No one wants to spend their lunch hour eating sad sarnies at their desk and scrolling through the news. From breaking up your day with a game of ping pong to a midday meditation sesh, these are the best things to do to upgrade your lunch hour.
The National Gallery runs free, hour-long sketching classes every Friday. Each session focuses on a different painting, which you’ll use as a starting point for your own artwork. Don’t panic, you’re not expected to recreate van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ in an hour but hey, it might just be good enough to make it on to your fridge.
Bring some sophistication to the middle of your day at a free classical music recital at St James’s Church Piccadilly. You can expect to see everything from cello ensembles to solo pianists. Makes a change from listening to your Spotify Daily Mix on repeat.
Don’t just feed your stomach at lunchtime, feed your mind too. University College London hosts free, 45-minute talks on all kinds of subjects for its Lunch Hour Lectures series. The talks tackle big topics in a small amount of time so they’re a good way of keeping up with important issues without subjecting yourself to reading endless news about the dreaded b-word.
No one wants to spend their lunch hour in the gym, so pretend you’re being ‘active’ with a game of table tennis instead. Round up your colleagues for a sesh at ping pong bar Bounce, which opens at lunchtime on Fridays. And if the boss asks why you’ve been in a bar at noon, tell them table tennis is a sport so you’re technically burning off those pints…
Pull your eyeballs away from the computer screen and learn about ancient cultures at the British Museum’s free gallery talks. Upcoming topics range from Greek mythology to a session on love tokens. Trust us, it’ll be way more interesting than your GCSE history classes.
Close to the concrete jungle of Liverpool Street lies an eighteenth-century time capsule in the form of this house/art project by Dennis Severs. Described as a ‘still life drama’, the ten rooms of this original Huguenot family home have been decked out to recreate snapshots of life in Spitalfields between 1724 and 1914. With candles burning, different smells lingering and objects scattered all over the house, it aims to tickle the imaginations of visitors by using scents and sounds to make them feel like they’ve gone back in time. The tours are done in complete silence, so no giggling.
If you’re one downward-dog-filled yoga class away from tearing up your gym leggings, make t’ai chi your new chilled-out activity. Pop Brixton hosts weekly workouts that focus on circulation, flexibility and core strength. The classes are drop-in and totally free, so you’ve got no excuse not to go.
Escape lunchtime small talk with your colleagues and take some time to really relax at Inner Space. The Covent Garden-based meditation centre hosts free, 30-minute lunchtime sessions and stressed-out City workers can join in at Templeton House near Moorgate. The classes aim to relax the mind and body – and you’ll hopefully miss the lunchtime rush to use the office microwave too.