Great things to do near London Waterloo

Check out our list of brilliant things to do - all within a few minutes of London Waterloo

London has so many amazing things to do – but did you know that there’s plenty to see and do just a few minutes' walk from London Waterloo station? Southwark and the South Bank have museums, shopping, food, drink, and even ships to explore. From the Tate Museum to Borough Market, things to do are plentiful - but we've picked out some great more hidden gems too.

Our new TV advert takes our family and their newly-created memories through the South Bank – why not check out where they might have been below?

Golden Hinde

This remarkable ship was the first to circumnavigate the globe – a feat taking Francis Drake and his crew 3 years to complete. Of course, this is a replica – but built using the traditional methods, and is still sailable to this day, having navigated to both San Francisco, Vancouver and Japan.

The ship offers self-guided tours allowing you to go at your own pace or join a member of the crew for a view into history. You can even hire out the ship for a birthday party!

Getting to the Golden Hinde

Change at London Waterloo for trains to London Bridge from London Waterloo East. It’s just 5 minutes’ walk from London Bridge station. Best of all, you can travel to London Bridge on your London Terminals ticket at no extra cost if you use National Rail services!

Southwark Cathedral

Just a couple of minutes from the Golden Hinde is Southwark Cathedral. People have been worshipping on the site for more than 1,000 years, although the majority of the cathedral as seen today was constructed between 1220 and 1420.

The cathedral is today home to a wonderful surviving Lewis & Co organ – now 122 years old – in regular use with the cathedral’s choirs.

Getting to Southwark Cathedral

Change at London Waterloo for trains to London Bridge from London Waterloo East. It’s just 5 minutes’ walk from London Bridge station. Best of all, you can travel to London Bridge on your London Terminals ticket at no extra cost if you use National Rail services!

Oxo Tower Wharf

The Oxo Tower started life as a power station, but of course became much more famous for its iconic tower – designed after advertising permission for Oxo cubes was refused!

While access to the tower is limited to maintenance staff only, there’s still plenty to see at Oxo Tower Wharf – from Harvey Nichol’s first restaurant, the stunning views of the river and St Paul’s Cathedral, to the highly enviable selection of boutique shops to pick up some unique souvenirs.

Getting to Oxo Tower Wharf

Just a short walk from London Waterloo along the South Bank – the tower itself is unmissable!

Southbank Centre

The Southbank Centre attracts more than four million visitors each year, and for good reason – home to four orchestras, a gallery, and a festival hall of its own, it’s a cultural icon of London. Its Brutalist architectural design makes it a unique photo spot, with great views along the river towards the London Eye and St Paul’s Cathedral. It’s also right next to the National Theatre and the British Film Institute – making a trip here worth an afternoon all by itself.

Getting to the Southbank Centre

Head out of London Waterloo through the Victory Arch entrance (exit number five) – head to the river bank and cross under Waterloo Bridge.

Gabriel's Wharf

Another unique shopping destination, this old storage area for the ITV London Studios next door is now a haven of boutique stores and independent restaurants. Whether you’re looking for Nordic knitwear, seasonal treats at Studio Six, or some sumptuous souvlaki – it’s all here.

Getting to Gabriel’s Wharf

Just a few yards from Oxo Tower Wharf, back towards London Waterloo.

London Eye

The iconic Coca-Cola London Eye has dominated the skyline opposite Parliament since the year 2000 and is now the most popular paid attraction in the UK. Nearly four million visitors flock to see this unique view on London every year!

The 30-minute round trip lets you see an incredible view of the London skyline from 135 metres in the air. Plus, you can get 2FOR1 entry to the Coca-Cola London Eye with your rail ticket!

Getting to the Coca-Cola London Eye

Head out of London Waterloo South Bank exit (exit number six). Take the stairs down to York Road, and head left (keeping the river on your right). Turn right at Chicheley Street, and the London Eye will be directly in front of you.

SEA LIFE Centre London Aquarium

County Hall was once the home to London’s city council. Now, it’s home to entertainment centres and hotels – including the SEA LIFE London Aquarium. With six different zones to explore and observe the fascinating sea life, from octopuses to Gentoo penguins, and sea dragons to green turtles.

Getting to SEA LIFE London Aquarium

County Hall is easy to get to – it’s right next to the London Eye. Head out of London Waterloo using exit number six, head up York Road, and turn right at Chicheley Street. Walk down to the London Eye, and turn left.

Florence Nightingale Museum

A must for the budding doctor or nurse, this museum celebrates the life and work of that most famous of nurses – Florence Nightingale. From her childhood to Crimean War and the healthcare crisis that it created, and on to her time as an ardent reformer for the modern nursing we know in the United Kingdom today.

The museum is based in the grounds of St Thomas’ Hospital – on the site of the old Nightingale Training School for nurses.

Getting to the Florence Nightingale Museum

Using exit six at London Waterloo, head down York Road towards Westminster Bridge. The Florence Nightingale Museum is across the road from the Park Plaza hotel.

National Theatre

In amongst the Southbank Centre is the National Theatre. Home to three theatres inside, you’ll see everything from Shakespeare to international classic drama here.

Even if you’re not here for a show, the architecture is a much-discussed topic, with the theatre having the rare distinction of having been in both “most popular” and “most hated” London buildings – simultaneously! The foyers are open to the public, with a number of restaurants, bars and exhibition spaces – and a well-stocked theatrical bookshop.

Getting to the National Theatre

Head out of London Waterloo through the Victory Arch entrance (exit number five) – head to the river bank and cross under Waterloo Bridge.

Leake Street Arches

This unique celebration of urban art is located under Waterloo station. This community of independent restaurants, bars and entertainment spaces occupy one of the coolest spaces in London – railway arches in the famous Graffiti Tunnel.

From Vietnamese delicacies at Banh Bao, to London’s first board game café at Draughts – this is a spot not to be missed.

Getting to the Leake Street Arches

Head out of London Waterloo exit one and turn right. Head down Station Approach Road, and the steps down into Leake Street are right before the road turns right towards Westminster Bridge.

If all this has inspired you to head to the capital, why not check out our destination guide?