After a long day of hard work, all any of us want is a way to relax and switch off and luckily in a city like London, there’s a whole host of things to do to unwind. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of the best after-work activities for you to try and make the most of your after-work hours that it might even feel as if it’s the weekend.
1. Enjoy a spot of wildlife-watching at Richmond Park
Shut down your computer, grab your jacket and pull on your boots (or wellies, we’re still in the rainy season after all). I don’t want to give you childhood flashbacks to parents interrupting video games, but I’ve got to say, after a day spent staring at screens, an escape to nature can be just the ticket to remind you of the world that exists outside the window. You can leave behind London’s labyrinthine streets for the evening and spend the next few hours taking in Richmond Park’s roaming deer, melodious birds, ancient trees and wild plant life.
The park is open 24 hours, so you have plenty of time to explore its natural delights – no torches or night vision goggles required. There’s also bike hire and horse-riding, so if you fancy taking it all in from two wheels – or four hooves – there’s that option too.
2. Take in city views over drinks at a rooftop bar
Rooftop bars haven’t been top of our list the past few months (blame the wind, fog, cold, you name it) but now we’re keeping our fingers crossed there’s going to be decent enough weather to venture upstairs and take in sweeping views of London once more. The city has no shortage of sky-high venues where you can enjoy an after-work tipple.
If you’re looking for a greenhouse-reminiscent setting, sipping Whiskey Smash cocktails among twisted vines and lush greenery, then The Culpeper in Spitalfields is perfect. Elsewhere, you can head over to Netil360 for laidback lagers and panoramic views of Shoreditch or admire the architecture of St Paul’s Cathedral from the botanical sanctuary of Sabine’s outdoor terrace.
3. Get stuck into some board games at Draughts
With locations in Hackney and Waterloo, Draughts is a chain of board game cafes that has over a thousand board games on their shelves for you to get stuck into and keep you entertained all night long. With such an amazing selection of games, you’ll be able to find all the classics along with loads of other games you’ve probably never heard of that you can try your luck at. What’s more, Draughts also has a range of delicious food, from burgers to Korean fried chicken and nachos as well as delicious drinks to fuel you for an evening of gaming.
4. Get transported to the Wild West at the Moonshine Saloon
For those who are on the hunt for some cocktails with a side of adventure and a hefty dash of theatrics, the Moonshine Saloon is king. Found in Aldgate, this immersive cocktail experience will see you rub shoulders with all manners of cowboys, cowgirls, gamblers and ramblers where you might even want to get in character yourself to blend with the crowd. Bartenders are on hand to transform the booze you’ve brought into personalised Old West cocktails, you’ll try your hand at some dice and card games, get the inside scoop of the operation from the King of Moonshiners, Clyde Cassidy, and watch on to see if the Sheriff is able to foil the covert liquor operation. It’s certainly a wild ride at the Moonshine Saloon, grab your tickets here.
5. Take a curious wander through Highgate Cemetery before night falls
One thing that’s been on our to-go-to list is paying a visit to the intriguing Highgate Cemetery, but exploring its Victorian graves, serpentine pathways and moss-peppered mausoleums in the darkness will give even the bravest among us the heebie-jeebies. Besides, it’s all the more spellbinding in the daylight, wandering among its maze of trees and perusing the gravestones of literary figures, defected russian spy Alexander Litvinenko (in a lead-lined coffin don’t worry) and even Karl Marx himself, though – insert pearl-clutching gasp here – you’ll have to pay £4 to see his statue-adorned grave as it is private property. If you’re looking to up the spook factor a bit more you can always take a gander around the subterranean Terrace Catacombs.
6. Unwind among the greenery at St. James Park
Brighten your afternoon with a visit to St. James’ Park to feast your eyes on the sea of sun-yellow daffodils that bloom every year. While star-fishing on top of them is a no-go, unless you want to be faced with a mob of flower fans and plagued with the guilt of crushing their fragile stems for the rest of your life, it’s the perfect backdrop for a selfie and a bit of late afternoon lounging. While you’re there you can always swing by the flower beds to breathe in their fresh fragrances before saying hi to the pelicans, who’ve been a St. James’s Park fixture for almost 400 years.
7. Step into an out-of-this-world cocktail adventure at Avora
Step onto an entirely different planet at this breathtaking immersive cocktail experience where you’ll find yourself on an all-important mission on planet Avora. Suit up in your bespoke Avora spacesuits and begin your journey at ‘Roscrop Laboratories’ where the story begins and start sourcing magical buds and secret elixirs for three mesmerising cocktails as you admire the bioluminescent trees cascade down from the ceiling. As you’re guided onto another area of Avora, more drama unfolds where you’ll be faced with a dilemma which we’ll leave you to discover. It’s an awe-inspiring and entirely immersive experience perfect for groups, grab your tickets here.
8. Try out a new nature-filled running route
Chances are you won’t be the only one who’s been reluctant to try new running routes during the darker seasons. Straying from the beaten path is not the best idea when night falls so it tends to put our running adventures on hold until we have more daylight to explore. After daylight savings, you’ll be working with lighter hours after work so this could be the time to up your training plan.
Those in need of a dose of nature to make their runs more interesting can finally take that detour through one of the green lungs of London, finding comfort in the swarms of people who will descend on the green expanses in sunnier climes rather than running tensely along a dimly-lit path with no one else in sight. The UNESCO-listed Greenwich Park in particular will delight even the most reluctant runner, with its deer park, 19th century Cutty Sark and lovely landscaped gardens ensuring an entertaining route.
9. Challenge your friend to a game of tennis
Wimbledon is on the distant horizon, wearing sports shorts is mildly less unthinkable and your competitive side is itching to be unleashed. We think it’s prime time for a game of tennis, don’t you? Handily, there are plenty of tennis courts to be found around London, most with idyllic surroundings and other outdoor features such as swimming pools or running tracks you can enjoy before or after a match.
You can find courts in Islington, Victoria Park, Brockwell Park and many more places across the city, each offering a therapeutic place to enjoy some fun cardio and healthy competition. Whether it’s your workmate, brother or a long-running tennis nemesis, get in touch with your competitor now to get a few matches booked in over spring.
10. Get a magical mood boost at Dopamine Land
Of course, it may be summer but this is England and we all know what the weather can be like (insert eye roll here). If you want to make the most of the longer evenings but the pesky rain is putting you off park strolls, you could always swing by Dopamine Land. The multisensory experience specialises in delivering happiness hormones which will help lift your spirits after a long day in the office. You can get your nature fix in the decompression room, where a soothing digital forest will recreate the natural light and fresh woodland fragrances so it will be as if you went for a nature-filled stroll in the sun without getting a drop of rain on you. There’s even a bubble bar bathed in colourful light where you can sip with a smile on your face – be sure to grab your tickets here.