If you’re in London for business these days, there are plenty of enticing alternatives to toiling away at the desk in your hotel room.
Cool co-working spaces have sprung up across the British capital, offering flexible options such as day passes and hot desks along with high-speed internet, Insta-worthy decor and superb locations within walking distance of bars, restaurants, galleries and markets, which is handy when you fancy a break from the hard graft. Here's some of the best co-working spaces in London if you need a spot to login or touch base on the go.
Occupying a converted warehouse in London’s East End, Collabor8Space is popular with freelancers and start-ups in the creative and media industries. It has an easy-going vibe and an industrial-chic look with exposed brick walls and sleek modern furniture. Showers, freshly ground coffee and even a Foosball table are among the perks and distractions abound on the doorstep, including The Dog & Truck, a pub renowned for its top-notch pies and pints, and the heritage-listed Wilton’s Music Hall, which dates back to 1859 and excels in eclectic entertainment from comedy to drama. The nearest Tube station is Aldgate East, which is a stone’s throw from contemporary arts hub Whitechapel Gallery and the cafe-and-curryhouse-lined Brick Lane.
Once dogged with a rough-and-ready reputation, Brixton has re-emerged as one of south London’s trendiest neighbourhoods over the past decade, in no small part thanks to Brixton Market - a complex of covered arcades strewn with cosmopolitan bars and restaurants. Within a few minutes' stroll from the market's myriad charms is Canova Hall, a multi-purpose venue that offers co-working facilities as well as food and drink options such as wood-oven pizzas and gin cocktails in a cavernous converted department store. Unlimited coffee and tea are included in the hot desk rates.
Don’t be confused by the name. This super-cool choice isn’t actually in Soho, but in Shoreditch, east London’s hippest neighbourhood. Set in the Tea Building (an iconic warehouse that used to store bacon, biscuits and tea), it’s open 24/7 and offers access to a kitchen, showers and lockers, a roof terrace and things such as craft workshops and meditation sessions. There is a catch: 'day lark' access is only available if you’re a member of Soho House, the private members’ club that has outposts across the globe (from London and Barcelona to Hollywood and New York). While Soho Works has an onsite cafe and bar, there is a slew of culinary temptations nearby, notably upscale Indian eatery Dishoom and Bull in a China Shop, where you can enjoy the likes of bao buns, rotisserie chicken marinated in Asian spices, ginger, yoghurt and whisky glaze; and more than 100 rare Scotch and Japanese whiskies.
Not just a budget-friendly, design-driven chain of hotels with offerings in various European, Asian and American cities, CitizenM also doubles as a co-working hotspot. You’ll find branches in Shoreditch and next to the Tower of London, but the Bankside hotel, located behind the Tate Modern, is especially alluring. The lobby looks a bit like a funky living room with stylish and cosy Vitra furniture and shelves laden with books and quirky artworks. CitizenM guests can use this lobby for free, but non-guests must pay to work from here with the fee including use of the iMacs dotted around and unlimited tea and coffee from the barista (the flat whites are very good). You also receive an end-of-day drink, such as a glass of wine or a beer.
Fiery sunsets and inspiring views over the City of London and the River Thames are some of the highlights of this smart 24/7 option, which is a five-minute amble from the towering Monument column that marks the spot where the Great Fire of London started in 1666. As well as a lofty outside terrace, Us&Co has an indoor hot desk area flooded with natural light, plus a separate space with a striking copper bar surrounded by coffee tables, sofa and chairs where you can relax, meet guests and network. Amenities here include freshly ground coffee and bike storage (one of London’s Cycle Superhighways runs past the office). Monument Tube station is also nearby.
A lush array of potted plants and flowers contributes to the soothing atmosphere at this beautifully designed spot, which is around the corner from Borough Tube station. At Uncommon you can work at desks or on sofas, take a shower, chill out on the rooftop or order healthy snacks, caffeine hits, smoothies and organic juices in the lounge. As a bonus, you’re also less than 10 minutes on foot from Borough Market, one of the best foodie spots in the whole of London, where vendors sell everything from aromatic French cheeses to Argentine street food. There are other branches of Uncommon in Fulham, Highbury & Islington and Liverpool Street.