We wondered here are the best places to check your emails, upload that selfie, read the headlines or reply to your growing number of unread messages whilst travelling around the UK? Let’s explore...



The Quick (And Smart) Way To Stay Connected In The UK

Off On A European Road Tour? Sure You May Not Know Your Surroundings For Getting Easy Internet Access, So Here's A Quick Guide, As Laid Out By A Briton

Waking up with coffee and WiFi is easy and cheap

You may be on holiday in the UK, or part-way through an epic European tour and happy to feel a little disconnected from the world, but what if you get that sudden urge to message a friend or catch up on the news? Between mobile phone charges and the lack of a permanent base, it might be worth having a think about some of the best places to log into your online life, before returning once again to the open road and the joys of true experience.

So where are the best places to check your emails, upload that selfie, read the headlines and reply to your growing number of unread messages whilst travelling around the UK? Let’s have a rundown of the best, cheapest and free places to get online with as little hassle as possible.

It’s not going to be hard for you to get online, wherever in the UK you may be. Some of the most unique places on Earth have WiFi, and even Mount Everest has free WiFi these days, so that climbers can instantly upload the most epic of instagram selfies. But for those of us not quite prepared to trek up the tallest mountain in the world, the first stop on your travels is probably going to be a Starbucks, Costa or fast food restaurant. In the UK, as in the States, these places all have free WiFi access, usually costing nothing more than your email address and a cup of coffee. The stereotype of hipsters logging into their Macs whilst downing frappuccinos is a stereotype for a reason! Most of these establishments use The Cloud, which is used now in over 2,000 locations in the UK and are mostly free to use (although there may be restrictions on the amount of time you can stay online, depending on the location). Although some premises will charge you to use The Cloud, they will inform you beforehand so that there are no sudden and surprising expenses! The best thing about using The Cloud is that it also works across certain countries in Europe, so creating a user account in London can also get you online in Amsterdam or Stuttgart.

Your tweets may not be literature, but you might find some in the local library, where you can find a hotspot.

If you don’t fancy a coffee, or you’ve already had breakfast and couldn’t face choking down another cheap burger, never fear! Not only are there a large number of alternatives, you’ll be pleased to know that many cities in the UK now offer a public WiFi service. Unless you’re well off the beaten track, the number of cities now offering this service is growing every year, with London and Manchester leading the way after they implemented free WiFi hotspots in museums, libraries and art galleries. If trying to relax in a fast food environment sounds absolutely horrifying to you, then what could be a better alternative than logging on and browsing the web in an art gallery, surrounded by old masters and pop art? Or maybe you’re more into literature, and the idea of relaxing whilst surrounded by classic novels and the latest bestsellers is more your speed. Either way, these alternatives are possibly more satisfying and unique than plodding straight into the nearest coffee chain and forcing down yet another Espresso. This map can be a useful guide when planning your journey!

You don’t fancy a portion of salty fries and you’ve downed enough coffee to drown a horse. You’re up to the eyeballs with art and literature, and you’ve seen enough of the sites for one day. You’re waiting for an email, so where is the best place to lounge around and enjoy yourself as you constantly refresh your Inbox?

As if you needed an excuse to go into a pub.

The pub of course! UK pubs are a tourist attraction in themselves, but whether you’re driving through a city or jumping from village to village, you can always pop in for a few pints, some pork scratchings and some unlimited internet time. Pub and restaurant WiFi access is so ubiquitous now that some places are even using their lack of WiFi as an advertisement. Try and avoid the chain pubs and stick to the independent ones and you can’t usually go too far wrong if you want a decent lunch, a cold beer and some unlimited email perusal time. A quick TripAdvisor check might help you here if you’re after something specific.

A location that not many people consider when they’re on their travels and want to upload a few pics to their social media, is the supermarket. Rather than simply rushing around and filling your basket with those basic essentials, supermarkets these days often have their own WiFi hot spots so that you can complain about driving on the wrong side of the road to your heart's content as you load up on breakfast treats for the morning. Be aware though that the larger supermarkets often track your searches if you’re using their internet access.

Of course, you could be using your travel time to reconnect with yourself, with your travelling companions or even with nature itself. If you fancy being totally and utterly disconnected from the day to day monotony of daily status updates and the next celebrity death, there are places in the UK you can visit that guarantee zero internet access. 

Karl Hughes

Graduate of the University of Wolverhampton with a Degree in Broadcast Journalism and a Masters in Popular Culture. He's worked for publications in the UK, Spain and Italy, reporting on local, national and international news stories.

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