Travelling can take a toll on your phone’s battery life, you want to be capturing all those London moments and navigating the city. The last thing you want on your trip is not to be able to capture something! So where can you charge your phone in London?
- Charging at your accommodation
- John Lewis Charging Station in Oxford Circus
- Use any public charging outlet available (with your charger & adapter)
There are plenty of phone charging options in London, even some newer London buses are adapted with USB ports! I’ve never had an issue finding a place to charge my phone when I am out and about. All the cafes, restaurants and tourists’ areas will have options. I always travel with a power bank just in case I run into issues for whatever reasons.
Your Options for Charging Your Phone in London
It is becoming more convenient to get charging equipment in London. ChargedUp is a business that places vending machines in places like:
- And more
The only disadvantage with ChargedUp is that they only have an IOS app to find charging points. Brands like DoubleTree by Hilton, wework, Stonegate Pub Company, Selfridges & Co, Pergola, M&S, Laine’s, Brewdog, and Boxpark are partnered with ChargeUp so you will likely find them in one of their venues.
Simply pay the fee to rent the charging pieces you need for the duration of your stay. When you finish using them, simply return them to any ChargedUp vending machine. This is a great help for those that want to avoid packing too many items.
Aircharge has paired up with brands like McDonald’s, Starbucks, YO! Sushi, Costa Coffee and Vapiano to provide customers with Qi wireless charging stations. McDonald’s is the largest provider to date with more than 400 UK stores offering these facilities.
The easiest way of finding the closest charging station is by using Airchange app. Using your location, it will guide you to the closest station.
You do need to have a newer phone for Aircharge to work. If your phone is on the list below, then it will work with Qi wireless technology:
- Apple iPhone: XS Max XS, XR, 8, 8 Plus,
- Samsung Galaxy: S10 Plus, S10, S10e, Note 9, S9, S9+, Note 8, S8, S8+, S7, S7 Edge (Plus more devices)
- Sony: Xperia XZ3, Xperia XZ2 Premium, Xperia XZ2 (Plus more devices)
- LG: G7 ThinQ, V30, G6 (US version only), G4 (optional), G3 (optional) (Plus more devices)
- Nokia: 9 PureView, 8 Sirocco
- Huawei: P30 Pro, Mate 20 Pro,
- Microsoft Lumia: 1520, 1020, 930, 929, 928, 920
- Google: Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3,
- Nexus: Nexus 6, Nexus 5
For the phones that aren’t compatible will need to get adapter to use Aircharge.
Powermat is another charging facility that can be found in stores around central London. Places like; All Bar One, LEON, Heathrow Airport and German Doner Kebab are offering Powermat charging stations. As they are using wireless charging technology your phone will need to have these capabilities.
To use Powermat, simply place your phone on the Powermat spot and it will start charging your phone.
You can find the location by using the link here.
4. John Lewis Charging Station in Oxford Circus
Oxford Circus is a connection point between Regent Street and Piccadilly. The term “circus” can be confusing if you are not from England. It literally means circle in this case, translated from Latin. There are many shops present in the circle around this street junction.
John Lewis is a well-known department store in London and has a Chargebox station inside the store. The best part of the ChargeBox is that the first 30 minutes are free!
You can find a ChargeBox in the John Lewis store located in Oxford Circus. These are small lockers with charging plugs in them. You can simply put your phone in the locker and use the provided key to keep everything safe.
If you don’t want to wander too far away from your phone, you should explore the cheese room on the lower ground floor. Honestly, it is a cheese lover heaven! But back to phones…
After 30 minutes it will disconnect your phone and if you want more charge you will have to reconnect it again.
Where to find them:
- On level 5 at Place to Eat entrance
- Place to Eat – Right.
- Ground floor next to Customer Collections.
5. Charging at Your Accommodation
Charging your phone at your accommodation it is the easiest way. If you’re like me it’s just habit to charge your phone when you’re asleep. If I find I end up glued to my screen before leaving I will give the phone a quick top-up before heading out the door. That extra 15 minutes can help!
USB ports are becoming a popular way of charging your phone instead of having the old school plugs. You should bring an adapter and the plug just in case your hotel hasn’t caught up with the latest trend. In most cases when I am travelling in the UK, I find that I don’t need my plug, but you can occasionally get caught out.
Adapters are necessary because the plugs in the UK have three prongs. Depending on where you are travelling from, your plugs may be completely different. Be sure to get enough adapters to allow everyone in your group to charge as needed.
Staying in an Airbnb it is unlikely you will have USB so if you need a power convert then I suggest getting one before travelling.
