of the Thames and a bustling atmosphere, this is an artistic, vibrant spot to spend the day. 

  • National Theatre

    National Theatre
    National Theatre

    Just next door to the Southbank Centre is the National Theare. While this venue may look like a theatre, it’s also a large public space filled with two floors of desks and strong wifi. There’s also a bar, a cafe and a theatre bookshop in the building if you need a break. 

  • BFI Reuben Library

    BFI Reuben Library
    BFI Reuben Library

    A third Southbank option, the quiet, studious Reuben Library at the BFI promises to keep you focused on days when you have lots of work to get through. The free library also has a huge archive of film-related material that you can explore when you finish for the day. 

  • Peckham Levels

    The six-storey Peckham Levels is just across the road from Peckham Rye Station and on the top floor of this community-focused space, you’ll find several bars and food stands along with numerous rows of benches. In the daytime, it’s the perfect spot to crack open your laptop, grab some street food and get to work. When you’re done, explore the vintage shops or yoga studio elsewhere in the building. 

Still looking for the perfect spot to work?

Most areas do have a few spots where it’s possible to spend a few hours getting some work done. We recommend trying: 

  • Local chain coffee shops – they tend to have plenty of seating and reliable wifi.
  • Local pub gardens – wifi can be hit or miss, but once you find a good garden with a strong connection, you’ll be there all summer long.
  • Local libraries – with a library card, you’ll be able to park yourself at a desk all day and get the peace and quiet you need.
  • Local boutique hotels – check out nearby hotels for lobbies and bars that could serve as your office space for the day.

Images: courtesy of businesses