The top five places to study in London

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Maybe you’re in the Big Smoke for your semester abroad, or perhaps you just need to grind for a few hours between sightseeing on a family vacation. In either case, I’ve got you covered. Finding a study spot in London is harder than you’d imagine, especially if you’re doing work in the evening. Unlike most big cities in the US, coffee shops in the British capital tend to close in the early afternoon. Additionally, some cafes are not laptop friendly, making it difficult to pop into a cute lunch spot for a work sesh.

If you’re looking for a great spot to do work in London, you can’t go wrong with one of the five spots below. As an added plus, they all offer a range of snacks and coffees for your motivational treat needs, along with stellar WiFi connection. Instead of spending your precious time on Google Maps, head to one of these trusted study havens to start tackling that to-do list.

1. The British Library

With over 14 floors and 11 designated reading rooms, the British Library is the natural choice for a work session. The library is next to Kings Cross station, and its open every day of the week, usually from 9:30 AM to 8:00 PM, making it a great choice for the evening hours. There are several coffee shops and a restaurant for all your caffeine needs. The booths and tables in the main areas of the library can fill up quickly, so apply for a reader pass if you’ll be in London for the long haul. In a quick appointment, you can gain access to the library’s collection of over 14 million books and unrivaled desk space.

2. The Wellcome Collection

Frequently cited as the most aesthetically pleasing study spot in London, the Wellcome Collection is also perfectly located and open to all visitors. The reading room upstairs has a variety of comfy chairs and couches, along with tables to spread out books and papers. For those with more time in the city, you can apply for a library card to access the Collection’s other reading and research areas. There is a café downstairs offering light bites and coffees, along with additional seating. For a study break, you can stroll through the museum itself. The Wellcome Collection is open until 6 PM every day except for Monday (closed) and Thursday (open until 8 PM). 

3. Pret A Manger (Covent Garden, Picadilly, Fitzrovia)

Pret A Manger is the quintessential London stop for a quick eat. With a range of hot drinks, sandwiches, soups, and pastries, you can easily get a filling meal and a coffee for less than a tenner. However, there are two details about Pret that put it above other coffee chains in the world of London study spots. First, the Pret coffee subscription. For 25 pounds a month, you get up to five drinks a day at any Pret location. If you, like me, need multiple cups of coffee to get through a writing session, this deal quickly makes itself incredibly valuable. Second, Pret has some of the latest hours in London. In fact, the three locations above are all open until 10:30 or 11 pm, giving you a place to post up far past dinner time.

4. The Wetherspoons of Your Choice

This may seem like an odd suggestion – really, a pub? To study? However, there’s no better place to soak up British culture while you type away on your laptop. Wetherspoons is the cheapest pub chain in the UK, and each location has reliable WiFi and an array of seating options. If you go during the daytime, you’re unlikely to run into a rowdy pub crowd, and instead, you will probably find yourself amongst families out for lunch. So pick a cozy corner booth, pay less than 2 pounds for unlimited coffee refills all day long, and get to work. As a bonus, you can treat yourself to a cheap pint after a job well done!

5. Dillons Coffee at Waterstones Gower Street

Conveniently located near UCL and the other Universities of London, the Waterstones on Gower Street holds the title as Europe’s largest new and second-hand bookshop. With five total floors and plenty of comfortable reading spots, the store itself is a great place to sit down with your nose in a book. However, if you crave a café vibe, head down to the ground floor and find a table at Dillons. Expect a student crowd and enjoy a selection of local pastries, sandwiches, salads, and more until 7 PM most days of the week. 

Finding a place to study in one of the biggest cities in the world can be a daunting task, but by posting up in one of these five locations, you’ll be able to get some work done and still explore everything London has to offer. 

Kendall is a doctoral candidate in Politics at the University of Oxford with a specialization in political theory. Before moving to the United Kingdom as a Marshall Scholar, Kendall attended Tulane University, where she graduated summa cum laude in two degrees – a BA in Political Science and a BSM in Legal Studies in Business.


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