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 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 Othership, 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
- Hart Shoreditch
- Husk Creative & Coffee
- The Southbank Center
- Sloane Place
- Mama Shelter
- The Candlemaker
- Smiths of Smithfield
1. 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.
2. Hart Shoreditch by Hilton
Hart Shoreditch Hotel London, Curio Collection by Hilton is in the heart of stylish Shoreditch, home to art festivals, vintage boutiques, markets, and an abundance of international restaurants. The hotel architecture nods to the local area, with details such as a striking wrought iron and copper staircase hinting at the area’s rich industrial heritage. The lobby weaves together East London’s industrious and artisan history with the brand’s Arabic roots.
For now, you will find the space quiet to work from during the day, with a few other coworkers to keep you company. But be aware this new secret workspace is likely to become the next Ace Hotel so make sure you get in there now before it explodes.
As we all know, pretty tables and chairs don’t always make a great workspace. What really pushes this venue to number two for us is the great service from the ever-friendly staff.
3. 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.
4. 21Soho – Soho
If you ever want to see how to design a space that seamlessly moves between a free coworking space and an ulterior function, then check out 21Soho. This huge open space, full of natural light and luscious tropical indoor planting, is quickly becoming popular with London’s community of creatives and startups. The secondary function of this venue as one of Londons comedy club even adds to the overall benefit as a workspace meaning we put Soho21 in our top 5. The reason for this is the large stage and seating area also make for a top event space while the seated area can be used for break out sessions or a quick check of the email.
5. 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. artFix – Greenwich
If you have been in London for a while, or even a day you have probably visited Greenwich. You likely took in the sights with the Greenwich observatory, the Queen’s House, Royal Naval College and even the Cutty Sark on display outside Greenwich Market. The bit you may have missed though is the exquisitely located artFix cafe, playing it’s chilled out beats to the open quad adjacent to the covered market. What’s really clever is behind the cafe space and outdoor speakers is an area dedicated to coworking that is noise-free yet still has the warmth and would of the cafe.
George the owner is a dab hand at the coworking cafe game though as he runs a second space in Woolwich. Here you will find artists painting and sculpting in the highstreet frontage, while others work from their laptops in the cafe and coworking areas. We recommend both these venues as shining examples of well-run businesses that truly bring the heart to a community, but Greenwich pips it for us as it sits as a shining independent star against the more established brands that can be found on every high street.
7. 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!
8. Mama Shelter – South Hackney
The Mama Shelter brand has channeled her inner-cool and set up a home from home in the capital’s hip East! With a playfully designed restaurant, garden bar, and Japanese-style karaoke rooms, Mama will both spoil and inspire you in a handy settling, close to Bethnal Green underground and a hop away from South Hackney.
With two large meeting rooms and a vast lobby, there are plenty of places to work and gather. And since working should be fun too, so there is also a couple of karaoke rooms where you can sing your heart out.
9. The Candlemaker – Cannon Street
If you are living within a 5 minute walk of a station then you may be the type of person which is all about 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.
10. 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 one of 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 a dedicated coworking space. Here there is more a lounge-style feel, with windows looking out 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 Othership to see our range of free & unique workspaces.