Best free WiFi in London

Alex Yau
May 12, 2015

Whether you’re a tourist who needs to find the best route to iconic landmarks, or an office worker who needs to fire off an important finance report during lunch; a good WiFi signal is crucial to ensuring you stay connected around central London. Most cafes offer free WiFi, but London’s rammed with hundreds of them, which makes the task of finding a cafe with WiFi as good as its coffee harder than it sounds.

But there’s some good news: you needn’t experience the frustration of unstable WiFi connections in London again. From independent cafes to large chains; we went all around central London to find cafes that offer the best free WiFi. Alongside testing the WiFi’s strength, speed and ease of connectivity, we looked at the comfort, ambience and quality of service each cafe offered. These are 12 of the best free WiFi hotspots in central London.

WiFi hotspots: The Hoxton

Nearest tube station: Holborn

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The Hoxton was the best cafe we tested. Connecting to its superfast WiFi was instant and required no fiddly registration process. It was one of only two cafes we tested that offered friendly table service. Despite coming during the lunchtime rush, we found comfy seating easily and could chat without raising our voices.

WiFi hotspots: Eat

Nearest tube station: Tottenham Court Road

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Connecting to the WiFi was easy and required few registration details. Although we managed to find a seat, the cafe’s size meant we had to squeeze up with others at a table; which could be a bit uncomfortable during busier hours. Major construction works outside did make our experience slightly grating.

WiFi hotspots: Pret a Manger

Nearest tube station: Leicester Square

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Not one for you if you’re after some peace and quiet. Pret a Manger was rammed with tourists, which you’d probably expect from one of London’s busiest areas. Despite that, registering to the WiFi was quick, easy and we had no problems with slow-loading web pages or videos.

WiFi hotspots: Scandinavian Kitchen

Nearest tube station: Oxford Circus

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ScandiKitchen’s WiFi was stable and quick throughout our experience and the options to register via Facebook, email or Instagram offered easy access. Upstairs was packed and no available seating was visible. Downstairs is less rammed, but the quiet seating area was ruined by cushioned benches falling apart, and its close proximity to the cafe’s toilets and stock room.

WiFi hotspots: Costa

Nearest tube station: Covent Garden

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Although the WiFi was decent and easy to connect to, the opposite could be said about the cafe’s comfort. It was hard to find an available seat and there was very little room to navigate through the cramped space.

WiFi hotspots: Starbucks

Nearest tube station: Covent Garden

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This Starbucks was rammed with people and it took us 10 minutes before we were able to get a drink. We had to do a fair bit of wandering around before finding a seat downstairs. Getting onto the WiFi was a little confusing, too, as there was no indicator telling us if we had connected to it or not.

WiFi hotspots: McDonalds

Nearest tube station: Kings Cross

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Not the best place for comfort. We had to share a table with a complete stranger because it was so busy. Any hope of peace and quiet was ruined by screaming children, whilst an unpleasant smell lingered in the air. The WiFi was the only redeeming feature and we had no issues loading videos or web pages.

WiFi hotspots: Joe & The Juice

Nearest tube station: Oxford Circus

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The incessant whirring of juice blenders and loud thumping house music created a soundtrack that gave us a bit of a headache during our time here. This wasn’t helped by the unstable WiFi connection that, although strong and quick, cut out after five minutes of logging in.

WiFi hotspots: Pod

Nearest tube station: Old Street

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The WiFi here was slightly invasive and required us to check into the cafe on Facebook before connecting. It also struggled to buffer YouTube clips quickly, so not one if you want to watch videos. The atmosphere was what you’d expect from a large chain; a bit bland with little character.

WiFi hotspots: Appestat

Nearest tube station: Angel

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A quiet, cozy cafe that was otherwise ruined by its bad WiFi connection. Despite multiple attempts, we had no luck connecting to the cafe’s WiFi. When we told the staff about the problem, they provided no solution other than rebooting the router. We still couldn’t connect after they tried this.

WiFi hotspots: Fleet River Bakery

Nearest tube station: Holborn

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A similar story with this otherwise comfortable cafe. Registering for Fleet River Bakery’s WiFi was long winded and required far too many details. After making it through the process, we still couldn’t connect to the WiFi. The staff offered no answers other than telling us their WiFi was temperamental.

WiFi hotspots: Burger King

Nearest tube station: Leicester Square

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Burger King comes bottom of our table for its poor WiFi and uncomfortable atmosphere. We couldn’t connect to the WiFi and our experience was made even worse by the long wait times for food, difficulty finding decent seats and headache-inducing noise coming from the large crowds in the restaurant.


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