Independent Coffee Shops

Freelancing is great, isn’t it? Don’t have to get up early for ‘the man’, don’t have to travel during rush hour because of ‘the man’, don’t have to go to an office – the establishment has no hold over you.

Yes, the joy of sleeping in and working from home seems complete – that is, until you realise the myriad distractions your living space provides for you, and discover the sad fact that the comfort of typing in bed does not lead to greater efficiency, but to a greater chance of napping. Also, endless tea making breaks. Endless.

When your abode won’t let you focus, you need to try a change of space, and London is full of places for the office-free individual to plant themselves and be productive: whether they need noise, bustle, silence or proximity to some stunning sights to really get to work. Here are those spots if you’re a London freelancer…


A favourite of the artsy and the students, this small tea-chain has a quietly buzzing atmosphere, delicious tea and a lovely variety of cakes to graze on. If you’re the sort of person who benefits from having a friend work alongside you (and you have a freelancer buddy ready), this is a lovely place to settle down together. Grab some comfortable chairs and remember to occasionally cheer one another one.

They do sandwiches too, if you’re in there for the long-haul.

The British Library

A favourite of students and impressive-looking academic sorts. The British Library’s reading rooms have a wonderfully intense studious atmosphere, probably provided by the force of so much concentrated learning, with all those fellow visitors busily reading away. They are an amazing resource for research, with so many, many books that you can access (70 minutes after ordering them), and if you like working in libraries, by gum, it’s the mothership of all libraries.

I personally love their desks, and the knowledge of so many close-by strangers being ever so productive. The only thing to bear in mind is they get very, very busy around exam season.

In general, good for lengthy freelancing.

National Theatre

Perhaps you’re the dramatic type, and naturally drawn to theatres. This one in particular has a great vibe: there’s hustle and bustle of a cafe, but also the proximity to creative venture, which may help inspire you. As a bonus, when you need a break or to take a walk to clear your mind, the South Bank is just outside. Good for long-ish sessions (requiring changes of scenery).

If you’re based in West London, the Lyric Theatre is another publically-owned space with a fantastic hubub and a convenient cafe to provide you with caffeine-inspiration.

Prufrock Coffee

This place has it all: chic interiors, a name that’s a literary reference and some fine, fine coffee to get you through any number of freelance crises. Another cafe where you are unlikely to hear any screaming babies, but very likely to find yourself amidst the hum of cool caffeine-drinkers. Good for short, creative bursts of work.

Follow Laura on twitter: @LauraTheRealGi

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