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
Photo of Laura Piccirillo
31 March 2021

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.

The British Library

Library
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The British Library
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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

Library
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The BFI Reuben Library
© BFI Southbank
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

Library
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Barbican Library
© aehdeschaine / Flickr

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 Wellcome Library

Library
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Wellcome Library
© Chrispictures / Shutterstock

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

Cafe, British, $$$
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Ozone Coffee Roasters
© 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

Library
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National Art Library
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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

Art Gallery, Building
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Artwork by Phlegm on the walls of the Southbank Centre
© Adrian Seal / Alamy Stock Photo
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

Bookstore, Store
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Foyles bookstore, London, UK
© Alex Segre / Alamy Stock Photo
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.

Yumchaa

Tea Room, Tea , $$$
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Yumchaa cafe, London, England, UK
© Alex Segre / Alamy Stock Photo
Fancy a standout cuppa while you look over those exam notes? Yumchaa invites you to study in Soho while partaking of a fine featured tea. A little Chilli Chilli Bang Bang will perk you up, or if you prefer a smooth take on a classic, the Earl Grey Blue Star is a sophisticated sip. The cafe opens its doors to all scholars looking for study space.

Bea’s of Bloomsbury

Cafe, Tea Room, British
Map View

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.

These recommendations were updated on March 31, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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