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Free wifi in London...

Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
349 posts
33 reviews
26 helpful votes
Free wifi in London...

In North America free wifi is just a fact of life in most major hotels and in LOADS of public areas and most restaurants.

I am reluctant to pay the 9 pounds/daily that our hotel wants to charge for wifi and am reading mixed reports about the widespread availability of free wifi in London.

I found this article which mentions that O2 was installing a free metro wireless network in 2012:

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-16440911

Did this come to fruition and is free wifi fairly easy to find in large swaths of London?

Edited: 7:37 pm, March 21, 2014
Harrow, United...
Destination Expert
for York
Level Contributor
10,029 posts
47 reviews
21 helpful votes
1. Re: Free wifi in London...

There's free wifi in many restaurants, pubs and coffee shops (when buying something). There's also free wifi on pretty much all central underground stations if using EE, O2 or Virgin sim.

Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
349 posts
33 reviews
26 helpful votes
2. Re: Free wifi in London...

thanks richt71 - guessing that means I won't be getting free wifi except in restaurants. My sim is Canadian and my iphone is locked.

Bushey, England
Level Contributor
317 posts
31 reviews
27 helpful votes
3. Re: Free wifi in London...

Far too many coffee shops ask you to register with them (supplying name, email, address, etc) before you can use their wifi. It's not like in the US (and I guess Canada) where the wifi login details are on hand to use.

Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
349 posts
33 reviews
26 helpful votes
4. Re: Free wifi in London...

Thanks Movilla - yes that is different!

Here we can actually stand outside most places with free wifi and just connect.... Starbucks makes you acknowledge the terms of service before you connect, but you don't have to talk to anyone at the store or enter a passcode or other information.

I did just visit the O2 website and it says that you don't have to be an O2 customer to take advantage of their free wifi so I guess I'll find out next week and report back for other North Americans that might be interested!

Bushey, England
Level Contributor
317 posts
31 reviews
27 helpful votes
5. Re: Free wifi in London...

I haven't tried wifi in Starbucks recently, but you may have luck with this (although I think BTOpenzone is chargeable as well):

starbucks.co.uk/coffeehouse/wireless-internet

Costa is where I mainly drink, but I just stick with 3G rather than wifi.

Here's some free wifi locations:

starbucks.co.uk/coffeehouse/wireless-internet

Edited: 8:05 pm, March 21, 2014
Bushey, England
Level Contributor
317 posts
31 reviews
27 helpful votes
6. Re: Free wifi in London...

Copy and Paste failed in previous post. Free wifi locations at:

timeout.com/london/things-to-do/where-to-fin…

Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
349 posts
33 reviews
26 helpful votes
7. Re: Free wifi in London...

Just an update - we did manage to find some free wifi... mostly supplied by The Cloud or O2.

I downloaded "The Cloud" app on my iphone before we left Canada and it picked up signals automatically.

The O2 connections were mostly through restaurants/coffee shops/pubs and it just required you to register your phone number on their site and it would automatically text you back an access code.

Not perfect, but better than I thought it would be!

PNW, US
Level Contributor
195 posts
1 review
8. Re: Free wifi in London...

Thank you for the update. Hope your trip was a good one!

Witney, United...
Destination Expert
for Oxford
Level Contributor
2,066 posts
91 reviews
85 helpful votes
9. Re: Free wifi in London...

I use free wifi in Costa coffee shops - you register once and it will then automatically connect you to the network in other Costas next time.

London, United...
Destination Expert
for Solo Travel
Level Contributor
11,967 posts
28 reviews
28 helpful votes
10. Re: Free wifi in London...

Barclay's Bank has free wifi, but if you spent hours hanging around the bank they might think you had bank robbery in mind.

I used it to pick up Friday's newspaper on my Kindle. It didn't ask anything except my email address and I haven't been inundated with spam from the bank as yet.

Edited: 3:36 am, April 06, 2014