Did you know that a year’s worth of lunch breaks equates to almost 6 extra weeks of annual leave? This is what Laura Archer, author of Gone for Lunch: 52 Things to do in Your Lunch Break, discovered when she decided to reclaim her lunch breaks for herself. The results were increased energy, happiness, and greater job satisfaction. Laura lists her top ten things to do here.

Laura Archer By Maria Katsika

Laura Archer By Maria Katsika

Write a letter

This was my first and still my favourite lunch time activity: catching up with an old friend by putting pen to paper, rather than texting or emailing. Find a cosy spot in a café somewhere and let the ink start flowing!

Go for a wander

How well do you know the area around your office? Follow your nose around a few corners and see what you discover…

Bookshop browsing

Spend half an hour dipping in and out of different worlds in your local bookshop. If you work in the City, the Museum of London shop is a great place to discover an incredible range of titles all about London, from beautiful little gift books to fascinating studies about city living.

Go on a date

Efficient, fun, and you have the perfect get-out clause if it’s not going well (having to get back to work…). Lunchtime meet-ups are great for first dates, and if sparks fly, you can make the second date a longer (and later) one.

Lunch time concerts

If you need a quick fix to relax and feel a million miles away from the office, there’s little else that will work so well as classical music. In most cities, local churches or colleges will put on lunch time concerts that you can pop in-and-out of for free.

Draw a building

It’s rare that we get the chance to stop and appreciate the stunning architecture that makes up our cities. Spend a few lunch breaks drawing the different buildings near your office and see how many hidden details you uncover just by looking a little harder.


Christmas is coming and there’s nothing nicer than knitting someone you love a scarf. Buy some chunky wool, some thick knitting needles (10mm) and find a YouTube tutorial on How to Make a Scarf for Beginners: Wool & the Gang do a great one.

Learn a language

No need to take a long holiday and enrol on an intensive course to learn a new language, you can cover the same ground (and time) in a few consecutive lunch breaks. Michel Thomas does amazing audiobooks that you can download from iTunes – in an hour and a half you’ll be confident enough to have a basic conversation!

Play a game of chess (or any other board game)

We spend our days looking at screens full of numbers and letters, reading left to right and rarely thinking in any other direction. Chess is amazing because you have to think laterally; you can still feel your brain whirring when you get back to your desk. Failing that, any type of game that encourages strategic, playful or creative thinking will do the trick.

Public art

Whether it’s commemorative sculpture or a contemporary installation, every city has its own collection of monumental, public art dotted around its streets. Spend a few days walking around and learn about the pieces near your office (you’re allowed to use Wikipedia!).

Gone For Lunch: 52 Things To Do in Your Lunch Break is available in store and online from Museum of London shop, museumoflondonshop.co.uk

Price: £7.99