With the spring sunshine making a welcome return, there’s never been a better reason to peel yourself from the sofa and make the most of what this great city has to offer. With temperatures on the rise, it’s time to ditch that winter jumper, prepare for t-shirt tan-lines and venture out in search of the best brunches and activities around.
Need some inspiration? We’ve partnered with South Western Railway to help you make the most of your weekend. So, if you’re ready to discover your next favourite lunch spot, the best panoramic views in the city or perhaps mix things up with delectable martini (shaken, not stirred), these are the locations worth visiting.
Things to do with your mates
If karaoke isn’t quite your thing but you’re more than up for a group chorus of Mamma Mia! (with a side of fizz), Blame Gloria Bar should be your next brunch location. Inspired by Swedish Eurovision legends ABBA, this bottomless brunch spot might just be the ultimate bonding experience, serving up a stellar soundtrack, West-End stars and the most outrageous drag host you could wish for. Now, if that sounds like your cup of tea (or Aperol Spritz), it’s time to unleash your inner Super Trouper and head out on the 80s-inspired voyage you never knew you needed.
Blame Gloria Bar – themed brunches
Price: £55 (includes 2 hours of bottomless drinks and brunch)
Location: (Covent Garden) 20 Bedford Street, London, WC2E 9HP or (Clapham Junction) 89-91 Battersea Rise, London, SW11 1HW
Perfect for: Letting loose and indulging
Undiscovered places to explore
Hidden amongst London’s winding side streets are a host of independent businesses waiting to be discovered. Make Your Own is no exception – an art studio playing host to all kinds of creative classes. From pottery workshops and pyrography lessons through to lino printing and yoga, these hands-on classes are ideal whether you’re looking for an alternative date idea or simply fancy yourself as a budding Picasso. The best part? Most of the sessions are BYOB (check online for details), meaning you can, quite literally, get those creative juices flowing.
Make Your Own – Arts Studio
Price: Prices start at £40
Location: M.Y.O @ Re-creation, Borough, 82 Redcross Way, London, SE1 1HA
Perfect for: Re-energising creativity and expressing yourself
Something free to enjoy
There’s nothing more satisfying than bagging a freebie, particularly where London is concerned. Overflowing with free activities and pop-up events, there’s always something new to discover – whether you’re on a budget or just fancy saving the pennies. This week, we’re waxing lyrical about the National Poetry Library at London’s Southbank Centre. Usually a place you associate with live musical performances, this creative sanctuary is also home to over 200,000 of the finest poetry books around. Hidden away on level five of the Royal Festival Hall, the collection includes books, magazines, audio recordings and children’s books – all free to browse, even for non-members. If you fancy loaning anything from the library, that’s also pretty do-able, given the fact membership is absolutely free! It really is a win-win.
National Poetry Library at the Southbank Centre
Location: Level 5, Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, London SE1 8XX
Perfect for: Literature filled leisure time
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 South Western Rail. If unlocking amazing perks across various venues in London (and beyond!) sounds like your thing, make sure you cash in on plenty of great discounts and freebies by clicking here.
Each week we’ll be picking one SWR Reward to add a touch of sparkle to your weekend, and this suggestion is guaranteed to catch the attention of wine lovers. If you haven’t heard of Frenchie Covent Garden by now, where have you been? The newest London outpost of the Michelin-starred Frenchie restaurant, its name comes from the affectionate nickname bestowed upon founder Gregory Marchand by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. Offering SWR customers a complimentary glass of wine, all that’s required is to present your valid SWR train ticket to your server upon arrival.
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:
In keeping with the winged nature of our favourite SWR duo, this week’s recommendation as picked by Wes and Sandy is none other than Seabird. Located on the roof of The Hoxton, it’s the ideal spring spot for city-wide views with a hint of sunshine. Serving up sea-to-table offerings with a Spanish & Portuguese twist, the delectable dishes on offer look almost too good to devour (please do though, they’re a taste sensation). The Rooftop, The Hoxton Southwark, 40 Blackfriars Road, London, SE1 8NY
Don’t miss it!
Artist-designer Leeroy New’s awe-inspiring art installation is taking Somerset House courtyard by storm (or flood). The Arks of Gimokudan were created in honour of Earth Day 2022, and you can go and visit them for free! Raised up to three metres from the ground, an illusion is created in which the Arks appear to float, inviting visitors to imagine they are underwater. These 3 imposing structures were hand-fashioned using recycled materials and plastic waste. With these structures, New advocates transformative environmental change and encourages a reimagining of a more positive future. This is Leeroy New’s first large scale installation in the UK, and it really is an amazing sight to behold. But hurry, these vast vessels sail away after April 26!
The Arks of Gimokudan by Leeroy New
Location: Somerset House Courtyard
Perfect for: Spreading a positive message and inspiring change
Ends: April 26