Feeling comfortable spending time alone in a city like London is one thing, but actively putting aside time to plan solo activities is another thing entirely. But whatever reservations you may or may not have, we’ve partnered with South Western Railway to give you some inspo on fun, liberating ways to enjoy spending time by yourself in the capital.
1. Go shopping
If you haven’t already dipped your toe into the world of solo shopping, then you need to get to know. Because taking all the time you need to dither and decide without impatient foot tapping in your periphery is liberating, meditative even! And when you enter the realm of charity shops, vintage stores and car boot sales, going it alone renders shopping a different sport entirely. With only yourself to think about, browsing for those hidden gems becomes a streamlined operation. In need of a second opinion on your purchase? Just send your friend a picture.
2. Replenish your cupboards on Electric Avenue
Taking into account everything we said in the previous section, there’s no need to give you the hard sell on solo shopping a second time over. But honestly what could be more satisfying than ticking off a bit of life admin and having a great time whilst doing so? Brixton Market is like a playground for people who love food. And you’ll find every freezer and cupboard staple you could ever need (and a hundred others you didn’t know you did) throughout its array of world food stores. Once you’ve stocked up on frozen dumplings and pickled chillies, you might as well visit the butchers or the fresh fish counters and make a meal of it. Electric Avenue, SW9 8JY
3. Visit a tarot card reader
By no means are we encouraging you to take the words of a tarot card reader as gospel. But solo activities are great for self-reflection. And there’s nothing like a stranger giving their take on your past, present and future to get the cogs turning…
It’s an experience, if nothing else – definitely one that can be repurposed into an anecdote. But you never know, taking a moment to look inward might even offer you a new perspective, sparking a series of positive changes in your life. There’s only one way to find out!
4. Do up self-care day at a spa
We shouldn’t need to justify why this is one of the best solo activities. Since when did anyone want to chat whilst getting a massage? Or a facial? That’s far too much exertion for something that’s supposed to be relaxing. Of course, spa days are an indulgence, but sometimes that’s just what the doctor ordered. If you need some inspo for a spa day that won’t leave your bank account in complete tatters then the award-winning York Hall Day Spa in Wimbledon is a great option (but they have branches dotted all over London!). Wimbledon Leisure Centre and Spa, Latimer Road SW19 1EW
5. Go to a dating event
It goes without saying that this one is for the singles among you. And even within that cohort, there’s inevitably going to be a variety of reactions to this suggestion. Some will see a dating event as an exciting opportunity to meet new people. Others will see it as a fun excuse to do something a little bit different. Understandably, there will be a few who have instantly switched off because they could never. Consider this a challenge to those people. Like most things in life – whether or not the intended outcome comes into fruition, it will not be a wasted venture. At best, you meet the love of your life – and either way, you’ve just made a big deposit in the Bank of Life Experience, which is just as valuable in our opinion. Not sure where to start? We recommend trying Thursday and True Dating to get the ball rolling.
6. Have a boujee movie night
Depending on how well-versed you are in the world of solo activities, the world really is your oyster. But if you’re new to it, the cinema is definitely a great induction. We also see a solo cinema trip as a great excuse to push the boat out a bit. And by that we mean a screen with sofas, F&B delivered to your seat – you get the picture. Londoners are spoiled for choice when it comes to luxury cinemas, but if you are in need of some inspo, we’ve got a whole list of them right here.
7. Stroll through Hampton Court Palace
As much as we love a walk in our local park, the level of familiarity doesn’t necessarily breed inspiration. Hampton Court Palace, on the other hand, will quite literally transport you to another era, offering escapism in the form of gorgeous views, flourishing gardens and regal State Apartments. It really is a wonderful place to go and just tap out for a bit – you’re sure to return home feeling revitalised. And with this SWR reward, you can get 10% off your peak time ticket. Hampton Court Palace, Hampton Ct Way, Molesey, East Molesey KT8 9AU
8. Wes and Sandy’s pick of the week
South Western Railway’s winged friends, Sandy and Wes are always ready to share their top London recommendations. Sandy loves the arts, theatre and lunching with the girls, while Wes loves clubs, pubs and going to gigs with his mates. But one thing they will never disagree on is the beauty of the baked good (and their love of solo activities!). And that’s why they love pointing people in the direction of Bread Ahead, one of London’s most beloved bakeries, for a little bit of upskilling in the form of a baking workshop. Courses range from half a day to three days, and you can learn to make everything from New York bagels and Middle Eastern flat bread to croissants and their famous filled donuts. Borough Market and other locations.
9. Take yourself out for dinner
Despite what you might think, you don’t necessarily need to cross borders to experience your Eat, Pray, Love moment. Don’t underestimate the power of a solo meal in an enchanting setting to help you reconnect with yourself! London is full of fantastic restaurants perfect for a dinner for one. But here’s a recommendation to get phase one (Italy!) of the adventure in action. Maremma in Brixton has the kind of inviting, rustic but cosy interior that’ll remove any potential apprehension about dining alone. The staff are so lovely, and once you get started on the food, your awareness of the absence of a companion will dissipate instantly because it really is that good. 36 Brixton Water Lane, SW2 1PE