Is it just us, or is it hard to escape the rat race of London to find some quiet? A bustling city like this is a dream as a student looking for something to do, but not so much when you’re trying to cram for an upcoming exam. Don’t give up though, because hidden amongst human curling, axe throwing and themed brunches are many opportunities for studying, it’s just about knowing where to look. Join us as we get into how to find quiet places to study in London.
Considering your needs
You’re sick of staring at the same four walls and a change of scenery might be just what you need to finally get that answer to stick. But before heading out the door on a quest to find an alternative study space, it might be worth considering your needs.
Thinking about things like whether you need access to power or the internet, whether you need absolute silence or whether you’d like to enjoy a cup of coffee while you study can all become determining factors when deciding where you claim your space.
For example, if you’re going down the traditional route and putting pen to paper, you don’t need to think about free WiFi or plug sockets and can settle almost anywhere. If you need your computer and the internet to get ahead, you’re going to want to opt for a community space or library. If coffee and a croissant is about the only thing that’ll save you right now, then a coffee shop will do nicely. Been craving fresh air? Well the sun is coming out and there are plenty of outdoor spaces to find your quiet corner in. And if you’re a procrastinator or get easily distracted – no judgement here, who doesn’t? – then choosing a space that doesn’t offer WiFi might be a good way to limit your internet usage; opt for a park if you don’t have the willpower to resist the free WiFi. See what we mean? With so many options, really knowing what you need will help point you in the right direction.
It’s important to remember that London isn’t just a tourist’s dream, it’s a hub of student-friendly spaces that are ready when you are. Look to parks, libraries, coffee shops and cafes, museums, study centres, community spaces and even a rogue bench in a spot that you feel inspired by. If you’re still a little unsure of where to begin – because, let’s face it, London can be overwhelming with the sheer amount of options it offers – then we’re here to help with a few suggestions to get you started.
Coffee shops and cafes are a great option when you need a different environment, but remain married to your laptop and therefore need the internet and a plug socket. Many coffee shops offer free WiFi, so it’s just a matter of finding the one that’s the best fit. To help you along, we’ve picked four that are somewhat famous study spots.
Bloomsbury Coffee House
Tucked away in the heart of Russell Square, this cosy basement cafe is a great solution for students who choose to breakaway for outstanding coffee and a quiet corner to work. Already an inevitable part of student life based on its location alone, the Bloomsbury Coffee House offers everything you may need for a short break or a longer, distraction-free study session including sockets, free WiFi, homemade food and baked goods.
With locations in Shoreditch and London Fields, Ozone Coffee focuses on… well, coffee, but hospitality is also pretty high on their list of priorities, which is why you’ll always feel welcome sliding into a booth to study here. There’s plenty of space, all lit with natural light, and great coffee when you’re in urgent need of a pick-me-up. Students can also rest easy, charging is accommodated by the many plug sockets and WiFi is readily available.
As a chain of cafes and restaurants, Benugo is no secret. That’s okay though, because we’re not trying to break new ground, simply point out the best nooks and crannies around London to find you an alternative study spot. Any of the Benugo locations offer good coffee, light snacks and free WiFi, but we tend to gravitate towards downstairs seating so we free ourselves a little more of distractions. Try the Cannon Street, Covent Garden or Hanover Street branches if you’d like to do the same.
And if coffee isn’t your cuppa, then Yumchaa might be where you head the next time it’s crunch time. Located in Soho, this cosy tea room and cafe has the ideal lighting and aesthetic to make you feel inspired to hit the books. Tuck yourself away in a corner and allow their range of exotic teas to revitalise your mind and body so you’re able to push yourself that little bit further.
Libraries are great not only because you’re surrounded by books that would make handy reference points for an essay or when you’re studying, but also because chances are you’ve got one right on your campus. However, if you’re looking to mix it up whilst remaining in a studious space, then try one of these on for size instead.
The British Library
Home to millions of items, The British Library is a never-ending well of information and their magnificent Reading Rooms offer the perfect, quiet environment for students. If you get there early enough, you might even be able to snag an armchair with its own personal plug socket. Alternatively, there is plenty of space – just remember to register for a free reader pass that’ll allow you access to the rooms. You won’t be able to take anything in with you (bags are checked at the cloakroom) but when you’re ready for a break, head out into the courtyard for a breath of fresh air after a snack in the cafe.
