Where to find free wi-fi in London

Who says nothing comes for free? Time Out crosses London to find the pubs, bars, cafés and restaurants that offer free wifi, as well as some free wifi hotspots

  • Photo for Hat and Tun

    Hat and Tun

    3 Hatton Wall, EC1N 8HX (020 7242 4747/ www.thehatandtun.com).

    Log on and tuck in to the solidly English gastrogrub in this Victorian boozer – it’s part of the Martin Brothers family of pubs (which includes the Prince Arthur in Hackney and the Empress of India near Victoria Park).

  • 5th View

    5th floor, Waterstone's, 203-206 Piccadilly, St James's, W1J 9HA (020 7851 2468/ www.5thview.co.uk).

    Finished surfing? Give your eyes a screen break and treat them to some spectacular views across the capital from this upmarket seafood and cocktail bar and café on the fifth floor of Europe’s largest bookshop. Read more

  • The Social

    5 Little Portland St, London, W1W 7JD (020 7636 4992/ www.thesocial.com).

    The Social, spawn of the legendary Heavenly Social club night held at Turnmills in the 1990s, has been a haven from the horrors of Oxford Street for a decade. Free wi-fi is available in the top bar where you can nestle in the diner-style booths and indulge in such homely comforts as pie and mash or fish finger sandwiches. Beers include Hoegaarden and Kronenbourg; the cocktail list features exotic creations such as a cucumber martini. In evening live music is a regular fixture, so it’s probably not the place to hold your business meeting. Read more

  • Scandinavian Kitchen

    61 Great Titchfield St, W1W 7PP (020 7580 7161/ www.scandikitchen.co.uk).

    Quirky café and deli serving delicious Swedish open sandwiches, gravadlax, herrings, meatballs and the Danish ‘red hotdog’, apparently the Vikings’s favourite snack. In the spirit of Scandinavian egalitarianism there is a fair usage policy, so in other words you shouldn’t abuse their good will by sitting there all day and not buying anything (and yes, that means you will be frowned upon if you nurse a single cup of coffee through the lunchtime rush). Read more

  • The Diner

    16-18 Ganton St, W1F 7BU (020 7287 8962/ www.thedinersoho.com).

    This is the place to come for the open-access wi-fi washed down with American fast food. The all-day breakfast of pancakes, omelettes and Mexican treats is more than enough to power you through a three-hour Facebook-athon. Read more

  • Hawksmoor

    157 Commercial St, E1 6BJ (020 7247 7392/ www.thehawksmoor.com).

    Given there can often be a dearth of pews to pull up in this debonair steakhouse and cocktail bar, you might prefer a branch of Coffee Republic for setting up your mobile office for the day, but if you are happy perching on a barstool, have a penchant for saucy cocktails and highly acclaimed slices of beef, then this is the wi-fi place for you. Read more

  • Hummus Bros

    88 Wardour St, W1F OTJ (020 7734 1311/ www.hbros.co.uk).

    A temple to chickpeas, Hummus brothers serves, erm, houmous, with a wide variety of toppings and wedges of warm pitta bread. There is open wi-fi access but this is essentially a busy fast-food restaurant so avoid lingering at peak times. There’s another branch on Southampton Row. Read more

  • Photo for Camera Café

    Camera Café

    44 Museum St, WC1 (020 7831 1566/ www.cameracafe.co.uk).

    The idiosyncratic Camera Café brings a touch of Parisian eccentricity to London. The front of the café is a shop with cabinets jam packed with second-hand cameras: anything from beautiful old Leicas to restored Hasselblads. In the back is a small but cosy café. French music is played and the walls are covered with photographs hung at jaunty angles. All the juices come freshly squeezed and the Thai food is excellent.

  • Bedford & Strand

    1a Bedford St, WC2E 9HH (020 7836 3033/ www.bedford-strand.com).

    You’ll encounter lawyers tapping furiously on their laptops at lunchtimes at this elegant wine bar-cum-bistro in a basement off the Strand. Choose from the wine categories of ‘Honest’, ‘Decent’, ‘Good’, and ‘Staff Picks’. For eats, order from the respectable, if slightly unimaginative, à la carte menu. Read more

  • Eagle Bar Diner

    3-5 Rathbone Place, W1T 1HJ (020 7637 1418/ www.eaglebardiner.com).

