After an extended period of zoom calls, questionable home office setups and makeshift laptop stands, many of us are heading back to the office. And while there are pros to the wfh life, there are also lots of undeniable perks to being back in the heart of our lovely city. Like group socials with your friends and colleagues, discovering more of London’s hidden gems and making the most of all the great art, culture and music on your doorstep!
To help you capitalise on all this and more, we’ve partnered with South Western Railway to bring you a weekly guide of the best things to do, see and experience near Waterloo station. Why not sneak in a post-work hour of fun before your commute home or make the most of your lunch break?
It’s a great way to preserve your work/life balance while enjoying the very best that London has to offer. So, keep reading for some marvellous midweek inspo!
Things to do with your mates
Unsurprisingly, research shows that reconnecting with friends and colleagues is the number one motivation to return to the office. (We knew you were only in it for the social!) But seriously, after 2021 we’re still catching up on our social interactions – so no judgement. To celebrate the reunion with your work pals, why not organise a fun team outing to Draughts Waterloo? This board game café allows you to combine your lockdown addiction to puzzles with post-work drinks.
Price: £6 per person gaming admission
Location: 16 Leake Street, London SE1 7NN
Distance from Waterloo Station: 5 min walk
Undiscovered places to explore
After months of staring at the same four walls, we bet you’re ready to treat yourself to some adventure. Whether that be stumbling upon hidden street art, wandering around pockets of green spaces, or discovering secret music venues – London promises a new experience every night, if you’re game. This week, we’re recommending The Hidden Jazz Club in The Vaults Theatre tucked away in the disused railway arches right outside Waterloo Station. This atmospheric venue is completely artist-run, spontaneous, relaxed, and is a great place to see world class artists perform some amazing live jazz.
Price: From £20, book in advance
Location: The Vaults Theatre, The Vaults Theatre, Launcelot Street, Waterloo, SE1 7AD
Distance from Waterloo Station: 1 min walk
Something free to enjoy
One of the best things about being in central London is all the incredible exhibitions and art installations you can admire for free. It means that you can keep up all the good saving habits you cultivated in lockdown, while still getting that daily dose of culture! This week, why not stop by the Southbank Centre on your way home and admire The Train exhibition. It’s a slideshow of selected artworks from Hong Kong artist Chihoi’s graphic novel, based on a story by Taiwanese poet Hung Hung, which evokes a dreamlike train journey.
Location: Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX
Distance from Waterloo Station: 5 min walk
An SWR reward to cash in
Did you know that you can get free access to exclusive offers and deals when you buy your train ticket with SWR. They’re unlocking amazing commuter perks across various venues in London (and beyond!) allowing you to cash in on great discounts, free drinks and more! Find out more here.
Each week we’re picking out one SWR Reward to help elevate your non-wfh days, and this time it’s all about coffee. Wander across Waterloo Bridge into Covent Garden and you can get 20% off your first coffee at The Gentlemen Baristas, 3 Henrietta Street. Perfect to kickstart your day or as a lunchtime pick me up!
To help you keep your fingers firmly on the pulse of city living, South Western Railway’s winged friends, Sandy and Wes are on hand to provide their top recommendations. Sandy is a culture vulture with a love for the arts, theatre and lunching with the girls, while Wes loves clubs, pubs and going to gigs with his mates. But one thing they can both agree on is the importance of finding a good spot for a meal out with friends! They’ve joined forces to share their restaurant, café and bar suggestions for the week ahead, so you can spread your wings in style.
Wes and Sandy’s star of the week:
For a glass of vino with your work pals in a cosy booth or on a heated terrace, visit Unwined Wine Bar. You can also tuck into Mediterranean-inspired sharing plates from resident chefs, Klose and Soan. 137 Lower Marsh, London SE1 7AE