Literature, history and politics are at the forefront of British culture, yet cafés are also a significant cultural aspect that one has to take into account if he or she chooses to study abroad or live in London, England. Cafés are a place where friends can meet, people can discuss business and in general, you can relax after a long day at work or classes. There are many different cafés throughout London, some small in size and others more commercial, but they all have something to offer and are great spots to spend downtime when you are not in class and do not want to go too far.
1. Bloomsbury Coffee House – My favorite café is located at 20 Tavistock Pl in the King’s Cross area, and is a hole-in-the-wall shop that one would miss if not purposefully looking for it. The front of the café has a sign hanging above the entryway with the café’s name, and then you go down a set of outdoor stairs to enter the shop. Once inside, there are seating options in the front room, as well as the back room, and plenty of options to choose from to eat: there are pastries, sandwiches, teas, juices and many other delicacies. Once you order, you are given a wooden spoon with a number on it, and you can wait at your table for your meal or the treat of your choice, while doing any work you may have on the free Wi-Fi.
2. Pret A Manger – Pret is a classic café chain that is impossible to miss if you spend any time in London. Practically on every corner, Pret is the commercial, go-to option when you are on the run and do not have time to sit around with a cup of tea or coffee. Options range from juices, salads and fruit bowls to sandwiches, toasties (a toasted sandwich) and soups. Whether you choose to run back to your accommodation or to class with your meal, or sit at one of the window seats watching people race by, Pret is a fixture that is relatively inexpensive and is one that I am not ready to lose easy access to when I return to the United States in a month’s time.
3. Will to Win Regents Park Tennis Centre – One of the many cafés in Regents Park, Will to Win is also a tennis center. The café is ideal on a cool spring day to sit indoors by the window or on a warm spring day, especially when people are outside playing tennis. Another café that has free Wi-Fi, it is easy to find yourself spending hours there, drinking a warm drink and admiring the blooming scenery.
4. The Hub – Another café in Regents Park, the best part of The Hub is the hill that it is on and the open field that it overlooks. The entire café is encased by glass, so it provides a beautiful view on a cool day, but when the weather is nice, you and your friends can move outside to either sit at the picnic tables provided, or on the grass. I spent a 70 degree and sunny Saturday on that hill and when we were not basking in the sunlight, my friend and I were watching the people playing soccer on the pitches (fields).