Not used them in UK but in France you can usually get a signal if you are parked close in the carpark .When connected you get a free login page and away you go. Then you don't have to drink that awful coffee.
This site Mcdonnalds WIFI gives locations and you can get them in POI format for your navigator somewhere.
In France you log in, fill in the online form and sign up - putting in your e-mail address and ticking the box allowing McD's to send you advertising bumpf ( which they have never done incidentally but the tick is a condition of use) When that is done you are in and can use the service. You can then log in immediately where ever you are for 6 months.
In Switzerland you need a mobile phone with you. You start up your computer, get the log in page and follow the instructions. Your PIN number is sent to you on your mobile phone within seconds and you put the number in on the appropriate page and you're in. Keep the number handy.
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