A guide to the best coffee shops to study at in London, from a part-time barista KCL student

Let’s be real, its almost impossible to get anything done in the same old Pret by campus.


Every student needs a good place to study (especially with exam season on the way), and they also need something that will keep them awake and help them focus. Coffee shops are the best combination of these, and they can be found down almost every street in London. So, where you should you go to get the best out of a study session?

I’m going to avoid major chains like Pret and Starbucks because, while they may be great for cheap and convenient coffee, they can get way too busy for studying and there is definitely better coffee out there; you just have to look. I’m also going to consider the actual quality of the coffee because, as a barista myself, I’d consider myself the closest thing to an expert I could get my hands on.

Watchhouse – Somerset House

This coffee shops best asset for Kings’ students is its location – it is literally in the same building as the Dickson Poon School of Law. Watchhouse boasts some unique bakery items, delicious lunch options and well designed seating that allows for individual studying as well as social discussions. The main downside is that the menu is ever so slightly on the more pricier end.

Barista recommendation: Batch Brew. They always have their own distinct taste and come with a little info card on their origins.

The Gentlemen Baristas – New Oxford Street, Holborn

Staying close to campus is the Gentlemen Baristas, a three minute walk from Holborn station. Although it’s a fairly small shop, every single available seat is comfortable and a great spot for isolating yourself for long enough to get some studying done. The menu is more affordable than Watchhouse and has some amazing energising options, especially their healthy sweet treats.

Barista recommendation: Matcha or Chai Latte. Their coffee is fantastic, but their powdered drinks are made to perfection.

Origin Coffee – Scoresby Street, Waterloo

Barista recommendation: Matcha or Chai Latte. Their coffee is fantastic, but their powdered drinks are made to perfection.

Origin Coffee – Scoresby Street, Waterloo

For everyone living in Waterloo, this is the one for you. Origin Coffee is tucked away in a tiny arch in Southwark. Even when its busy, it still feels cosy and quiet – perfect for getting rid of nay distractions. The best part of origin though is the food, their breakfasts and brunches are to die for.

Barista recommendation: Espresso. Origin have some of the best beans in the business which, paired with some impressive modern machines, produces some amazing tasting coffee, no need to add many new flavours to it.

Signorelli’s – East Village, Stratford

If you live in any of the Stratford accommodations you’ve probably wondered if there’s anywhere with real character that you can study, because Westfield really isn’t it. East Village is the perfect place for that, and Signorelli’s truly feels like its been taken from the screen of a Richard Curtis rom-com. Their seasonal menus are always delicious – the focaccia toasties are especially addictive.

Barista recommendation: White hot chocolate. A simply delicious chocolatey flavour that is not too overpowering and not too subtle.

Mouse Tail Coffee – John Harvard Library, Borough High Street

The closest on this list to Guy’s Campus, Mouse Tail Coffee is situated within the John Harvard Library. Being surrounded by books really makes this coffee shop an ideal location for studying, offering some impressively cheap coffees. The best thing about Mouse Tail is that there’s two prices for coffee: an espresso price, and an espresso + milk price, so all of the drinks are at a consistent affordable price.

Barista recommendation:  Whatever you like. Because there is only two prices, you can ask for them to make your coffee exactly how you like it.

Pickwick – Old Broad Street

Pickwick is right outside Liverpool Street station, a great location to get some studying done before an exciting day through the rest of London doing typically touristy things. The atmosphere is friendly and welcoming, letting you sit in there for hours without feeling rude for taking up space on their chairs. Their wi-fi is super-fast as well.