The Top Spaces to Study in London

London is full of peaceful study spots where you can write your essay in peace
London is full of peaceful study spots where you can write your essay in peace | Michaela Pointon / © Culture Trip
Laura Piccirillo

Pressing deadline coming up? Get yourself down to one of the top spaces to study in London and let your inspiration flow, courtesy of great coffee, a change of scenery and some peace and quiet. Here are some of the best.

Hey there, daydreamer! Need a well-deserved break from work altogether? Check out our collection of adventurous, small group getaways – in all-time favourite and further-flung destinations. Packed with authentic local experiences, unforgettable activities and one-off accommodations, they’re a world away from the everyday.

The British Library

Home to 150 million items, including the Magna Carta, the British Library is one of the world’s greatest book collections, and a must for bookworms and history buffs. The library, which is a short walk from King’s Cross, is free to enter; a reader pass is available for students and members of the public over the age of 18 via online pre-registration. All you need to do is demonstrate why you’re using the library when applying. Note that water bottles and bags must be dropped off in the cloakroom, while pencils are the only writing equipment permitted.

The BFI Reuben Library

The British Film Institute is a favourite on the South Bank cultural scene, with its film festivals and stylish cinema by the Thames. The Reuben Library is free for the public to use – you simply need to fill in a registration card each time you visit to access the study spaces. Enjoy a vast collection of resources about the film and television world, from books and journals to digitised material from the National Archives.

Barbican Library

Barbican Library is situated on the second floor of the city of London’s Barbican Centre, Europe’s largest performing-arts centre. It is a split-level library with historical books and a study area on its upper floor, and there is a music zone, complete with plug-in and play digital pianos, in the lower area. If you want to take out resources from the library, you’ll need to either work or live in the City of London – but all members of the public are free to use the facilities.

The Welcome Library

The Wellcome Library, part of the Wellcome Trust, is one of the world’s major resources for the study of medical history. Membership to the library is free and you don’t need to be a medical student or professional to visit, as it’s open to members of the public. The library is well equipped for all your study needs – there is a group room, an assistive study room for audio software and plenty of computers to use if you’ve left your laptop at home.

Ozone Coffee Roasters

The Kiwis behind Ozone Coffee Roasters know how to grind a good brew, and they also know how to welcome stressed-out students. Grab a breath of relief in this airy, light-filled cafe and let the espresso fire up your grey matter. The warm wooden decor and aroma from the roasting air downstairs is comfortable yet refreshing, providing a study space that’s just the right balance of relaxation and stimulation.

National Art Library

Few study spaces include free admission to the world’s largest museum of applied and decorative arts and design. The National Art Library, on the first floor of the Victoria & Albert Museum, invites visitors to spend study breaks marvelling at more than seven miles of fascinating exhibitions. Aside from the library there are three additional dedicated study rooms that also offer access to the museum’s reference collection.

Southbank Centre

EK9ABA South Bank London Wall Art Image

At first glance, Europe’s largest centre for the arts may seem more suitable for an evening out than an afternoon study session. Quite the contrary, as this complex offers a welcome departure from the quiet cubbies of a library. The foyers of the Royal Festival Hall are ideal for computer work, while the gadget-free Queen Elizabeth Cafe is a solid spot for reading and taking notes. With a selection of cafes and bars, including the SC Food Market, Southbank Centre is a fantastic study space for those who like to diversify their study surroundings.

Foyles

Need to get out of your halls for a change of study scenery? Hop the tube and ride to the flagship Foyles bookshop on Charing Cross Road. With 4mi (6.5km) of shelves over four floors as well as a cafe, there’s endless respite to be found here: each level offers quiet places to catch up on some last-minute reading. Before heading back out into the busy traffic of the street below, thumb through a selection of the latest fiction novels to make your ride home even more relaxing.

If your love for tea is equal to your passion for travel, we’ve got the answer – a once-in-a-lifetime escape to Kerala. You’ll trek through lush tea plantations (and even stay at one), cruise the serene backwaters and luxuriate at a spa.

Bea’s of Bloomsbury

Afternoon tea at Bea’s of Bloomsbury makes any day better. Whatever the study at hand, a few choux buns and a warm cup of tea will make all the difference. Take advantage of their outdoor seating on a sunny day, and let the hustle and bustle of passers-by create the white noise necessary to keep your focus sharp.

Nick Dauk contributed additional reporting to this article.

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