Waterloo Station in London is the busiest rail hub in the UK, with over a quarter of a million people using the station each day. Perhaps you are stuck there now - waiting for a train, with a few hours to kill? The station itself has an interesting history, but there is also a lot to see within a ten-minute walks of the station. So rather than hanging around overpriced cafes, why not check out these 15 sights that are sure to keep anyone entertained while waiting for a train.

Crowds of people in Waterloo Station looking at the timetables
You can avoid being one of the crowd staring endlessly at the screens and explore the local area instead


Built in 1848 in the Lambeth borough of London, Waterloo Station was originally planned as a station on the line into central London, rather than a terminus. It replaced the earlier Nine Elms Station, which had seen a sizable increase in travellers from the south and south west of England.

An Act of Parliament in July 1845 led to its creation, with the demolition of over 700 houses to make way for the new station, named after nearby Waterloo Bridge. The intention was to continue the lines into central London, something which was cancelled due to financial constraints in 1847.

Extra tracks, platforms and ticket offices were added on in a piecemeal fashion, with the station becoming increasingly confusing for visitors. Of its 16 platforms, only 10 were numbered, some of which were duplicated.

In 1898, an underground station was built, and it was accepted that Waterloo would remain as a terminus. By 1900, more land was bought and work began on the ‘Great Transformation’. Work continued throughout World War I and the new station was formally opened in 1922 by Queen Mary.