Waterloo Vaults is probably the most fun you can have underground.
Wandering into a maze of dark tunnels beneath the city doesn’t sound like the greatest night out. But when said tunnels are filled with theatre, comedy, and all kinds of immersive events, it’s a different story. The place in question is Waterloo Vaults – currently home to the VAULT Festival – hidden deep beneath Waterloo station, where the rattle of trains only adds to the underground atmosphere.
Waterloo Vaults isn’t the kind of place you’d stumble on by chance. Unless, of course, you make a habit of wandering through graffiti-covered tunnels.
To be fair, the street art around here is stunning, and well worth a visit. Leake Street is one place in London where graffiti is not just tolerated, but actively encouraged, earning it the nickname “Banksy Street”.
However, what’s inside the venue is equally edifying. Waterloo Vaults is London’s home for anything wacky, weird, and wonderful. Imagine the Edinburgh Fringe, but underground and with fewer bagpipes, and you’ll get a sense of what happens down in the vaults.
Up-and-coming comedians, new and inventive theatre, and immersive dining experiences barely scratch the surface of what’s on offer at Waterloo Vaults. The network of rooms have seen some truly bizarre stuff over the years, and if you’ve got a suitably unique idea, you can host one too! Every performance space is up for hire, and with names like “The Long Wet One” and “The Big Black One”, you know they’ll be perfect for whatever you’ve cooked up.
Waterloo Vaults also operate a nearby pub, punderfully named Vaulty Towers. Best time for a visit? Definitely Mondays, when they host a riotously fun pub quiz, complete with outlandish punishments and copious amounts of shots.
With so much on offer at Waterloo Vaults, it looks like the Tube isn’t the only reason to venture underground anymore.
Waterloo Vaults is currently hosting Vault Festival, and we’ve found the best stuff to see.
Location: Launcelot Street, Lambeth, SE1 7AD. Nearest station is, unsurprisingly, Waterloo. See it on Google Maps.
Opening hours: Honestly, it depends on the event you’re here to see.
Entry: free, but most events are ticketed.
More information: visit their website.
Featured image: @fabsting