What can you do within an hour? Let's see - go from South East to North West London by tube, run few kilometres, walk probably half of that distance, and cook a casserole. You can also waste it in the queue in the bank or at the post office. But you can choose to do something what will enrich you and make your daily routine more exciting, like take part in a discussion, attend church service or learn how to sing. During lunch break most people rush in the direction they only know, others sit in the restaurants enjoying their meal with business partners, colleagues or friends but you can try to spend it differently I attended different lunchtime events within an hour and here are is the result.
I work in the part of London where there is nothing interesting to do and nowhere interesting to go, maybe apart from one big field. So on one of my days off I wanted to see how is it to take a 'real' lunch break in Central London. Before I arrived to Oxford Circus at 1pm I had to prepare good logistic plan and get to know what's available out there.
I started with lunch time service at All Souls Church at 1.05pm I was greeted by the church staff and took a seat at the back of the room as I didn’t want to disturb anyone later on when I would be leaving before the end of the service. The service lasts approximately 30 minutes and is followed by sandwich lunch, so you don't even need to eat later at your desk or spend extra money on your way back to the office. The service I attended gathered about 50-60 people. It started with a song followed by teaching. The theme was based on first two chapters of the book of Nehemiah and was part of the series – “In the workplace with… (fill in the gap with any Biblical character).” I had to rush off to another event, so I left All Souls Church before the service finished but it was a time well-spent and if I was working in the area I would be their guest more often.
I quickly walked to the tube station and took Bakerloo line to Trafalgar Square to attend the next event - a lunchtime talk in the National Gallery. I had problems with finding the room it was taking place, so I strongly advise you to find out the exact location before attending any lunchtime event. After all, you don't want to waste your precious time on running around a gallery or a church only to listen to the message for last few minutes and miss on the whole experience.
The room in Sainsbury Wing was packed when I arrived, mostly with middle age and elderly people listening to the lecture about “Post-impressionism and Roger Fry". The lecture was planned to last 45 minutes and even though I got there for only last ten minutes it still was a pleasure to get a bit of cultural knowledge and watch some interesting paintings with a commentary.
I managed to fit these two events within an hour and that included travelling from one place to another. Pretty good, isn't it? There are many more events available during lunch hour and you can enjoy them on different days of the week. One day you can attend a lecture, another a church service, a workshop or just walk around you workplace. Whatever you choose it will be time well-spent. Just don't plan too much for one hour as instead of enjoying one thing to the fullest you will get back to the office even more tired. The following day after church/gallery experience I went for a talk in Photographers' Gallery, also at Oxford Circus, and spent there most of my 'lunch break'. Meeting with people with similar interest in the middle of the day is refreshing and gives you inspiration to take back to the office for the rest of the day.
Spending lunchtime in a different way is a unique and positive experience. It showed me something new, it enriched me with knowledge and… logistic skills.
I appreciate all of those who organise lunchtime activities. They are creative in offering the public the best they can in a very short time. So instead of having your lunch 'al desko' go out there and check all those singing classes, scientific lectures, gym exercises, volunteering opportunities and many more…