20 Unusual Things to Do in London

20 Unusual Things to Do in London

London is full of historic attractions and lively activities any tourist can enjoy. But did you know? The lesser-known side of London is equally enjoyable, no matter the fame, crowd, or activity around. These unusual things to do in London include just about any activity, from walking and sightseeing to boat trips and visiting hidden gems.

If you’ve already visited the landmarks and engaged in the most desirable activities, it’s time to discover the quirky side of the capital. This list of 25 unique activities in London is the ultimate way to reveal the city’s unconventional side. Buckle up, let’s get started:

Haunted London Attractions

Haunted London Attractions
Haunted London Attractions

While London is known for its rich and unique history, it also holds some haunted places. There are lots of haunted places located in the capital that describe entirely the dark corners of this city. Here are all the spooky destinations of London containing haunted entries, woodlands, and horrifying museums:

1. London Dungeons

London Dungeons is a haunted attraction that provides a dark and horrifying history of London. You will witness famous live actors playing well-known horror characters during your visit. The exceptional experience with shivering effects and realistic sets makes it a must-visit for those who enjoy the supernatural. London Dungeons is in the County Hall building near the London Eye, next to the SEA Life London Aquarium.

2. Jack the Ripper Haunted Tour

The Jack the Ripper Haunted Tour in London begins with the scary streets of Whitechapel. In these streets, you will visit the actual locations where a murderous character committed gruesome crimes, and no one knows why.

Guided by experts on the subject, you’ll hear chilling stories about the murders, see historical photos, and explore theories about Jack the Ripper’s identity. The atmosphere becomes even more horrifying as the sun sets. This makes it an even more spine-chilling experience. 

3. Highgate Cemetery

Highgate Cemetery, a Victorian burial ground known for its “high-end” graves, is another spot with a horrifying atmosphere. It hosts the graves of famous figures like Karl Marx, George Eliot, and Douglas Adams.

Apart from the burials, this place holds many “famous residents” known as ghostly and mysterious apparitions. Visitors have spotted different ghostly figures, especially after dark. 

A legend associated with Highgate Cemetery has it that a tall, dark figure with red eyes floating above the ground resides in the cemetery, famously called the Highgate Vampire. The figure was reported by many onlookers back in the 1970s. However, despite media attention and attempts to find evidence, the mystery remains unsolved.

With such a haunted past, this is the most thrilling “unusual” activity that you can do in London.

4. Haunted Bus Tours in London

Haunted bus tours in London offer a bone-chilling experience for those who want to explore the city’s haunted history. Operating on a vintage Route master bus, the Ghost Bus Tour sets a shivering atmosphere with dim lighting, freaky seats, and disturbing sound effects. As you travel through the city, your guide shares stories of haunted theatres, buildings, and spirits.

The tour includes famous haunted sites like the Tower of London (where Anne Boleyn and Sir Walter Raleigh’s ghosts are said to roam), the Old Bailey (haunted by executed spirits), St. Paul’s Cathedral (with sightings of Sir Christopher Wren’s ghost), and Westminster Abbey. 

5. The Ten Bells Pub

The Ten Bells Pub, located in Spitalfields, is a place with a rich history due to its link to Jack the Ripper. The killer frequented it along with some of his victims. It’s probably the most popular haunted pub and features Victorian decor, original tiling, and vintage fittings.

Some people claim to have seen a ghostly woman in Victorian clothing who was believed to be one of Jack the Ripper’s victims. Others have felt sudden cold spots, heard unexplained noises, and sensed being watched.

Apart from the ghostly stories, you can also enjoy the quiz nights and live performances at the pub. Drive your way down to the East End in Spitalfields and you’ll find a pub at the corner where Commercial Street and Fournier Street meet.

Unusual Museums in London

Unusual Museums in London
Unusual Museums in London

London is home to the most prestigious museums in the world, from the British Museum to the V&A and the Natural History Museum. However, on the more unusual side, there are some lesser-known museums offering a unique twist on a typical museum adventure. Here are the unique museums to explore in the capital:

6. The Twist Museum

London’s Twist Museum is all about optical illusions and a quirky play with colors, shapes, and sounds. The Twist Museum offers different sensory experiences for kids and adults alike.

You get to test how you perceive light, sound, and heat. You will also learn about optical illusions and misdirection tricks done by con artists and magicians out there. For kids, there are 30+ interactive exhibits and workshops.

The museum is located on Oxford Street in the City of Westminster and charges around £23.50, but way less if you have kids along.

7. Horniman Museum

Horniman features one of the best collections of indoor exotic plants and a conservatory. Its butterfly house is a conservation space for caterpillars and displays a complete lifecycle of how a small insect turns into a large beautiful butterfly.

Other places to explore at the museum include the World Gallery, the central aquarium of the museum, the Ornamental Garden, and Outdoor Spots. Access to most places requires a paid ticket, but entry to the museum and its spacious courtyard with over 350,000 objects is free. The museum is located at 100 London Rd in the Forest Hill district of Lewisham borough.

