Whether it’s the atmospheric buzz of the ‘coffee shop effect’*, the change of scenery, or the delicious coffees, it’s common knowledge that working in a café has several major perks. As a freelancer, one of these perks is being able to switch it up and explore what your city – or the city you are visiting – has to offer.
A city full of history, Oxford’s University is the second-oldest in Europe, and the oldest English-speaking university in the world. An ideal location to immerse yourself in history and academic excellence, employ your skills and energy at one of these laptop-friendly cafés.
G&D’s is a small independent chain of ice cream cafés. The shops are all over the city centre, giving you plenty of options. This particular chain on Cowley Road, called George & Delila, is in a more hipster neighbourhood. A local favourite, it offers delicious coffee and homemade ice cream and cakes, free WiFi, good music and plenty of seating.
If you prefer a more old-school environment and don’t need to depend on the Internet, Brown’s Café is just the ticket. Established in 1924, it’s located in the lovely Covered Market – an area designed to house many different traders since the late 18th century. Brown’s has a diner feel to it with many seating options – serving homemade-style food in a comfy and relaxed environment, with quick and friendly customer service.
Only a five minute walk from the Westgate shopping centre, Vaults & Garden was created to promote sustainability in a community-focused environment. Renowned for its scones, organic food and coffee, it is uniquely placed in the University Church of St Mary the Virgin – which dates back to the 1200s. The coffee shop has high vaulted ceilings, indoor and outdoor seating, free WiFi, and power sockets in the upstairs area. When the weather permits, Vaults & Garden’s garden provides lovely views of the surrounding greenery and old architecture.
Jericho Coffee Traders is a laid-back espresso bar located on the high street, serving good coffee with locally-made cakes and pastries. They don’t offer WiFi, but more than make up for this with a cozy atmosphere, indoor seating and power sockets to recharge your electronics (while you recharge with a cuppa). The coffee shop’s large front windows make for interesting people-watching – as does the bench on the outside for that much-needed break from screen time.
Ideally located in the city centre, Society Café is only within ten minutes’ walk of both Oxford train station and Westgate shopping centre – perfect for a quick lunchtime caffeine boost or to get some extra work done. With a variety of seats, drinks and eats, Society Café has something for everybody – from a wide selection of coffee blends and milks to choose from, to the cakes and pastries that accompany your drink of choice. The coffee shop has a relaxed and clean aesthetic, with free WiFi and power sockets to use at your leisure.
Indulging in the use of cafés as your office for the day grows expensive – especially when you’re surrounded by delicious temptations in the likes of homemade cakes and well-made, ethically-sourced coffee. Edinburgh may not be the most cost-effective for freelancers, but it’s certainly cheaper in comparison to London and comes with a more relaxed city culture.
To help increase your productivity without massively decreasing your bank balance, this fifth instalment of the blog series sees a good selection of fair-priced coffee shops in and around central Edinburgh. With each boasting a unique atmosphere, they can provide you with just the right amount of ambient noise* to boost your creativity. Freelancer-friendly, most locations have free WiFi and good seating options.
Dovecot Café has some of the best homemade cake selections in the area, as well as lovely soup and great coffee. Medium in size with indoor seating, the café is linked to a tapestry-style museum/exhibition space and provides free WiFi, with a clean yet artsy aesthetic. It is roughly five minutes’ walk from the University of Edinburgh and is usually quite busy, so get in early.
A twenty-minute stroll from the train station on the outskirts of the city, Modern One is located near the Water of Leith, but it’s definitely worth the journey. The café spills onto a lovely garden terrace, and there is WiFi available for those who want to get a bit of work done away from the centre of town. Modern One also serves an amazing selection of cakes to enjoy with a hot drink.
Loudons is a great place to sit and get some work done. The space is very open with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating options, and big windows providing a lot of natural lighting. Although fairly big, it has queues outside all Saturday morning due to its popularity. They offer table service, free WiFi, and serve various options of food and drinks for different dietary preferences. Worth a mid-week visit.
With several cafés located around Edinburgh, Sӧderberg is a Swedish café with lots of great, freshly-baked Swedish goods like cinnamon and cardamom buns. It also serves delicious sourdough breads, cakes and coffees in a very laid-back environment. Nice wooden decor and big glass windows give the place a rustic yet spacious, modern feel. There’s no WiFi but plenty of indoor and outdoor seating in this branch near the Quartermile area to get some work done offline.
A small, hidden gem tucked away in The Arches in central Edinburgh, Baba Budan serves excellent coffee and homemade doughnuts every day. It’s stylish with a relaxed vibe, perfect for a calm and inspirational session of writing. This is a great place to visit if you’re just getting off the train at Waverley and want somewhere quiet to relax. They offer free WiFi, as well as indoor and outdoor seating.
Whilst many freelancers might prefer to work from home, having the flexibility to work wherever you please has great advantages. From the change of scenery to the pastries and artisanal coffees, cafés can provide you with a few more productive hours of work when your cabin fever might start to kick in. In addition to this, research* has proven that background noise can further contribute to your workflow. Noise stimulation has shown improvements in both perception of low-quality images as well as quicker and more precise decision-making.
Following the London and Bristol editions of this blog series, this third instalment introduces the seaside city of Brighton. Considered one of the most freelancer-friendly cities in the UK, Brighton has a large number of startups and an even bigger amount of residents who prefer local, more independent businesses over recognised chains. As such, Brighton has a lot of coffee shops you can comfortably rely on to become your office for the day. Here’s a round-up of some of our tried-and-trusted favourites.
Small Batch Coffee Roasters is situated on the ground floor of the same building as MyHotel, a modern 4-star hotel. A ten-minute walk from Brighton train station, this café has free WiFi and you can always count on it to smell fantastic. With a great atmosphere, the staff are very friendly and there is plenty of seating available, with a few long tables for that community feel.
A few minutes’ walk from the pier and fifteen minutes from the train station, The Lanes Coffee House is a small, independent coffee shop. The owners are friendly and serve amazing coffee. Due to its size, seating is a bit more limited and there is no WiFi offered to customers, however there are power sockets if you fancy a quirky environment in which to work offline.
Blackbird Coffee is another small coffee shop with no WiFi, however they do have a few power sockets. A hipster-esque environment with a touch of Turkey, it is only a five minutes’ walk from the Pier. They make great cakes and coffee, and have a couple of tables and seats inside and outside to accommodate you while you get some work done.
With delicious coffee and a warm atmosphere, Moksha is a great place to get quiet work done away from the bustling Lanes. The family-run cafe roasts its coffee locally in Littlehampton and offers its customers its own ‘Moksha blend’ coffee – available to drink in the shop or as beans to take away with you. They also offer free WiFi and there are plenty of comfy seating options to choose from.
With several successful branches in Greater London and Berkshire, Coppa Club is due to open up a Brighton franchise in mid-September. To be located in the middle of the lively Lanes area, it offers a welcoming environment open from early morning for your caffeine boost, until late evening for your cocktail fix. As a versatile space, it also offers alfresco dining, free WiFi, and power sockets. Being open past regular business hours gives you more flexibility to meet deadlines or get extra work done.