    It’s probably best to avoid this place during lunchtimes if you’re planning on stretching a Budweiser out over an afternoon’s worth of email catch-up – it gets quite busy. Otherwise it’s a perfect place for a big burger and fries washed down with a mammoth milkshake. Read more

  • Joe Allen

    13 Exeter St, WC2E 7DT (020 7836 0651/ www.joeallen.co.uk).

    This restaurant opened in 1977 and has been a popular haunt of the theatre crowd and tourists alike. The menu changes daily and might include such dishes as slow-cooked pork or corn-fed chicken breasts. Read more

  • Shampers

    4 Kingly Street, Soho, W1B 5PE (020 7437 1692/ www.shampers.net).

    Shampers is a lively, no-nonsense place that serves British food and wallet-friendly wine and Champagne. It gets very busy at lunch and dinner times, and it’s hard to imagine a lone internet surfer hogging a table. Nevertheless, the manager is very happy to hand out the wi-fi code to anyone who asks. Read more

  • Zetter

    86-88 Clerkenwell Rd, EC1M 5RJ (020 7324 4455/ www.thezetter.com).

    In the heart of Clerkenwell, Zetter (a boutique hotel), is the place to head if you’re in search of comfort and style. Your fellow surfers will probably be monied sophisticates from the neighbourhood who are there for the weekend brunches and elegant setting. Read more

  • Café at Foyles

    113-119 Charing Cross Rd, WC2H 0EB (020 7440 3207/ www.foyles.co.uk).

    Fresh juices, healthy salads, top-notch sandwiches, Monmouth coffee, plenty of seating, jazz on the soundsystem... the café in Foyles provides a buzzy environment in which to wile away the afternoon surfing the web. If you tire of digital reading, pop downstairs to buy an old-fashioned book. Read more

Map | Central | North | East | South | West | Chains | Hotspots

Users say

81 comments
Rachael
Rachael

Karpo Euston Road (opposite King's Cross St Pancras) 3 floors of free Wifi

JR192
JR192

Gareth, Click the 'map' button to see the map of restaurants smart arse

Gareth
Gareth

This is a pointless article without a map. You're in Islington, you don't know your way round, and do you want to slog through a list of restaurants and bars you have no clue you're anywhere near or not? And no-one is going to bore themselves through the comments/suggestions left here, anymore than they're going to pay any attention to this comment. Tedious 'trendy' magazine. *snores*

M
M

The Rose and Crowne in Waltham'stow Hoe Street

blair mackenzie
blair mackenzie

Alwyne Castle in Highbury has free wi-fi in their garden!

robert chewter
robert chewter

most public libraries run a free wifi service..btw watch out for the bt openzone scam everyone , where they try and get you to pay up for wifi 'service' which includes tapping into a domestic users internet access...

Ryan
Ryan

The Duchess Pub at 101 Battersea Park Road, SW8 has free wifi. Great choice of ales and good food menu too - especially their home made burgers.

robert chewter
robert chewter

oops! i see skype are charging for wifi access now, lets hope it doesnt catch on or free wifi will be history...

Robert Chewter
Robert Chewter

The HOB pub in Forest Hill SE London has free wifi ..ive used it its ok..theres even a belkin open spot near there,, catford library has free wifi as does dulwich library...btw watch out for this scam..BT openzone charge you for using wifi..even when its 'borrowed ' from someones net access and boy do they charge i had a bill for over £45 !!! please ignore the BT openzone site !!!!

Ben
Ben

Tate modern is a brilliant and inspiring location with free wifi

Sarah
Sarah

Does any one know of any nice places more towards South west London eg Kingston, Wimbledon, Morden. thanks

Jenny
Jenny

A great pub called the Cumberland Arms at the end of Northend Road near West Kensington / Barons Court / Hammersmith has free wifi too. Fantastic ales and food and also a great cappuccino for £2.50. Not the cheapest pub you'll find but staff is very friendly and won't make a fuss even if you spend all day there with just a coffee. Highly recommend this place.

