! It may not be as magical as the Harry Potter Studios in London but it’s just as useful. Nothing bursts the traveling bubble like poor internet access! For some, a break from technology may be a welcome addition but, for most, it’s just a pain. Knowing that everything is okay at home and work (checking emails etc.) can help you relax while you’re away. You don’t have to be a serial Instagrammer to use London wifi for tourists! I say “for tourists” but the city wifi is used primarily by locals. Don’t let their local knowledge intimidate you. Here’s what Londoners know about free wifi which you don’t!
Free Wifi London
In 2006, London partnered with “The Cloud” to provide wifi coverage throughout over 95% of the city (with more than 20,000 wifi hotspots across the UK). You can access The Cloud at Pret a Manger, Pizza Express, Caffè Nero, Wagamama, shopping centers, sports stadiums (e.g. Lord’s Cricket Ground), train stations and more.
O2, BT (British Telecom) and Virgin Media also have hundreds of free London hotspots available. Virgin Media have also partnered with Transport For London to offer London Underground wifi in over 260 underground stations. This is not a free service, unfortunately, unless you are a Virgin Media, EE, O2, Vodafone or Three customer. You can purchase a week “Wifi Pass” for just £5 though!
To connect to any of these networks (including The Cloud), simply click on the internet provider in your network connections and open your browser to be redirected to their login page. You will then need to enter some basic information (name, email and agree to the Ts & Cs). There are many useful apps you can download such as The Cloud wifi app. You can use its offline wifi locator to find your nearest ‘Cloud’ hotspot. That’s the technical stuff done!
Museums & Attractions
The Tower of London
You’re probably planning on visiting lots of London museums
and attractions? If so, you’re in luck because you’ll also be heading to plenty of wifi hotspots at the same time. Here are a handful of attractions which include free wifi: The Royal Albert Hall, The British Museum, The National Gallery, The Victoria & Albert Museum, The Tower of London
, The Barbican Centre and Hampton Court Palace. Perhaps you’d like to meet David Beckham, Prince Harry and The Queen at the Madame Tussauds waxwork museum
? The Cloud has got you covered! Simply put, if it’s a major attraction, you’re safe to assume there’ll be wifi too!
La Sagrada Familia Tickets - Fast Track Entrance
Restaurants, Bars & Cafes
One of the best places to find the free wifi London offers is in its restaurants, bars and cafes. From cheap to high-end, anywhere which serves food or drink is highly likely to offer free wifi. They’ll probably have their own private network (you can just ask them for the network name and password). If not, they may be serviced by a major internet network provider. You don’t need to have an O2 phone contract, for example, to connect to an O2 free wifi hotspot at McDonald's, Costa Coffee, Café Rouge and more.
The Cloud can also provide you with wifi at Greggs (fast food, pastries), JD Wetherspoon's (cheap pub food) Caffé Nero, Eat (coffee and sandwiches), Marks & Spencer (nice clothes and good food), Pret a Manger (coffee and sandwiches) and PizzaExpress. It may seem confusing but just remember you can use The Cloud, O2, Virgin and BT mobile wifi (plus all the private networks you don’t need to know the names of) when you’re looking for a free hotspot. You’re likely to see one of them pop up sooner or later!
Free wifi is available in all City of London libraries. You’ll find these city libraries in the Square Mile, the financial district and the historic center of London. Simply put, if you’re in the centre, you won’t be far from a library offering free wifi. Entry to the libraries are free and you don’t have to become a member or sign out a book! The famous “British Library”, with over 150 million books, includes free wifi. If you are a book lover, however, you’re bound to end up in London’s biggest bookshop chain, Waterstones, which has free wifi too! Another book (and stationary) shop, WHSmith, also has wifi (provided by The Cloud).
London City Markets
London markets are a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. Going to an ancient market doesn’t mean traveling back in time; all London major markets have wifi coverage. Old Spitalfields Market and Covent Garden Market both have free wifi available. Camden Market is a popular tourist hotspot, made famous by George Orwell, Charles Dickens, Oasis and the film Withnail & I. Fortunately, it’s also one of the popular London hotspots for wifi too! You don’t really need to look for the free wifi London has on offer. It’ll come to you!