6. Use Any Public Charging Outlet Available (With Your Charger & Adapter)
Charging your phone while you are shopping for coffee or food is a great way to top up your phone. After all, we must rest our feet sometime after all that sightseeing!
Cafes, Coffee Shops and Restaurants
There are generally power points and free internet in cafes, coffee shops and restaurants. If you can’t see the powerpoint straight away, just ask the staff and they will be able to let you know the best seats to get that top-up.
On some of the National Rail trains, there will be power points available, especially the long-distance trains like Edinburg to London. Having a power adapter and charging equipment means you can easily take advantage. However, you won’t find these on the Underground, unfortunately.
Other Public Transport / Stations
I have found some London stations popping up with charging facilities like Shoreditch High Street station. Just through the gates, on the left-hand side, you will find charging facilities that come with the different plug adapters to meet all your charging needs.
On some newer London buses, I have also discovered USB ports to charge your phone. The route I have seen it the most on is the 521 from London Bridge to Waterloo.
It’s not a guaranteed way to charge your phone though.
Do You Need Plug Adapters in London?
London plugs have three prongs. If you are coming from elsewhere in the UK, you may not need an adapter. Europe includes many countries outside of the UK, and outlets can vary.
If you are coming from the United States, you need an adapter for London. Most of Europe has two-pronged plugs; however, the prongs are shaped differently than U.S. prongs. Ireland and the UK are the exceptions (with 3 pronged).
No matter where you are travelling from, you will likely need an adapter if you are traveling in the UK.
Adapters are inexpensive and I recommend getting one for worldwide use. This enables you to use your adapter for all of your travels and doesn’t lock you down to the UK. Here is my favourite adapter VGUARD Worldwide Travel Adapter, 4 USB Ports (Amazon).
Do You Need Power Converters in London?
Power converters are necessary if your devices cannot handle the higher voltage in London. The median voltage in the UK is 230 volts. Check your devices before you go to find out what they run on. You can ruin a phone or laptop that cannot handle the voltage difference.
Look on the plug for your phone to see what the voltage limits are. Some items, such as iPhone chargers, do fine with the voltage difference. Look on the website for your phone or computer brand to find out if the UK voltage is safe for your product.
It is convenient to replace a broken charging plug or cable with an inexpensive copy. Even in your home country, there are warnings against this, however. You may severely limit the longevity of your device by using off-brand charging equipment.
If you are travelling overseas, purchase plugs and cables that match the brand of your phone. This ensures that everything is of good quality. This can prevent dying cables and damaged devices.
Most phones come with a charger and cable. People often buy cheap charging items, so they have extras in the car or around the house. Find the original plug and cable before your trip or buy a new one. Some companies get their products certified for use with common brands like Apple and Samsung. Read the fine print before you purchase these.
Purchasing Charging Equipment for London
It is easy to purchase adapters for travel. Most equipment is very affordable. Even if you need several items, you are likely to spend very little. You can find adapters at Boots, WH Smiths, electronics stores, and department stores.
If you do not want to pack extra items, you can easily purchase adapters in London. This is a common item bought by tourists, so they are easy to find. If you do not plan on using the adapters again soon, be kind and hand them off to another tourist before you head home.
Why Outlets are Different in London
The reason for varying outlets around the world is simpler than you may think. There is more global travel now than when electricity was new. Even after the invention of electricity, it was not in use like it is today. Early uses mainly included lights and fans.
Different people were busy setting up electricity in different parts of the world. They each simply came up with an outlet design that met their needs. Frequency and voltage changed in the UK after World War II. The frequency of 50 hertz matches up with the standard in many other places.
Britain changed over to a higher voltage during the 1950s. The United States did not change at this time, as most of their homes already had large appliances running on 120 volts. It would have made things difficult for a large part of the population.
Most electronics and small appliances work with a variety of voltages. This dual voltage ability makes it easier for manufacturers to sell items globally. You can get an idea of whether you need a voltage adapter by learning about voltage in different countries.
- UK/ Europe- anywhere from 220 to 240 V
- United States- 110/120 V
- Japan- 100 V
- Australia- 230 V
- Brazil- 127/ 220 V (in the process of changing, some older buildings are still 127 V)
Other Electrical Items to Consider
Adapters can be helpful for many items, not just phones and computers. As people often travel with electric razors, hairdryers, and cameras. You should be able to use your adaptor for most items.
Before travelling make sure you check out the tag to find out if your appliances are dual voltage. This means you can use them anywhere in the world with only an adapter.
If you have older appliances or some odd brands, you may need to purchase a voltage adapter, as well. You can simplify your trip by using disposable razors purchased in London and use the hair dryers that come with your accommodation.
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