London living certainly has it’s perks, but there’s no denying that life in the Big Smoke can sometimes feel a bit like you’re on a never-ending conveyor belt of busy tubes, even busier diaries, and a relentless stream of blue light.
Our eyes are constantly glued to a screen, whether that be for work, entertainment, or to turn off one of the many alarms we’ve set as a reminder to give our plants (and ourselves) a drink of water for the first time in days.
We all know that the age old trick of switching-it-off-and-back-on-again works every time, so here’s your sign to slow down, switch off, and look up from that darn phone of yours (well, not right this second – read this first) because this is our round up of the very best things to do in London that don’t involve technology.
1. Laugh your socks off at a comedy club
We’re all well aware that laughter is the best medicine, so first up on our list of ways to switch off from technology in London is a trip to one of London’s comedy clubs.
From slapstick to satire, London’s comedy scene has something to offer everybody, no matter what it is that tickles your funny bone. Plus, you’ll be belly laughing so much, you’ll completely forget to check your phone.
2. Pamper yourself with a soothing spa day
Next up on the list we have the holy grail of self-care and the ultimate ‘me-time‘: a visit to one of London’s sensational spas.
It’s time to hit that do-not-disturb button and get the cucumber slices at the ready because there really is nothing like a sauna and a whirlpool to give you the ultimate setting for your digital detox.
From basic to bougee and everything in between, London certainly isn’t short of spas that will transport you from the hubbub of the city to an oasis of complete-and-utter calm. Aaand relax…
3. Get competitive at a board game café
There’s nothing like a bit of healthy competition to prise you away from your electronic devices, so a trip to a board game café is another wonderful way to switch off from technology in London.
Draught’s London, for example, has over 1000 board games to choose from as well as an extensive food and drinks menu to keep you fueled and hydrated (yep, we take board-gaming pretty seriously around here).
Channel your inner property mogul in a game of Monopoly, sink some Battleships, flex your literary muscles in a round of Scrabble, or throw a total tantrum over a game of Snakes and Ladders (I’m ashamed to say that I’m speaking from experience with this one).
Just a quick warning though: your friendships may be as wobbly as a tower of Jenga blocks by the time you head home.
Arch 16, Leake Street, SE1 7NN and 41 Kingsland High Street, E8 2JS
Plan your visit here.
4. Unleash your inner child at an adult ball pit
Ahh, remember the good old days? Beanie babies, ball pits, not having to pay bills…
Okay so, we can’t help you with the whole bill-paying thing, but we can point you in the direction of Ballie Ballerson, an adult ball pit that involves so much nostalgic fun, the only technology that will even cross your mind whilst you’re in there is the long-lost Tamogotchi you received for your ninth birthday.
Over a million balls (sorry, what?), a banging playlist, and a menu full of delicious cocktails – what could possibly go wrong?
Round up your pals, dive in, and have an all-round fa-ball-ous time, get it?
97-113 Curtain Road, EC2A 3BS
Plan your visit here.
5. Spend some time with animals
Animal lovers – this one is for you. Is there anything more feel-good than stepping away from your devices and spending the day surrounded by furry friends? I think not.
However, if farms just don’t cut it for you and its more exotic animals that you’re yearning for, ZSL London Zoo has you covered with all the animals you could dream of, from lions and lemurs to tigers and tarantulas.
Or perhaps a cat café is more up your street if a tech-free afternoon filled with cappuccinos and kitten cuddles sounds purr-fect to you.
I’ll admit: it will be difficult to resist reaching for your phone to snap a quick picture for your Instagram story but I guess all you can do is try your best, hey?
6. Admire London from the sky
If anything is going to distract you from your phone, it’s the breathtaking views you will get from London’s highest public garden.
Sky Garden is the indoor paradise up on the 43rd floor of the Walkie Talkie building. Admire the gorgeous greenery and gawp at London’s most iconic skyscrapers through the huge floor-to-ceiling windows.
If you fancy feeling extra zen, they even offer yoga in the sky, where you can practise your downward-facing-dog 43-floors up in the air. Namaste.
20 Fenchurch Street, EC3M 8AF
Plan your visit here.
7. Get your culture fix at one of London’s museums
We’re slightly spoilt for choice when it comes to the wonderful assortment of museums we have here in London, but regardless of which one takes your fancy, paying a visit will certainly be a wonderful way to switch off from technology.
8. Get out in nature at one of London’s gorgeous green spaces
Put on your walking shoes, pack yourself and picnic, and get yourself out in the fresh air because there’s no better way to take a break from technology than to pay a visit to some of the beautiful parks and gardens we have on our doorstep.
Hop on a pedalo in Hyde Park, cycle through Regent’s Park, say hello to the deer in Richmond Park, and just enjoy soaking up the rays from the sun instead of the rays from your phone screen.
I guess I’ll let you off if you need to whip out your phone to citymapper your way back to the tube station, because quite frankly, we’ve all been there.
9. Bury yourself in a bookshop
The penultimate entry on our list of ways to switch off from technology in London is an oldie but a goodie because it really is one of life’s simple pleasures to spend an afternoon hidden away in a cosy bookshop, looking for the latest title to add to your ever growing to-be-read pile.
Feel like you’ve stepped back in time with a wander down Cecil Court, a little side street lined with secondhand bookstores (which is basically every book-worm’s dream come true), or hop aboard the floating bookshop that is Word on the Water where you can browse bookshelves whilst bobbing happily on Regent’s Canal.
10. Learn a new skill
Rounding off the list of the best things to do to switch off from technology in London is stepping out of your comfort zone and stepping in to what will probably become your new personality for the next few months, let’s be honest.
We’re lucky enough to live in a city that is bursting at the seams with classes and workshops, so it’s literally never been easier to learn a new skill. Plus, if you don’t get your phone out, there’s no way of documenting it if you turn out to be rubbish. Bonus!
See yourself as the next Nigella Lawson? Whack on an apron and get yourself down to a cookery class. Want to recreate that scene from Ghost? Well luckily for you, there’s a whole load of pottery classes at your fingertips. More of a Dirty Dancing fan? You guessed it: there’s dance classes galore in our beloved city.
Whatever it is that you fancy turning your hand at: just go for it. After all, every day is a school day, right?