The Best Cafes and Libraries in London for Studying

10th December 2023 Nat Took London Life, Study

Sometimes you just need a change of scenery when you’re studying. A different location can do wonders for clearing those cobwebs if you find yourself getting distracted in your student room. Or maybe you’re looking for somewhere for a group study session. It may be tempting to find somewhere outside to study, but with English weather, this isn’t always possible (and not even worth considering in the winter!) So, we’ve put together a list of our favourite cafes and libraries in London for studying. Whether you’re looking for a quiet space for solo study or a quirky café with great coffee for some group work, you’re sure to find a new favourite on our list.

The Best Cafes to Study in London

London has numerous cafes and coffee shops to study in. If you need a caffeine hit, want to find a quirky café for a group discussion, or need a secluded corner, there are plenty of coffee shops to suit your needs. We’ve looked for cafes with good Wi-Fi, lots of power ports and good coffee for all your studying needs. Here are our five top cafes to study in London:

1. Redemption Roasters

One of the most popular chains across London, Redemption Roasters has a reputation for great coffee and a work-friendly atmosphere in their locations. There are now 10 shops across the city including Covent Garden, King’s Cross, Holborn, and Bloomsbury, making it super easy to grab a spot from any urbanest location. Plus, they’re open until 6pm every day, making it one of the best places for an all-day session.

2. Origin Coffee

With two locations in Shoreditch and Southwark, Origin Coffee is cosy and modern, and easy to get to when you need an escape from your usual spots. Open until 5pm at the weekends, don’t forget to treat yourself to one of their fresh pastries or delicious brunch options.

cup of tea in a mug, on a saucer with a biscotti next to it. It is a view from above with a book nearby on a blue surface, with a plant next to it.

3. Secret Frog

A less-known gem nearest to our City postgraduate accommodation, the Secret Frog is an independent coffee shop that is perfect for quiet study. It has free Wi-Fi and a relaxed atmosphere, ideal for a study session.

This quirky little place is coffee-lovers heaven, so if you need a caffeine boost whilst you study, this is the place for you. Whatever coffee you prefer, you can get it here, whether you prefer a frothy cappuccino or just a black filter coffee. They also have nutritious tea, smoothies, and juices on the menu, plus healthy breakfasts and lunches. There’s also a loyalty scheme with this café, so if you study here often you can get rewarded with free coffee.

4. FWD:Coffee

A ten-minute walk from urbanest Hoxton is FWD:Coffee, a coffee shop that provides an open and creative social space. Find fresh, yummy breakfast and lunch options alongside their bespoke coffee blend that is sure to be the star of the show for coffee lovers, or give something different a try with their popular iced matcha latte. Whether you go for a group study session or solo, it’s a comfy, inviting spot that will soon be a favourite.

Two coffees and a book. Both coffees feature latte art, and all of these are resting on an aged wooden table.

5. The Pear Tree Cafe

Located in Battersea Park just minutes from urbanest Battersea, and with a sister spot in Clapham Common, The Pear Tree Cafe is exactly what you need for fresh air and sunshine without sacrificing precious working hours. Sit beside the boating lake (if the weather is good) or huddle inside on colder, wetter days. Be sure to grab a coffee and some fries, and look out for the magnificent herons that live around the lake!

Best Libraries in London to Study in

If you need more resources and a quiet place to study, London has a wealth of libraries at your disposal. If you are inspired by books or beautiful buildings, there’s a library to suit you. Here are our five favourite libraries for studying in London:

books on curving shelf

6. British Library

With over 150 million items, the British Library makes a great study space. Here, you will find one of the world’s greatest book collections and many historic items, such as the Magna Carta. There’s plenty of space in this library, with four floors and a capacity of 1,200, so there’ll be no fighting for a study space, and you’re sure to find a quiet corner if that’s what you need.

It’s just a 20-minute walk from urbanest St Pancras, and with free Wi-Fi, lots of different study areas, and cafes on-site, you can easily spend all day studying here. The library is free to enter, but you do have to apply for a reader pass. To do this you just need to demonstrate why you’re using the library.

An additional note: water bottles and bags must be dropped off at the cloakroom, and you’re only allowed pencils for writing.

7. Victoria and Albert

The National Art Library, at the Victoria and Albert Museum, will give you access to not only study spaces but also one of the world’s largest museums of applied and decorative art and design. It’s just 15 minutes on the tube from urbanest Victoria and is the ultimate destination for UaL students as you have so many resources at hand here.

This is a beautiful library to study in, and it’s free to become a member. Although it is a popular location and does attract tourists, it manages to stay quiet. If you need to seriously concentrate on your work, this is a great spot to study.

National Art Library

8. Barbican Library

Found on the second floor of the Barbican Centre, this library is split into two levels. There are historical books and a study area on the upper floor, and a music zone on the lower. Just a few minutes away from Moorgate station, it’s a quick trip for those staying at urbanest City, but the Barbican is one of the must-visit spots for everyone staying in London.

There’s no charge to enter the Barbican Library and use the facilities, and the Wi-Fi is fast and free. This library is also in a great location. Plus, if you need a break, there are plenty of cafes nearby, or you can explore the Barbican Centre and its museum exhibits.

9. The BFI Reuben Library

Found on the South Bank, a leisurely stroll down the river from urbanest Westminster Bridge, the British Film Institute houses the Rueben Library. It’s free to enter, but you will have to fill out a registration card to access the study spaces. At least you can be sure that the general public won’t be wandering in your study space and potentially distracting you.

Being part of the BFI, there’s a vast collection of film and television resources, including digitalised materials from the National Archives. But even if your subject isn’t in this niche, the Reuben Library still makes a great choice for studying.

10. Wandsworth Library

Just 10 minutes on the bus from urbanest Battersea, this local library may not be as grand as others on the list but it’s the perfect place to hunker down and get some work done. Sign up for free and you can book private rooms, request books and resources, and join activities like a book club, language classes, and poetry evenings. Find out more from the Wandsworth Library.

Study Spaces in London

There are plenty of spaces to study in London, whether you need somewhere quiet to get your head down, or somewhere for a group discussion. The above are just our favourites, but there’s plenty more to try out. London is full of cafes and libraries where you can study, which is one of the reasons the capital of the UK makes a great city to go to University.

Looking for somewhere to stay whilst you study in London? Check out our student accommodation.

Nat Took

Nat Took

For more great posts from Urbanest about accommodation, London life, study tips and much more, visit the Student Journal.