British coach stations are renowned for being bleak at the best of times. Think echoing high ceilings, hard plastic seating, blasts of chilly breezes when the automatic doors open, diesel fumes, and malfunctioning vending machines frequently the only source of sustenance.
Victoria Coach Station may be London’s main coach station, but sadly, it’s not much different from the rest. In fact, the most unusual thing to do at Victoria Coach Station would be to spend any amount of time there.
When you’ve been staying in London for a few days, you’ll probably already have been there, seen them, and done all of the city’s main attractions. But now, with time on your hands, it’s understandable you’re searching for something unusual to do near Victoria Coach Station. Let’s face it, who wouldn’t be?
To save you from suffering continual despair in the austerity of British coach stations, here are some unusual things to do near the station once you drop off your bags at a Victoria Coach Station luggage storage. They will make you see your last few hours in the capital in a completely different light.
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What Is There To Do Near Victoria Coach Station?
1. Eccleston Yards
Eccleston Yards is probably the closest place to Victoria Coach Station, where you can go to enjoy a convivial atmosphere. This lively Bohemian hub is just a two-minute walk away down Elizabeth Street, so you don’t need to go out of your way to get there.
At Eccleston Yards, you can participate in a yoga class, go for a wine-tasting session, enjoy a quick spa treatment, browse the handicrafts on the market stalls for last-minute souvenirs or just sit down somewhere comfortable for a decent coffee. Whichever you choose, it beats waiting for a bus.
2. See The Pelicans In St James’s Park
If you were busy taking selfies in front of Buckingham Palace, you might not have had time to enjoy the tranquil but pleasant experience of watching the feeding of the pelicans in St James’s Park. Yes, you read that correctly; it does say pelicans.
While there are ducks too, the main attraction in St James’s is the huge, white big-billed birds. They’re so popular that they’ve all been given names, although unless you’re a pelican expert, it’s hard to tell one from the other. Feeding time is mostly at 2:30 pm, but if you can’t make it for that time, you’ll still be able to see them lazing on the rocks. One word of advice. Don’t get too close, as they’re huge.
3. Churchill War Rooms
Churchill War Rooms are underground, so almost as cheerful as Victoria Coach Station, but that said, they’re an awful lot more interesting. The War Rooms are part of the Imperial War Museum which is at the far end of St James’s Park.
Going down into the underground bunker where the WW2 prime minister carried out his war duties is quite surreal. Everything is still as it was when the war ended in 1945, but don’t worry if you have a dust allergy. It does get cleaned regularly.
4. Brunch Big Time
Sloane Square is a ten-minute stroll from Victoria Station, and that’s where you should go to drop in on The Botanist. No, you won’t be getting a boring lecture on plants, but you will be able to get a very decent breakfast or lunch. If you’re around there at the weekend, even better, as they serve an amazing bottomless brunch.
While Sloane Square is often associated with Sloane Rangers, posh people, not a football team, this pub-restaurant welcomes normal folk with open arms. The harissa pork hash on the breakfast menu comes highly recommended.
5. Go Charity Shop Shopping on Kings Road
When you’ve had a great breakfast at The Botanist and feel rejuvenated, it’ll be time to wander down the King’s Road. Window shopping is fun, but even better is rooting through the rails in the charity shops, also known as thrift stores. Why?
This area of London is renowned for its well-to-do residents, and they frequently discard designer-label clothes, which you can pick up for a couple of quid. Think Chanel, Gucci, Yves St Laurent, Burberry, and Dior, plus many, many more. Even if you don’t buy anything, it’s fun to rummage to see what amazing bargains you can find.
6. Visit The Saatchi Gallery
The Saatchi Gallery in the Duke of York Square is the epitome of unusual. This art gallery exhibits contemporary and modern art in multiple formats that will really have you scratching your head with perplexity. There are no words to describe them, but if you can imagine a full-sized horse mounted on a blue balloon or a tatty drainpipe poking out of the wall, then you’re halfway there.
7. Take Afternoon Tea
Leave London feeling totally British by heading to the palace-sized Goring Hotel in Belgravia for afternoon tea on the lawn or the veranda. Located in Beeston Place, this hotel specializes in the Great British afternoon tea tradition.
Here you can cock your little finger at the right angle while holding your teacup aloft or, better still, a glass of Bollinger before you tuck into a delicious array of sandwiches and pastries that are costing you the earth.
There are some great things to do near Victoria Coach Station, which will save you from having to sit in the waiting room contemplating the cracked floor tiling. No, you won’t be able to do any extreme sports like bungee jumping off London Bridge, but you will be able to spend an hour or two doing something more interesting than waiting for a bus.
Alex is fascinated with “understanding” people. It’s actually what drives everything he does. He believes in a thoughtful exploration of how you shape your thoughts, experience of the world.