Free Work and Study Places in London – The Barbican Centre

The pandemic has caused a massive shift in work culture across the world and work from home as well as remote working are now keywords within any job position. Personally, I have been working from home for at least 2-3 days a week since finishing university summer last year. While we have all slowly adapted to this new normal, friends and colleagues have told me time and time again that they sometimes struggle to concentrate from home as there are simply too many distractions. 

I myself struggle with this pretty regularly and have hence been looking for alternative places to work across London that don’t cost an arm and a leg. After mainly sticking to Pret out of convenience, I’ve decided it’s time to branch out and explore some of the other free options available across London. As part of this series, I will explain the location, the study/work options available there and whether I would recommend it for the purpose of working. I really hope this is helpful to some of you and if you have any recommendations of good places to check out, please drop it in the comments!

The Barbican Centre

The Barbican Centre is featured on several lists for free/quiet places to work and study in London and is hence the first place I decided to check out. It’s a super cool complex of buildings with a massive pond, library, theatre, cinema, galleries and even a conservatory (which was unfortunately closed when I visited). The area surrounding the pond is super gorgeous and there are places to eat and sit indoors as well as outdoors. I have a feeling it will be packed when the weather warms up a bit. I walked around the centre for a while to explore and find the library/study spaces that were mentioned online and it was fun – though extremely easy to get lost. The library itself is small with a cool collection of music, books and small quiet study space. There are even free pianos connected to headsets if you’re into practising music.

Barbican Centre Outside View
Outside view of the Barbican Centre with lots of seating options
St Giles Cripplegate
St Giles Cripplegate - opposite of Barbican Centre

Work/Study Rating


While it’s undeniably a really cool place and I would definitely recommend a visit, I wouldn’t go back there to work. It was incredibly busy (on a Thursday afternoon) and hard to find a seat. There were no real seats with desks that I could find except in the small library. The library itself had limited seats and was quite noisy due to the whole building being an open plan layout. 

They do have free Wi-Fi and the library is accessible to any member of the public so if you possibly come earlier in the day and don’t mind a bit of noise, it’s still an option. 

Overall, I’d recommend coming here more for the entertainment and photo opportunities, rather than to work/study. 

If you’re looking for more free study and workspaces in central London, check out my post on the British Museum Library (Spoiler: it’s a really great and quiet location).

The barbican centre with text in front of it
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  1. […] If you’re looking for more spaces to work/study for free, check out my review of the Barbican Cent… […]

  2. […] free study spots in London and tried them all. Some, I couldn’t even find. Others, like the Barbican Centre, I was just not impressed with – it was difficult to find a space and quite […]

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