The best free workspaces in London
Many of us are seeking the flexibility and freedom of remote working without being tied down to fixed term memberships. The rise of free workspaces is starting to accommodate for much of the needs of this growing community of digital nomads, entrepreneurs and freelancers. Having done our fair bit of working from coffee shops, cafes, hotels, public and coworking spaces as we launched WeCoffee, we decided to let you know some of our favourites.
Below are 10 of the best free spaces to cowork from in London, measured on atmosphere, community, location, and noise levels.
- New Road Hotel
- The Exhibitionist Hotel
- Husk Creative & Coffee
- The Southbank Center
- Sloane Place
- Ace Hotel
- The Candlemaker
- Serata Hall
- Point A
- Smiths of Smithfield
10. New Road Hotel – Aldgate East
At New Road Hotel you walk in from the bustling East End market shops of Whitechapel, made famous by Jack the Ripper, and are immediately welcomed by a stylish interior and smiling faces from reception. This hotel, owned by celebrity TV chef Marco Pierre White, is a secret jewel of East London, and only a short walk to Shoreditch and The City.
From a workspace perspective, New Road Hotel made the list not only for its beautiful design and oasis of style in a developing part of London but because it also offers a plethora of workspace solutions with an open lounge, semi-private area and exquisite kitchen styled meeting room adaptable to boardroom and theatre layouts.
The lounge area acts as a free workspace, adjacent to a cereal bar that has to be tried and restaurant in a large and open space well broken up to reduce noise. The semi-private workspace is in the hotel’s library area and comes with unlimited tea and coffee from its high end coffee machine for only £5 a day. Oh, and if you fancy a drink after work the bar staff can certainly whip you up a great cocktail during their 2 hour 50% off happy hour between 17:00 until 19:00.
9. The Exhibitionist – South Kensington
In the heart of South Kensington and hidden behind the walls of a large West London townhouse, The Exhibitionist Hotel is an aptly named hotel, and not due to the proximity of the nearby museums. The interior of this space is regularly updated with new works of art throughout the building. The recent Pink Panther theme encompassed the 6ft plus pieces of work in the dining room, the upper hallways and even the hot pink front door.
These artworks make The Exhibitionist an exciting place to stimulate the old grey matter and get inspired to do some creative work or impress while hosting an important client meeting. There is even a highly affordable, mirrored meeting room with a skylight to escape for an hour and have guaranteed privacy for a Skype call, interview or team review.
8. Husk Creative & Coffee – Limehouse
Husk Creative & Coffee is a charity run space that provides a hubbub of vibrant life thanks to its open-door policy, community spirit and fantastic cafe offering fairly priced vegetarian food and barista coffee from their classic La Mazocco machine. Meeting rooms can be available on request, and there is no booking schedule for a workspace so make sure you turn up nice and early but you will be pleasantly surprised by a great atmosphere, good desk space a charming cafe that you’re looking for.
7. The Southbank Centre – Waterloo
This space is hardly a secret, and hence was why it was one of the first spaces that we used as a free workspace. However, the ability to bring your own food into a workspace can be a huge advantage for the daily digital nomad that finds themselves spending too much on their flexible fun but sometimes overly decadent lifestyle.
The WiFi is plenty fast enough but there is a huge shortage of plugs so make sure you get in early or turn up with some charge already. The real trick here is to get a membership to Southbank Centre and use the members’ area, but we have heard that this is starting to be frowned upon.
6. Sloane Place – Chelsea
For those who get inspired by the success of other entrepreneurs, social media influencers and general darlings of society there’s nowhere that oozes this more than Sloane Place, just meters from Sloane Square yet far enough to contain the dukes and dames as opposed to the regular mass of tourists. Sloane Place is deceptively large, where on first sight it is a small cafe it is actually part of a larger hotel and has a decadent cocktail bar area with two large booths regularly used for networking brunch events. There is also a raised table for those who like to sit higher while working, a lounge-style area and a large event space within the hotel.
Sloane Place is a little more expensive than some of the aforementioned workspaces and less vibrant with other coworkers, but as a place to have a pot of tea, luxury lunch and feel special while blasting through the workday on barista coffee then this is the place to go!
5. Ace Hotel – Hackney
This hotel was one of the original staples for digital nomads and freelancers seeking a cool and vibrant work atmosphere. Now packed with coworkers on a daily basis we recommend taking a set of headphones with you if you need to get down and focus, just make sure they are trendy enough to fit in. Where the Ace Hotel is perfect is for networking with creative freelancers and entrepreneurs, especially as it turns to drinking hour and the coffees get exchanged for a refreshing espresso martini.
4. The Candlemaker – Cannon Street
If you living in within a 5 minute walk of a station then you may be the type of person which is all location, location location. If that’s the case, or as like me you live on the train line into Cannon Street, then this extravagantly laid out bar, complete with large booths will be for you. Literally, a stone’s throw from Cannon Street station it’s perfectly located to access the rest of the city at will.
I like to sit in the corner booth in the front so I can watch the busy street while feeling like I have my own office when hosting meetings. The comfy and stylish sofas along with oversized anglepoise lamps would even make a perfect reception area. The food isn’t exquisite but is certainly hearty and the staff are always very welcoming having booked a space for me with good power access and in my booth when possible.
3. Serata Hall – Old Street
Located immediately next to Old Street roundabout and tube station, this huge venue has been designed with coworking at its essences. This is shown by the very fact they offer monthly and weekly memberships with unlimited tea & tea coffee. The venue immediately impacts you due to the openness both in the floor plan and the height of the ceilings. There is a mezzanine floor popular with coworkers who seek a more intimate space but on first arrival I personally like to absorb the light and admire the plants and space while plugging in the laptop, grabbing a coffee and getting on with work.
For those who don’t know Old Street roundabout is also referred to as Silicon Roundabout due to the growth of tech-based businesses and startups that have been attracted to the area. Therefore if you want to grab a slice of the scene and see which tech founders you might bump into then head down to Old Street and check out Serata Hall and a bunch of other cool workspaces in the area.
2. Point A – Liverpool Street
Another hotel making our top ten list, Point A Liverpool Street is probably the best of the Point A hotels to work from in London due to the large community of other respectful flexible workers who cowork from here. The space is also especially well laid out for remote working with plenty of plugs, good WiFi (just avoid the AndCo one if you don’t want a tonne of adverts), and tables of different heights.
Point A Liverpool Street also manages to have another little gem. As you know the team at WeCoffee love not just free workspaces but ones that are unique, and the huge floral garden, complete with table tennis table in the summer makes this venue hit our top 10. We also love the fact that as members of our own service we get a free coffee every time we work there! Who doesn’t love a free coffee?
1. Smiths of Smithfield – Farringdon
Smiths of Smithfield is a fantastic venue, covering four floors there is always an atmosphere to work from whatever the task at hand, making it the best of our free workspaces. The ground floor is an American themed warehouse bar with high ceilings, exposed concrete and a range of high and low tables to work from and dine. The second floor is now becoming a dedicated coworking space from January 2020, hosted by the WeCoffee team as we love this space so much. The 2nd floor has more a lounge-style feeling to it, with windows looking ut at Smithfield market and two large meeting rooms available to hire.
The top two floors offer restaurant space and a balcony with a view to die for across this historic part of London. If your only in London for a day and want to check out the coworking scene this is the venue for you.
So what next?
If you’re new to London’s coworking scene or just looking for something a little more special than the average commercial chain offering coworking then head over to WeCoffee to see our range of free and unique workspaces.