Brighton has free wi-fi along the seafront, and in lots of cafés, bars and restaurants. Brighton has lots of web agencies, software companies, financial institutions and a thriving tech community.
Uckfield is somewhat different. There are very few tech companies in Uckfield. Apart from one or two geek dinners that I organised a while back, there is no tech community in Uckfield. Just like with clothes shopping, you'd have to go to Brighton for that. I've tried working in various catering establishments in Uckfield, but they're not that geared up for it.
Here's a quick run down on what Uckfield has to offer the mobile worker:
- Vespa. The only place in Uckfield with free wi-fi. Despite this, I've been there only once. MTV was on quite loud, playing music I didn't like. It closes at 4pm, which means I had to find somewhere else to go. The coffee was fine, but I didn't feel that comfortable there.
- The Coffee House. Opposite Vespa, but not near enough to filch their wi-fi. I've met Heath, the guy in charge, only twice, but already he feels like a friend. Very friendly and welcoming. There aren't many tables, and the chairs are rather uncomfortable for working at though.
- Costa. The nicest interior by far, and I like the coffee. I asked about wi-fi, and they said they're always asked, but apparently the owner isn't that bothered about it. They might put it in and charge for it one day. I did manage to connect to someone else's unsecured network sitting in the front of the shop though.
- Luna. Being a restaurant, it's open after the cafés close, so I'll head there if I'm working late. I'm always made to feel welcome, although it is disconcerting sitting near couples out for a romantic meal (I'm sure they're less than delighted too). Although it advertises wi-fi on the sandwich board outside, it hasn't been working for yonks.
There are a few other places to try, but they look even less promising than these. Even though it takes an hour to get to Brighton in rush hour, it's still a good alternative. Clearly there's no mention of co-working in Uckfield (although I can use a window-less room in our church office), so I'm hoping that The Source will be a good option when it opens soon.