Reading Theme

8 of the best cosy places to read in London

If you’re anything like us, when the colder months roll around, you love to curl up in the warm indoors and escape into a good book. You could do that at home, of course, but home’s where all the distractions are – doorbells that ring, housework that needs houseworking… that’s just not conducive to literary escapism. 

That’s why we’re always on the lookout for cosy places to read in London – and we’re not shy about sharing our tips for top book nooks. So here are 8 of our favourite cafés, pubs and public places where you can snuggle up and disappear into an unputdownable page-turner.

1. The Landseer Arms pub, Upper Holloway

Landseer Arms -Upper Holloway

(image credit: Link)

In the proprietor’s own words: A Mediterranean-inspired menu, local beers, European wines and nice people. All in a relaxed Victorian pub setting.  

We find it cosy because: “Excellent beer, big comfy sofas and an open fire.” – Daisy


2. WatchHouse cafe, St. Mary Axe

Watch House cafe

(image credit: Link)

In the proprietor’s own words: A triple-level WatchHouse location based in the iconic Foggo designed ‘Can of Ham’ building in The City of London. The space offers quiet and scenic working spots, a cantilevered bar to closely observe the baristas at work, as well as a mezzanine perfect for groups who seek the modern coffee experience. 

We find it cosy because: “The coffee’s great, the food is delish and the building has real Scandi vibes, with high ceilings and bright lights.” – Candace


3. Picturehouse Cinema, Piccadilly

Picturehouse Cinema -Piccadilly

(image credit: Link)

In the proprietor’s own words: As soon as you enter Picturehouse Central, you’ll be welcomed into our Downstairs Café: the perfect pit-stop for coffee and a snack. 

The walls are adorned with illustrations from renowned artist Patrick Vale, and his unique, quirky artwork documents the history of cinema ranging from camera obscura to Jurassic Park. Grab yourself a freshly-made pastry and a hot drink, nestle into one of the cosy booths under the stairs, and immerse yourself properly into our little corner of the world of cinema.

We find it cosy because: “If you have Picturehouse membership, head upstairs to the Member’s Bar and cosy up in one of the big Victorian armchairs and look out across the West End. If you’re not a member, the ground floor cafe has plenty of squashy sofas and lots of space to spread out. And if you want to watch a film after, just head upstairs using the grand, theatrically lit staircase.” – Nicola


4. Söderberg café, Soho

Soderberg Cafe

In the proprietor’s own words: We serve authentically Swedish food made to classic recipes with high quality ingredients. We’re open all day into the evening for brunch, lunch, coffee & cardamom buns, cakes, waffles, Swedish style open sandwiches and more. Our evening menu includes platters, smörrebröd, savoury waffles and a Scandi twist on classic cocktails such as our signature Fika Martini (an Espresso Martini made with Lake Vättern vodka and homemade Johan & Nyström coffee liqueur), our Lingonberry Cosmo, Negröni & Söderberg Bellini.

We find it cosy because: “They have a spot downstairs with lots of sofas. But the main thing is the coffee and pastries are very good. I like sitting in the window seat watching Soho go by. See filming happening, photoshoots, celebs, people wearing wild outfits.” – Zoe


5. The Vicolo, Hackney

Narrow Kitchen

In the proprietor’s own words: [Silence]

At the time of writing, this one remains a bit of an enigma. It was called Vicolo, but it’s now called Narrow Kitchen. Finding a website or social channel that’s still live is a struggle. We know only three things for sure: it’s at 396 Mare Street, it’s cosy and the focaccia sandwiches are a force to be reckoned with.

We find it cosy because: “The staff are lovely, it’s always a little quiet (feels like no one has realised it’s there yet) and the chicken, mayo and spinach focaccia with red onion jam and pickles is truly one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.” – Lucy


6. Hatchards’ Bookish Christmas Tree, St Pancras International

Hatchards Bookish-Christmas Tree

(image credit: Link)

In the proprietor’s own words: “We are delighted to be partnering with St. Pancras International to bring this joy to the many station visitors, allowing people to escape, relax and enjoy literature for a few moments with the station tree. What a start to the festive season!”

We find it cosy because: “C’mon, just look at it. The lights, the Christmas colours, the winding staircase…the only downside is you can’t see it when you’re reading on the little seats at the bottom. Well, there’s also the downside that it won’t be there for long. But while it is, it’s an enchanting encapsulation of cosiness.” – Matt


7. Prospect of Whitby Pub, Wapping 

The Prospect of Whitby

(image credit: Link)

In the proprietor’s own words: Prospect of Whitby, built in 1520, is the oldest riverside tavern. All sorts of people from sailors, smugglers and cutthroats to British movie stars and politicians have tread over our original 400-year-old stone floor.

We find it cosy because: “You can see the Thames from the windows and it’s all dark wood interiors, so it feels like a ship. Also there was apparently loads of smuggling in the area, so great for reading Treasure Island or similar pirate-y books.” – Lily


8. The Crusting Pipe, Covent garden

The Crusting Pipe, Covent garden

(image credit: Link)

In the proprietor’s own words: The Crusting Pipe is situated on the lower ground floor of Covent Garden’s vibrant Market Building, an ideal spot for a glass of wine, or delicious meal. You can relax in the covered courtyard or head inside to the bar and dining rooms and escape the busy Covent Garden Market, in one of the many cosy corners. 

We find it cosy because: “It’s almost literally underneath Covent Garden market (go down the stairs to find it). It’s an upmarket wine bar with outdoor space and fine dining, and also a traditional pub with plenty of cosy nooks inside.” – Nicola