Jan
Jan

WalkIn WiFi is also free and you only have to register once. Go to their website to see pub with WalkIn :) Kennedys 297 Caledonian Road N1 1EG have WalkIn

Clare
Clare

anyone know of any nice outside spaces near Camberwell/Peckham that are wifi?

Phil Davison
Phil Davison

Sarah, If you sign up to The Cloud in McDog it is free and you can then use The Cloud anywhere where it is used to supply the free WiFi. That includes Wetherspoon (I am posting this from a JDW pub) and some other pubs. The Green Man at Great Portland Street uses The Cloud and is part of a chain so all of theirs are likely to be OK as well. Phil.

Sarah
Sarah

Hello, can anyone tell me, if I sign up to the cloud to use the wifi at mcdonalds or anwhere that has the cloud. Do I need to sign up for a contract and pay them. Not sure.

Kate
Kate

Barossa in Parsons Green is a great Australian cafe with free wifi

Nigel from New Zealand
Nigel from New Zealand

I'm back in the Antipodes for the rest of this year. On Wellington Waterfront (between Queen's Wharf and Te Papa Museum) there is free wi-fi sponsored by TradeMe, the local equivalent of E-bay. There is talk of extending the free wi-fi across central Wellington by the time of the Rugby World Cup (in September and October). Seventeen miles from Wellington, the Upper Hutt Public Library has free wi-fi for up to four hours/day, though Wellington Public Library charges for that way of accessing information.

Andra
Andra

Maybe there is free wifi around Valentines park?

Jan
Jan

Kennedys, 297 Caledonian Road, Islington. N1 1EG, now have free WiFi. WalkIn WiFi - free to register and all it means is you get a newsletter once a month from the pub about special offers and events. Google Kennedy's Caledonian Road for their website.

robert chewter
robert chewter

am looking for free wifi hotspots in SE London Forest Hill, Brockey area...anyone got any suggestions?

robert chewter
robert chewter

are there any free wifi hotspots in se london ie forest hill brockley way?

Nigel from New Zealand
Nigel from New Zealand

When I do on-line banking, that's through websites that have extra layers of security. (Matching pictures or clicking on a missing letter in a secret word.) As far as I know, St Pancras hasn't compromised my bank account (if I've done any banking from there). On 11 January St Pancras's Security Certificate expired and my laptop didn't want to use St Pancras's wi-fi for several days. (I guess it's up to date now.) I found another totaly free hot spot last week. It's at the Victoria Coach Station. (Some of the buses advertise free wi-fi but I haven't been on one of those yet.) (I'm now using a friend's internet connection in Wales.)

timeoutbluebell
timeoutbluebell

The list, and many of the comments, dont make clear that there is are 2 kinds of "free" wifi: password-secured, and totally unsecured. There's a big difference. If you buy something using totally unsecured free wifi, your password and financial info could be available to people preying on unsecured wifi users. The kind of wifi at St Pancras is totally unsecured- which is fine for general net surfing. But you definitely dont want to do internet banking while using that. And I personally wouldnt do any password-protected site, like email. The other kind-- like in public libraries, or anywhere where you're required to "sign in" (either with a password you make up, or with a password the cafe staff will give you on a piece of paper), is the password protected free wifi. This is more suitable for email, facebook, etc. But even these places suggest that you dont use it for internet banking or for making any purchases. It's irresponsible for Timeout not to note the difference between "free" wifi, and which kind is best for what kind of surfing.

Phil Davison
Phil Davison

@Nigel from New Zealand: If you only want the WiFi then I can see that you are going to buy something just to ensure you are a customer, so in that sense it wouldn't be free, but I go in Wetherspoons anyway and I don't pay any more for using the WiFi, so for me it is free. A lot of tourists go to McDog because it is cheap and you know roughly what you are going to get there (and some people actually like their stuff), so it helps with holiday budgets and once you are in there you can log on to The Cloud for nothing. Students use McDog for the same reason and because of that there are some which look like internet cafes at times. If you are going in there for the food then it doesn't cost any extra for the WiFi. In St Pancras International station you just log on. No need to buy anything, so that one really is free. Phill.

