Wireless internet (Wi-Fi) has become increasingly common in the United Kingdom whether its free or paid for.

Most hotels will offer in-house wireless internet, but will likely charge rather high amounts for access. However many guest houses offer this for free to their guests. The log in code if this is the case will be in your room information pack. In larger cities, simply sitting in a café and checking for Wi-Fi will work, but visitors must be aware of the following safety points when considering Wi-Fi:

  • It is an offence in the United Kingdom to use wireless internet without being given the express permission of the administrator. Check for "Free Wi-Fi" or "Wi-Fi Access Here" signs before logging on.
  • Connecting to a Wi-Fi network without an adequate firewall poses a security risk to your device.
  • Attempting to connect to a person's private Wi-Fi router is known as "freeloading" and is an offence, punishable by law. The web site www.consume.net has a very hard to navigate database of people who offer their Wi-Fi for free.

 The main UK service providers offer Wi-Fi access in public areas:

  • The Cloud is a pan-European pay-as-you-go Wi-Fi provider. It provides indoor Wi-Fi access in many venues across the continent, as well as outdoor access in the City of London, Amsterdam and Stuttgart. Click here to find out the nearest access point to your location.
  • Most McDonalds outlets now provide a free Wi-Fi service with The Cloud. Other free providers include Wetherspoons pubs, Pret a Manger, Coffee Republic.
  • National Express & East Coast Mainline offer free Wi-Fi along certain routes in the south and east of England.
  • T-Mobile offer 30 minutes free Wi-Fi access with any purchase at Starbucks. Just remember to ask for the voucher!
  • Most airports offer an in-house service along similar lines.
  • Myhotspots.co.uk is an impartial website which gives a fairly complete account of Wi-Fi hotspots across the UK and is worth checking out before you visit.
  • www.hotspot-locations.com is a website that lists free Wi-Fi hotspots.
  • www.fonmigo.com Is a (now Defunct) service who rent smartphones or mobile wifi connections to travellers as an alternative to free wifi hotspots. Alternatively, www.cellularabroad.com in the USA also offers wifi hotspots available for rent. You can find information here.