The university libraries are full to the brim. All the rooms are booked out completely for the next month. The local libraries are full of young kids ‘revising’. Your neighbours are always playing loud music. All you want is some peace and quiet to allow you to work and study. I felt like this at one point, and so made sure to find some places in London that would be perfect for some quiet study, somewhere not so isolating, and somewhere that I can enjoy London at the same time. I have compiled a little list of my top 5 secret (not-so-secret-any-more) places that I have been really enjoying whilst writing my PhD thesis. I try to spend a few days at home, and a few days at one of these locations to help mix things up a bit (and to get me out of the house really).

Waterstones (Gower Street, Euston)

This Waterstones in Euston is a huge bookshop that encourages you to browse, catering for all lines of study. There is a coffee shop on the ground floor, where one could study or work on collaborative projects. There is also a small art exhibition space for taking a break. On the top two floors, there are cosy corners with chairs and desks allowing for some private (and very quiet) study! This Waterstones is open until 9pm on weekdays, making it a perfect place to spend all day studying (or writing in my case). The top floor of this Waterstones is really a secret hide out for anyone wanting to get stuck into some work, surrounded with books.

Royal Festival Hall (Southbank, Waterloo)

The Royal Festival Hall in Waterloo is another one of my favourite working places that I have slowly become a frequent visitor to. The RFH is a venue on the Southbank hosting a number of musical and cultural events on most nights of the week. When entering the RFH, go upstairs to the uppermost floor where the balcony is located. Here, there are a number of seats that are outside on the balcony facing the river and London Eye! The view from here is perfect. You can also work on the floor below facing the theatre/stage area. Although the RFH is not pin drop silent, the quiet murmur is perfect for writing or studying something that doesn’t need 100% silence. The only downside to the RFH is that there are limited charging sockets, I mean LIMITED. I’ve probably seen 2/3, which is really ridiculous. But for some light reading, or for a couple of hours, the RFH is perfect.

(Oh, and there are always so many things going on around the Southbank, a stroll after doing some work is always a good idea!)

Bishopsgate Institute Library (Liverpool Street)

Tucked by Liverpool Street Station, Bishopsgate Library is a quiet escape from the unrelenting crush of the station. It features old-school wooden shelves and a magnificent domed skylight. There have been a few times that I have been here and thought that I would love to return, although so far, I have never visited to write/study. The library seemed really quiet, and not too popular meaning you can guarantee that you will be able to get some quiet work done during your time there. Liverpool Street Station is also a stone’s throw away from Old Spitalfields Market, somewhere to grab some lunch, dinner or just a drink with a friend after studying.

Serpentine Bar & Kitchen (South Kensington)

This location is maybe not so typical, but definitely a location that I have been to and would most certainly return to. The Serpentine is a lake that spans through Hyde Park, featuring pedal boats, and the most gracious pearl white swans. One could take a walk through the park beginning on the Marble Arch side, and walk through the park and study somewhere within the park (weather permitting), or at the Serpentine Kitchen/Cafe. This cafe overlooks the lake, and makes for perfect sunset watching as well as some quiet study. Try to avoid this area during the summer, as it is full of tourists and most definitely NOT quiet. But during other times of the year, it’s a perfect location, combining both nature and allowing for some work/study.

Foyles (Charing Cross Road)

As mentioned above, Waterstones is a great location for some quiet study. Foyles, another bookshop, can also host such quiet study, particularly the flagship Charing Cross branch. There is a relaxing coffee shop where some work can be done, and also a huge selection of titles for casual browsing during your break. Charing Cross is also an overall great location, particularly as it is quite close to the river on one side, and Trafalgar Square on the other.

Can anyone recommend any other places that allow for some quiet study in London?

– A Y –

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