Nigel from New Zealand
Nigel from New Zealand

Hi Phil, Sure, you have to be there to access wi-fi. The point I was trying to make was that the establishments that supply "free" wi-fi expect me to spend money at them. That's especially clear if I need to ask for a password. On my way here from New Zealand I found free wi-fi at Perth Airport in Western Australia, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia, and at a hostel in Goreme, Turkey. Before I left New Zealand I had heard that by December free wi-fi was going to be available on part of Wellington city's harbour waterfront. And while I was in Midland, a city on the north side of Perth, I saw a notice that free wi-fi was available in the CBD. You could say that all the airports and cities expect people to spend money in them, so there's no such thing as a truly 'free wi-fi connection', but what I'm interested in finding is wi-fi with no explicit strings attached, which I expected when I read "...as well as some free wifi hotspots". Cheers, Nigel

Phil Davison
Phil Davison

@Nigel from New Zealand: Not sure exactly what your point is here. If you are a customer in a lot of places in London (e.g. McDog, Wetherspoon, Taylor Walker or Fuller's pubs, etc.) then you don't pay for using the WiFi there. I mentioned St Pancras International Station because you just have to be there to use it. When you go to those places the WiFi hotspot will just show up. In McDog or Wetherspoon (and Taylor Walker pubs I think) look for The Cloud. In St Pancras Station it is their own branded supply. In Fuller's pubs, ask behind the bar (you need a password for theirs). Hope this helps. Phil.

Nigel from New Zealand
Nigel from New Zealand

"Time Out crosses London to find the pubs, bars, cafés and restaurants that offer free wifi, as well as some free wifi hotspots" Okay, you've listed some pubs, bars, cafés and restaurants that offer free wifi but where are the free wifi hotspots?? Are you claiming credit for the mentions of St Pancras International Station and Westfield Shopping Centre in White City?

Jessica
Jessica

Your list does not include the fact that there is free wi-fi in Memorial Park, and the Grassroots Community Resource Centre in the Park 500 metres or so from West Ham underground station. The Park also has a spur onto the Greenway which leads to the Olympic Park

Marie
Marie

Thank you guys! This was really helpful!!

Trey
Trey

to Marie: Most of the good libraries are attached to universities and unless you have an arrangement with one of them, paid their sometimes exhorbitant fee, or are in a university that is part of their partnership scheme, they will not let you in, and even then wifi access may not be part of the package. Even so, most of them do not have good cafes. Something that you might look into is joining the British Library. Note that not everyone can join. But usually if you are undertaking academic research (such as writing a thesis) and can provide proof of your residence (it doesn't have to be in London, they just need a permanent address) you can usually get a membership varying between 1 and 3 years (for a Masters Thesis I would expect 1 year). They have free wifi, a great cafe in the building, plus a few decent ones around it, are easily accessible (just down from Kings Cross), and, as they are a copyright library, you can gain access to any document published in the UK since the British Library opened (taking between 1 hour and 72 hours to get, depending on the item). I would definitely look into that. The reading rooms are really nice places to study as they have strict guidelines regarding noise (and annoyingly about bringing in personal items).

Marie
Marie

Hi! Does anyone know about libraries with free wi-fi, that also has a cafe/are close to a cafe? I just moved to London, and are writing my master's thesis here, so I need to sit somewhere where I can take a cooffee break every now and then!

irina
irina

have just been at the Temperance pub - the WiFi works perfect, as well as the place itself. thumbs up!

Paul
Paul

Really cool, but it would be helpful if the reviews stated whether you can plug in (a real benefit of the British Library), and whether you can access VPNs - some free wifi doesn't.

MAhjor
MAhjor

Fleet River Bakery is exellent for wifi. I sit out side in the morning and get a good signal. Coffee onl £2.10 for a monmouth.

Orizu
Orizu

Fullers pubs have free wi-fi too. Just login and you're set.

Lalita_BritLibDisciple
Lalita_BritLibDisciple

Coffee at Peyton and Byrne is the worst £2.30 coffee I have ever tasted in my entire life. I am a low-budget coffee fan making coffee every morning with a humble Italian Bialetti Moka Express. I feel like I am cheated by all this misconception of 'good look' over 'good food'. Their food and pastries are very very average too. If you want something decent near Wellcome, just cross the road and buy coffee at Euston or go to UCL cafe for a decent cappucino for much less than 2 quid! Overpriced and average (with very bad and bitter coffee) are two words to describe this food chain that has successfully monopolized coffee&snack trade in museums and libraries across London.

