Whether for their welcoming atmosphere, delectable and healthy fare or wicked interiors, the UK is home to a brilliant array of venues in which you can sit happily with a laptop or sketchbook and while away the hours to your heart’s content. Perfect places to park up, hire out, seek inspiration or settle down for a quiet afternoon, writer and creative Emily Beeson shares the spots she loves for their quality, quirk and freelance-friendly ethos.
Drink, Shop & Do, London
Drink, Shop & Do isn’t your average cafe… A bar, design-led shop, event space and the perfect place to whip out your laptop, this Kings Cross institution plays host to afternoon teas, workshops, crafting nights, dance classes and more. The decor regularly changes, with regular resident artist’s work adorning the interior, the furniture is brilliantly retro – think colourful fifties formica tables, old school chairs and traditional Victorian corbels – and the staff are always welcoming.
The Forge, Bristol
A truly beautiful renovated space for the creative community in and around Bristol, The Forge is a must-visit for anybody with a small businesses. Offering desks in its stunning co-working space and studio, inspiring workshops, live music and bespoke events, this multi-faceted venue is pretty impressive. Of course, desks and the studio space are for professional use only but events and workshops are open to everyone so simply book online and swing by for a look around.
Stour Space, London
An original Hackney Wick warehouse, converted into a community space with an excellent cafe to boot, Stour Space retains its industrial look and feel with great glass panes and giant beams surrounding the lofty exhibition area but also manages to feel cosy, with comfy seating overlooking the canal. A great place to meet, work and explore, the menu is fresh and healthy and and the shop is great for a snoop. Where better to enjoy a coffee and catch up on a little work?
One Girl Band, Brighton
The OGB Space is a co-working space for female-identifying entrepreneurs, freelancers and anyone seeking interaction with like-minded people day to day. Situated in Brighton, the space also plays host to regular events, meetings and workshops and offers very reasonable pricing for desks and studio space. As welcoming a place as you’re ever likely to find and free to drop into and look around, the One Girl Band space is a gem for creative women based in the beautiful seaside town.
A cosy-cool base for Cardiff dwellers with a gorgeous bohemian tent space out back, Milgi is your go-to for delicious veggie/vegan food, coffee and a quiet place to sit and work. Relax in the company of the city’s creative minds and let your own imagination run wild during the day, and as the evening draws in, stick around for live music, botanical cocktails and good vibes. If it’s a creative project space for hire you’re after, inquire about the Mongolian yurt, why don’t you?
It may look understated from the outside but Pitfield street’s eponymous coffee shop Pitfield London is a treasure trove of eclectic bits and pieces. Serving hearty Italian lunches, tasty salads and sandwiches, it doubles up as an antiques and homewares shop, and gallery. Filled with more colourful glassware and brass pineapples than you can shake a stick at, vintage finds sit alongside modern gifts and jazzy designer wallpaper. With painted pastel chairs, friendly staff, cool chinaware and communal tables, it’s a great place to grab a magazine from the stack and relax, or join the many creatives who head to the Shoreditch spot to meet and work every day.
A co-working space for makers, dreamers and entrepreneurs of all disciplines, Basecamp directly serves Liverpool’s thriving creative scene. Illustrators, bloggers, developers and filmmakers work side by side, making use of the slick facilities and the ultra-cool 51 Cafe. A great place to grow a small business or connect with other creatives, members enjoy access to a host of perks in this inspirational spot located in the city’s famed Baltic Triangle – a hub for all things creative.
The Custard Factory, Birmingham
Set across 15 acres of incredible Victorian Factories restored for use by the city’s makers and doers, The Custard Factory is Birmingham’s number one spot for creative goings on. Boasting co-working, office, studio and retail spaces, plus street food, events and a cinema in the heart of Birmingham’s creative quarter, this is the perfect area to nosey around, pitch up, collaborate and daydream. Plus, there’s plenty of free or hireable space, depending on your needs.
Hula Cafe, Edinburgh
A cute juice bar and gallery space with a jazzy array of breakfast and lunch options, this tropically-inspired spot is the perfect place to jump into action of a gloomy morning. A bright pink and green paradise, located in Edinburgh’s West Bow of all places, Hula is a friendly and colourful spot for local creatives, bloggers and Instagrammers to meet, seek inspiration and check out work by local artists and collectives. Disclaimer: it’s the ideal location to snap a few shameless selfies too.
The Beehive, London
With a daily hotdesk option priced at just £20, The Beehive in Stoke Newington is a great option for creatives looking for a co-working space in east London. Another beautifully refurbished Victorian warehouse with high ceilings, lots of natural light and a spacious open plan work area, this spot is filled with a host of inspiring people and doubles up as a yoga studio, should you wish to clear your mind after a hard day’s brainpower.
Words: Emily Beeson @boogiemargaret