If you are mobile near Uckfield in East Sussex and need to jump on the Internet then we’ve found the connection in the local Costa Coffee in the main street is very reliable. In fact, we prefer this Costa to the one in neighbouring Haywards Heath largely because it seems more spacious and less noisy. The Internet connection is quite fast and reliable.
Across the street from Costa is the public library which also has free Internet and reliable computers. Just behind the library, there is a large car park offering free parking.
Free internet access can be difficult to find in certain parts of the UK. Free WiFi even more so. However, if you wish to gain internet access, here’s what we have gathered. The information we provide is only pertinent to those visiting parts of East and West Sussex.
I can’t speak for all of England, but where we live, we can join the libraries in East and West Sussex as well as Kent. Both East Sussex and Kent libraries offer free internet access to their patrons. In West Sussex, you pay a fee – rather expensive if you pay one-time fees each time. The current rate is 1.25 GBP for one-half hour and 2.50 GBP for one hour. If you think you’ll be using it regularly, I’d advise paying the annual subscription of 15 GBP. Unfortunately, libraries here are not equipped for WiFi use. I speak first of libraries because everywhere we’ve lived in the US we’ve had free internet at our libraries, as well as WiFi. We had expected a similar situation in the UK.
McDonald’s, as mentioned previously, has free WiFi. But so do some other dining facilities. Specifically, Costa Cafe in Haywards Heath has free WiFi for its customers. We take full advantage of that. We’ve found other Costa Cafes but they do not offer the free WiFi. Some pubs offer free WiFi but they do not advertise it so prominently. (Perhaps, it is due to not wanting to attract the wrong crowd.) We’ve stayed at the Star Inn in Lingfield a few times and they offered free WiFi; however, your connection varies depending on which room you are placed. We lunched at the Red Lion in Nutfield and they offered free WiFi, but we were unable to gain access. It may have been our positioning.
Some hotels advertise WiFi, but be careful. If they do not say free WiFi, you can expect to pay for access. Although this is outside of our area, we can report that when we visited England previously we were offered free WiFi at the Best Western Lansdowne Strand Hotel in Calne (Wiltshire).
Although we have found lists of WiFi hotspots, many of the places mentioned do not offer free WiFi access. We are still experimenting with various places and will update the lists of free internet access as we find them.
New uses for McDonald’s! Eleven years ago, my friends and I took an extended European vacation. As most people are aware, free public restrooms were rare in Europe at the time (they may be still, but I have not been back to continental Europe since). We soon discovered that McDonald’s was very useful for bathroom breaks. None of us were regular patrons of McDonald’s, so our breaks consisted of running to the bathroom and out. It was less embarrassing to ask, “Where’s the nearest McDonald’s?” in any language than it is to figure out how to ask, “Where’s the WC?”. And in conversations, it was more pleasant to say, “I need a McDonald’s”.
Now, I am back in England and have found a new use for McDonald’s. And, no, it is still not the food. I don’t recall that McDonald’s offered free WiFi in the US, but they do here in the UK. I am unsure if it is the case at all McDonald’s, but it is in our area of East and West Sussex – East Grinstead, Uckfield and Burgess Hill. And you don’t even have to actually go in and eat in the McDonald’s. You have to beware, though, because there may be a time restriction on parking in some McDonald’s lot.