Having lived in the capital for many years, we thought it best to include some ‘London-centric’ info for the city’s wandering workforce. Whether you’re based in, or just visiting the big smoke, there are some great places around that allow you to get down to business on the move, and still be conscious of your health.
It really isn’t that difficult to find decent places to work in London. The air is thick with wifi signals. Everywhere you look there’s another trendy little establishment offering the standard internet connection and smorgasboard of artisanal coffees, sandwiches and pastries. This is fine if you feel that your freelance endeavours are best accompanied by saturates and stimulants, but it got me thinking: what if you want some good, wholesome nourishment while you work?
In the interest of swapping the latte for a vibrant, fresh juice, and ditching the pastries for a superfood salad, we pounded the streets of London, hauling the obligatory offices in sacks, in search of clean-living, health-conscious freelancing joints. Here’s our top five…
Our top 5 healthy places to work in London
Planet Organic (Tottenham Court Road)
Gotta love this place. At the time of writing, this branch is a recent addition to the Planet Organic chain. Apart from being a really awesome health food shop where you can usually find everything you need to stock up the larder at home, they boast an organic food counter offering a wide selection of hot and cold veggie/vegan dishes, which can be mixed and matched into one of three, reasonably priced, different sized food boxes (I usually find the medium fills me up). The goodies include mexican style quinoa salad, vegan stir-fry, raw pad-thai, a wonderful lentil dhal and more. There’s also a sizable list of smoothies and juices – made while you wait.
Grab your food downstairs, and then make your way up to the first floor. Upstairs you’ll find a relatively quiet space, with ample seating and a bunch of sockets dotted around for your chargers. We have visited on several occasions in as many weeks, during week-days and weekends, and not once have we had a problem finding a free table.
There is one other little touch that I love. In the seating area, Planet Organic offer customers free access to purified, filtered water. They even encourage you to fill up any spare water bottles you may have on your person (or you can purchase one of theirs).
The combination of great healthy food and drink options, free wifi, plug sockets and of course the clean water, make this one of my current favourite spots for healthy freelancing in London.
The Gallery Cafe, Bethnal Green
The Gallery cafe is a cute little veggie/vegan eatery, located just a few minutes walk from Bethnal Green station on London’s trendy eastside. It’s also an events venue, offering a calendar-full of arts and cultural evenings. The cafe is part of a larger complex called St Margaret’s House, a unique charity that offers a supportive hub for the creative community and hosts many regular holistic wellbeing classes.
The cafe is tucked just off the street, reached by walking through a little outside seating area and down a few steps, just below the pavement level. Once inside, it’s time to peruse the ample list of offerings on the chalkboard behind the counter. Specials are offered daily, so even if you’re a regular visitor, you’ll never be bored. Juices are available too, so if you just want to access some good wifi and a healthy slurp while you work, this is a great chilled space to do it.
Should you be tempted by the food (it will be hard not to be!), special mention must go to the vegan burger. Now, in a list of top 5 healthiest places to work in London, this is probably not the healthiest food choice… but, OMG! If you only ever try one vegan burger in your life, I say, make it this one. If the accompanying double fried chips sound like too much, fear not because during my many, many visits, all the food has always been delicious. Go on, let yourself be tempted. A double fried chip every once in awhile never hurt anyone 🙂 Or you can opt for one of the lighter options, like the spiced cauliflower and chickpea salad, or the superfood avocado wrap (also delicious).
There are several plug sockets dotted around, but during busy periods you may need to do a spot of table stalking and switching to get the right spot 😉
Wholemeal Cafe, Streatham
Tucked away just off the main drag in Streatham is an oasis of calm called the Wholemeal Cafe. The interior is clean and serene. Featuring whitewashed brickwork and pine furniture, the decor yields a peaceful ambient temperature, especially when you’ve just ducked out from the hustle-bustle of Streatham High Road – the perfect place to crack on with some work!
I always think it’s a good sign when there appears to be a regular flow of locals to a food establishment. On every visit (and there have been many) I’ve witnessed streams of regular customers be warmly greeted by the friendly staff, many times by name. If they haven’t come in for food, they are tapping on the window as they pass by, full of smiles and waving to those they have come to know and trust, working at this wonderfully welcoming little place.
The food options here are many, varied and all veggie or vegan. There is always a great selection of tasty, colourful salads on display behind the deli-style counter, as well as several hot options, like curries, lasagne and homity pie, that should easily satisfy the largest of appetites on the coldest of days. They also offer herbal teas and fresh juices, alongside the usual coffee and cake, and if you really feel like it, organic wines too – but maybe have a glass after you’ve completed some work 😉
Le Pain Quotidien
Based in some rather exotic locations all over the world, this one’s a pretty big chain. Fortunately, there’s a pretty high concentration of their branches in London, so if you’re in town, you’re never that far from a LPQ.
Le Pain Quotidien definitely has more of a restauranty feel than our other listings, but don’t let that put you off just grabbing a table, ordering a drink, whipping out the laptop and connecting to their usually very reliable wifi. I’ve done it many a time.
Vegans (and veggies, and everyone else) are well catered for here, with a good selection of delicious foods on the menu and a choice of soya or almond milk for hot drinks. I really like the matcha latte made with almond milk – it’s nice to know all those antioxidants are working on me as I work on my laptop. There’s a selection of fresh juices, some lovely healthy salads (the lentil and avocado is my current favorite) and a regularly changing specials board. Many items on offer are organic, or have some organic components so bonus health points there too!
Boyce da Roca, Streatham Hill
Back on the Streatham High Road, Boyce da Roca is a cool little addition to what is a very ‘up and coming’ part of town. It may look fairly small from the front, but a doorway at the rear leads through to another seating area, so if you turn up and it looks busy, go through and check the back.
I love the quirky decor here. It’s one of those places that has managed to pull together a hotchpotch of rustic furniture and eclectic furnishings, and made it work. The staff also add a good vibe to the mix. Despite looking very busy at times, they somehow manage to appear chilled, helpful and friendly all at once – kudos to you guys!
For me, BDR is all about the smoothies – they have an interesting menu too – and although there are only a few to choose from, what they do do, they do well. I have a soft spot for their cacao smoothie, but you will also find a chia variety and a super healthy, ‘super green’ smoothie, with the option to add wheatgrass or spirulina to power you through whatever business you happen to be taking care of.
So there you have it – working on the move doesn’t have to mean you’re stuck with sugar and caffeine. There are plenty of places where you can get a healthy treat to accompany your digital nomad endeavours. >>Click to Tweet<<
Do you have a favourite health conscious place to work? We’d love to hear about it… Please share in the comments and we can all benefit from a growing compendium of healthy freelancing spots around the capital 😉 We’ll probably go check some out ourselves next time we’re there!