Victoria and Albert Museum
With study rooms dedicated to art, print & drawing, architecture, and ceramics, V&A not only encourages students to find a quiet space, but to take advantage of all the reference materials on offer. Sign up online to secure a seat; this way you’ll also be able to book any materials you’d be interested in reviewing. And if you’re after background noise, the main and garden cafe offer hot and cold food, drinks and truly stunning settings.
Senate House Library
Part of the University of London, the Senate House is a mighty library that spans several floors and is home to some of the comfiest leather sofas. If cosying up and settling in for a three hour study session sounds like your cup of tea, then book a slot online. It’s free and there’s a wealth of knowledge to indulge in, so it’s really a win-win situation.
BFI Reuben Library
Located in Southbank Centre, BFI Reuben is a treasure trove for film students who are looking to delve deeper into the medium. With free WiFi, ample sockets, research terminals and plenty of reference books, The Edwin Fox Foundation Reading Room is a great space to settle down and really focus your efforts.
The Community Space
If coffee shops offer too many distractions, but you find libraries too quiet, then Goldilocks, trying a community space might be just right. Filled with fellow students and working professionals hotdesking, you can expect to find your zone in one the following:
Not just another bookshop, the Foyles on Charing Cross Road houses a cafe on the fifth floor that’s perfect for a study session. With free WiFi, great snacks and coffee to refuel you whilst revising, you’ll be able to take in a view of Soho from a quiet vantage point – that is if you manage to bag a window seat. Besides, what better way to soak up knowledge than surrounded by all of those books?
Using Google to study can now be about more than just a search bar. You’ll find the Google Campus smack-bang in the heart of London and it’s home to an entire floor of dedicated working and studying space. Naturally, the WiFi comes gratis and you simply have to register online to book yourself what is, quite honestly, a very comfortable chair. In addition to a chic alternative space to study and a cafe to refuel, the campus also offers events that might be useful for networking.
A great cultural hub, Southbank Centre is also a great alternative to libraries or your own four walls. Find a spot to sit down with your laptop or if you’d prefer to do without the distraction, head to the Queen Elizabeth Cafe to go over notes in what is deemed a gadget-free zone. When you’re ready for a break, you can enjoy what the centre has to offer with a takeaway coffee in hand or venture out to enjoy views of the Thames as you grab something to eat from any one of the food trucks.
The Common E2
As a cafe, architecture design studio and co-working space, The Common E2 has been a favourite among freelancers and students since opening its doors back in 2014. Secure a seat near the window to enjoy natural light or tuck yourself away in the back to avoid distractions and take advantage of the free WiFi and exceptional coffee – you might even want to treat yourself to one of their all-day-brunches.
Let’s be honest, English weather isn’t always the most predictable and what might start off as a sunny morning, could easily turn into a less-than-pleasant afternoon. If you’re feeling adventurous though, why not soak in the sunshine and take your studying outdoors? Remember to always pack a brolly though.
Set in the heart of London, Hyde Park covers over 350 acres and is considered one of the eight royal parks. With all that space, it would be hard not to find a patch that you could commandeer for a couple of hours. The lack of WiFi will be great for anyone looking to shake off distractions, and what could be better than taking in the beautiful sights this park has to offer when you’re taking a breather. There are various refreshment points and cafes too, so you’ll have everything you need right there with you.
Dalston Roof Park
And speaking of views, we bet you didn’t know about the Dalston Roof Park? Idyllic, this little oasis is set on, you guessed it, a rooftop overlooking the streets of Dalston. If you want to be surrounded by greenery without necessarily being a nature person, this could be the spot for you, because the grass is fake, even though the surrounding planters are very real. Unlike our other recommendations, this one isn’t free, but the yoga, live music and other events will more than make up for the £3 summer subscription fee.
Between Queen Mary’s and The Avenue Gardens, Regent’s Park has plenty to please the eye and put you in a relaxed mood for revision. Without WiFi, you can really get involved in your notes and when you’re ready to stretch your legs, you’ll be able to find snacks and drinks from vendors at various refreshment points or at any one of the many cafes dotted around the park. The Boathouse Cafe on The Boating Lake near Hanover Gate is especially beautiful and, depending on how your studies are going, you might even find yourself hiring a pedalo after.
Keats House Garden
Literature students might be especially drawn to this particular outdoor option. Settle down in the garden of Romantic poet John Keats’ former house and get lost in your work as you reflect on all the London legend did and how you intend to follow in similar footsteps. You can also enter the house at a price if you’d like to be further inspired.
How to find quiet places to study in London? We hope that with this list the task might not seem as daunting. Each of the above-mentioned options offer value in a different way and if you’re unsure of which study method works well for you, try them all to see what sticks. Happy studying.