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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at St. Andrews chapter.

While St Andrews has its cute small-town energy that can be quite conducive to studying, in my opinion, nothing beats studying in a big city. New York City, Paris, London, even Edinburgh; any time I have a chance to study in a cafe and people-watch, I’m so there. So in light of revision week and upcoming deadlines and examinations, I will be taking you, the reader, through a day of studying in London. I will give you the details on the best cafes to hit up, the most picturesque spots, and how to still enjoy being in London with all the famous spots it has to offer. 

People who know me will tell you that I usually start my day with a run along West Sands. In London, I make no exception to this schedule. I love to begin my day with an early morning run around the best spots. Although I prefer running with someone in a city (for safety reasons) I don’t find London to be too frightening — just stick to busy locations. Picking a route beforehand is key; I usually try to do between seven and ten kilometers. I plan my route so that I can see all the sights and enjoy the monuments of the city. Often this includes the Mall, Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Circus, Westminster and Big Ben, Hyde Park, and Belgravia. Configuring a loop from your hotel or house back is the best plan of action. I find that a run in the morning helps me study, as I have had a chance to look around and feel that I’ve gotten to see London.

However, if you’re feeling hungry early in the morning, I would pick a spot halfway through your run and go to a local bakery. One of my weaknesses has got to be almond croissants so I’m always on the lookout for a good bakery. In London, thank goodness, there are always a fine assortment of bakeries available. Chestnut Bakery in Belgravia is a great spot to go, as is Fortitude Bakehouse near the British Museum. Another spot that’s always reliable is Gail’s Bakery — it’s a chain but a posh one. 

After my runs, I will shower, change, and get my study stuff sorted. Then I’m out the door around 10 a.m. and ready to find a study spot. Always good for studying are chain coffee shops. Starbucks is my go-to but Nero Coffee, Corner Cafe, and Blank Street Coffee are also reliable. However, if you are looking for something with a bit more charm, neighborhood places are best. The quiet, calm energy of Notting Hill is unmatched and I would recommend taking the tube there. Notting Hill has all the classic study spots like Starbucks or Gail’s, but it also has places like Butter Bakery Bar & Cafe. Coffee Plant is also a great option. I think your environment has a lot to do with how you study so atmosphere is key. With Notting Hill being such a warm and inviting place, any of these places are sure to help you focus. That being said, I have also frequented Store Street Espresso and can get hours of work done. This cafe is located more centrally in London and I can tell you from experience that the staff will not bother you. As long as you buy a coffee you can stay as long as you like. These types of spots are also less busy and provide a more peaceful environment. 

If you are in the financial district, I would try and visit The Wren Coffee. Located in an old church near St. Paul’s Cathedral, this is a beautiful workspace. The high ceilings, stained glass, and inviting atmosphere are great for getting work done. Additionally, it is basically a co-working space to begin with, so everyone there is just as focused as you. Additionally, the Starbucks locations in the financial district are really nice and, honestly, you get more for your money. That might be a really American perspective, but a 10oz cup of coffee doesn’t really focus me in the same way that a 16oz does. Unfortunately, not many places other than Starbucks offer that much coffee. 

At around 5 or 5:30 p.m., I pack up my stuff and head out. Sometimes I’ll hit one or two different cafes to switch it up a bit but have basically spent the day at one place. By this time I’ll get dinner somewhere. Luckily, in London, there are plenty of options. Restaurants are fun with friends but kind of awkward if you’re alone. If you happen to be alone I would recommend places like Birley Sandwiches near St. Paul’s. These are easy, healthy options and can be taken to go.

All in all, I hope this has been a helpful guide to navigating London study spaces and the best routes to take. Good luck with revision!

India Povey

St. Andrews '26

India is a sophomore currently studying International Relations and Modern History at the University of St Andrews. She has always had an interest in journalism and enjoys reading, discussing, and writing about current events, politics, and pop culture trends. In her free time, India can be found either running, drinking lots of Starbucks coffee, or rewatching Gilmore Girls. Her favorite season is winter because the holidays make everything better.