Ricardo
Ricardo

Does anyone know any suitable outdoor/open working spaces in London with free wifi...

Vanessa
Vanessa

Brilliant site and posts! Does anyone by any chance know of a good spot for logging in and having your dog with you? I have a Cocker (unfortunately at times not a handbag dog..) and would love to be able to walk her and go straight to a nice place to do some work/ study rather than have to go straight home... Anywhere in London will do even if it is not that close to a park.

Phil Davison
Phil Davison

Mikee, the free wifi in McDonalds is fine. You connect through a wireless modem. If you are trying to connect through a T-Mobile dongle, you won't be connecting to The Cloud but to T-Mobile and will need to get a T-Mobile signal. I don't use a dongle at all. I just log on usng the wireless modem in my laptop and follow the instructions. In McDog or Wetherspoon you will be asked to register with The Cloud but it doesn't cost you anything. Once you have registered you can connect whenever you want without bothering with the dongle. Phil.

Mikee
Mikee

The wifi in London is one of the worst. I already bought two types of dongle- the T-Mobile USB dongle and the "Three" USB dongle. AT&T Dial-up is even better (at least it gives you 64Kbps) compared to these promising dongles. Besides its slow speed. I often get cut-off even if the signal is good. Its like using your laptop and via your mobile phone to connect to the internet. It gets connected the first time displaying a 3.6Mbps, but if I look at the actual speed panel... I am getting less than 2Kbps. I am actually in the sloane chelsea area. I even move to another hotel room where there are no barriers/possible interceptors. I once went Mc Donalds... it says free - connect for free. The problem was - I think Mc Donalds has this credit limit with the Wifi provider... and at that time wifi was unable. Starbucks has this card that you can buy but you need to register online to get a free wifi... Huh.... i miss home already

Phil Davison
Phil Davison

I don't think anyone has mentioned that St Pancras International station has free wifi pretty much throughout, except at the platforms. Certainly where all the shops and the bench seats are, Open your browser and follow the link. Just one click and no need to register or give an e-mail address etc. It's pretty quick as well most of the time. Phil.

Sarah
Sarah

Charlies Sandwich Bar on St Pauls Road near Highbury Corner has free wifi (and great Turkish Mezze too).

taige
taige

There are several ways to get internet abroad for your iPhone. There are four main ways (in order of recommendation): 1. Unlock your iPhone and buy a local sim card. Top up for internet. 2. Rent a local iPhone. Http://www.aziphone.com 3. Download a free wifi-finder app for where you’re going and try to pick up free wifi. 4. Call your mobile network to go on their travel roaming plan. Use data for emails mostly. This one might work for those bold enough. Rack up an inane amount of roaming charges upwards of $300 and then call your carrier afterwards. Be shocked and apologize. Ask it to be wiped out. I’ve heard stories of people having $600 being written off. more advice from http://azitravel.com/blog

Will
Will

This report is outdated and as commented, not a guide to free Wi-Fi but more a plug for a few chosen places. How about an update Time Out? If you include a guide to genuine free, good quality WiFi where users wont get kicked out after labouring over a coffee for two hours, I would really appreciate it for one!

nick
nick

the very nice hat and tun on hatton wall, near farringdon, has wi fi. you need a code from the bar but it's free. and it's a proper, open-fire-equipped pub, as well. i'm there now. lovely. :)

Piglicker
Piglicker

The Westfield shopping centre in White City has a free network with a good signal and plenty of comfy seats.

Angela
Angela

Thanks Ian, I am on my laptop with it plugged into the wall for power at departure! How brilliant! the staff is so kind and it's a creative based cafe/library which is great for me because I'm a designer :) Now I can work in peace!

FishFace72
FishFace72

Good work, Time Out, but I think Annie's excellent post proves that you could have tried harder.

Phil Davison
Phil Davison

Much as I dislike Starbucks, I have to back them up a bit here. They do have info on their web site about the WiFi they use. It is currently only available in Holborn and Chiswick in the London area. http://starbucks.co.uk/en-GB/_Card/Starbucks+Card+Rewards+Wi-Fi+Support.htm Phil.