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Central London Office Space

With over 23 million square feet (2.4 million square metres) of office space available to rent in Central London, businesses and organisations seeking accommodation are spoilt for choice.

These office spaces vary considerably in specifications and amenities and are situated in numerous locations across the UK capital, all with unique characteristics and charm.

With a population of 9.7 million, London is the 36th largest city in the world. Yet it is the second most powerful financial centre and, with over 18 million annual visitors, the second most visited city in the world.

This is why approximately 100 multinational companies choose London as their head office or headquarters base and why over 10 million square feet of office space is rented annually by a wide range of businesses and organisations from various sectors in Central London.

Some definitions state that ‘Central London’ is an area that extends from Primrose Hill in the north to Pimlico in the south and from Kensington in the west to Spitalfields in the east. However, the office of the Mayor of London defines it in terms of the “Central Activities Zone” of the UK capital, comprising the City of London, the City of Westminster, which includes the West End, and the inner parts of Camden, Islington, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Southwark, Lambeth and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

The 10-year average for the annual amount of space ‘taken up’ in Central London through office leasing deals is 10.2 million square feet (948,000 square metres).

In the City of London, the 10-year average for the annual office space rented is 5.6 million square feet (520,000 square metres). The average of East London and Canary Wharf is 917,000 square feet (85,000 square metres). In the West End, the 10-year average is 913,000 square feet (85,000 square metres).

Many businesses rent prime Grade A or Class A office space in brand-new buildings ranging from skyscrapers to ‘groundscrapers’. This type of space is equipped with state-of-the-art technology, many examples have excellent amenities for tenants such as barista bars, gyms, meditation rooms and roof terraces and in the majority of cases has been designed in a sustainable way ensuring that environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations have been made. This means that the construction process was environmentally friendly, the building is heated and powered efficiently, and tenants can travel to and use the building in a carbon-aware manner, utilising cycle storage and shower facilities, for instance.

There is a growing number of options for businesses that do not wish to rent office space in Central London in the conventional manner. The UK capital has over two hundred flexible office providers and operators ranging from international household names to smaller London-based operators.

Within this group is a select handful that can be described as premium office providers. These provide the same calibre of Grade A and Cat A office space in the same locations and, indeed, in the same buildings. However, the space is offered on short-term flexible contracts, eliminating the pressure of making long-term commitments. Tenants, of course, can extend these contracts should they wish.

These spaces, sometimes referred to as Cat A+ offices, are available on flexible licences. The tenant also has the option to seamlessly upgrade to a larger suite as business needs dictate. With the variety of stock available in Central London, tenants can choose suites for 2 desks up to 250+ desks.

These flexible office spaces and workspace solutions, sometimes known as flex spaces, are essentially fully fitted, plug-and-play workspaces that are ready to move into.

These options, which include private serviced offices, managed offices, and co-working spaces, have the added advantage that they are occupied on all-inclusive packages, meaning that the monthly rental fee covers utilities, cleaning, enterprise-grade IT systems, furnishings, and enhanced services such as boardroom use and reception, secretarial, and concierge services.

The high-end office providers and operators don’t only offer this exceptional flexible office space in brand new office buildings, they also hand-pick beautiful, often listed, properties such as Georgian terraces in locations throughout Central London such as Belgravia, Knightsbridge, Marylebone, Mayfair and St James’s from which to offer their extraordinary business spaces.

How Much Does It Cost To Rent Office Space in Central London?

When leasing best-in-class office space, pricing is dependent on the location. Prime office rents in the West End are £140 per square foot per annum, in the City of London, £80 per square foot, and rental rates for prime office space in East London, including Canary Wharf, are £58 per square foot.

Of course, record rents that exceed these numbers have been paid for outstanding office spaces in several cases. For instance, £190 per square foot was paid for a 4,000-square-foot office at No. 5 St James’s Square in 2017. In 2019, £250 per square foot was paid for a 3,000-square-foot office at No. 30 in Berkeley Square and in 2020, £277.50 per square foot per annum was agreed for a 2,700 square-foot office suite in the same property.

Flexible office and workspace solutions, such as private serviced offices, managed office suites, floors and buildings, and co-working spaces, are priced per desk per month.

The pricing is all-inclusive and covers the rent, utilities, cleaning, furnishings, insurance, reception services and other items. In most cases, unless bespoke custom fit-outs are desired, little or no upfront capital expenditure is required.

A guide to average desk rates for premium, flexible offices across Central London is as follows:

City of London
Fenchurch Street880
Liverpool Street840
St Paul’s815
East London and Docklands
Bethnal Green385
Canary Wharf540
Old Street790
North London
Kings Cross885
Southbank and SE1
London Bridge805
West End
Covent Garden880
St James’s1,155
West of Central London and West London
Notting Hill650
Shepherd’s Bush775

High-end flexible offices and workspaces in Central London have first-class facilities, and occupiers enjoy premium customer service.

They are also located in areas that offer an array of amenities such as 5-star hotels, highly acclaimed restaurants, world-class shopping, and convenient transport links.

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