8. HMS Belfast Naval Museum

Visiting this famous warship is a unique Thames activity not many people know about. Back in WW2, this warship had the most impactful role in the Royal Navy. Later in the Battle of North Cape on December 26th, 1943, HMS Belfast played its role in destroying the German battle cruiser “Scharnhorst” during the Arctic Campaign.

Honoring its legacy, the Warship has now been turned into a 9-story museum where you can explore the facts, achievements, and might of the Royal British Navy over the years. HMS Belfast Naval Museum is located between the Tower Bridge and London Bridge on the South Bank of the Thames.

Unusual Food and Drink Experiences in London

Unusual Food and Drink Experiences in London
Unusual Food and Drink Experiences in London

Time for the foodies to enjoy a nice Afternoon Tea or a sumptuous meal, but in a unique way. The capital certainly has lots of five-star hotels and high-end restaurants with an extremely lavish backdrop, but here’s what experience on a rather unconventional side of London’s eateries:

9. Afternoon Tea on a Double-decker Bus

Hop-on hop-off buses, London tour buses, and open-top double-decker buses are the most common experiences for sightseeing. But did you know? You can have afternoon tea right there on a vintage London double-decker bus.

Most Afternoon Tea on a Double-decker experiences include sightseeing famous attractions. You can have a themed sightseeing tour around royal landmarks, historical places, and hidden gems while sipping freshly brewed afternoon tea onboard.

Since it’s London, afternoon tea in the capital isn’t just a regular tea, but rather an entire tradition that includes delicious snacks. You’ll have options like fresh scones, homemade cookies, and finger sandwiches with clotted cream.

10. Afternoon Tea on a River Cruise

Another Afternoon Tea experience, but this time it’s something even more luxurious. Imagine sailing through the tranquil River Thames and sightseeing the top landmarks of the City of Westminster, the Square Mile, and Canary Wharf. You’ll be served a sumptuous afternoon tea featuring classic English tea, herbal tea, or coffee with tasty snacks.

It’s a riveting adventure for anyone who expects something luxurious, unique, and unusual from the capital. So, when you book a Thames River Cruise, upgrade it to Afternoon Tea.

11. High-rising Dinner at Sky garden Restaurant

Can you spot that oddly shaped building in the Square Mile’s skyline that looks like a giant “Walkie-talkie”? This “Walkie-talkie building” hosts a naturally grown garden on its top floors. This high-rise garden, also known as the Sky Garden, hosts two lavish restaurants and bars for the public.

The Sky Garden is free to enter from 10 AM to 6 PM on weekdays, but you need to book your visit in advance. Also, the restaurants and bars are mostly occupied, since most people visit the Sky Garden for the meal or drink experience. Make sure you reserve your table beforehand. Reservation at least a day in advance also helps you find the perfect spot near the window for the best view.

Unusual Things to Do at Night in London

Unusual Things to Do at Night in London
Unusual Things to Do at Night in London

Turn your nights in London amusing and delightful with the unique overnight activities. London offers everything for a great night out, from horror and delight to vibrance and relaxation. And the quirky side of London’s nocturnal activities are no different. Here’s what’s unconventional about the nights in the capital:

12. Visit the Historic Pubs

Everyone loves to visit famous and lavish pubs. But for a more unusual experience, visit the historic pubs with a unique vintage vibe. With over 3000 pubs across the Greater London area, the historic ones really stand out for their traditional ambience. These include:

  • The Prospect of Whitby: This is among the oldest pubs in London. Located on the East End along the Thames, this pub was established in the late 15th century. The pub was also known as “The Devil’s Tavern” due to the frequent visits by pirates and smugglers during the 18th and 19th centuries.
  • The Churchill Arms: It’s a late-time historic and flowery pub located on Kensington Church Street. It features a unique display of over 200 organically grown flowers making it a unique place to enjoy overnight drinks and snacks.

13. Late Night Museums

London’s several museums operate overnight for those who want smaller crowds and a more private experience. These museums, including the V&A, Tate Britain, the Barbican Art Museum, and the Natural History museums, remain quiet, child-free, and convenient to visit during the after-work hours.

  • All the museums in South Kensington’s museum neighbourhood (the V&A, the Science Museum, and the Natural History Museum) remain open till 10 PM.
  • The Barbican Art Gallery closes by 11 PM, with its art exhibits being packed down by 8 PM.
  • Tate Modern, located on the southern end of Millennium Bridge, remains open till 11 PM for its after-work events called “Tate Modern Lates”.

14. Night Comedy Clubs

Fan of stand-up comedies? Try the classic British dry humour at one of the several late-night comedy clubs in London’s West End. “The Comedy Store” in Soho is known for its stand-up comedy sessions by the city’s top performers. The bar & diner remains open until 11:30 PM, so it pretty much covers up your after-work hours, and even the late-night supper.

Other clubs include The Top Secret Comedy Club, The Covent Garden Comedy Club, and The Angel Comedy Club at several venues across Greater London. Find the exclusive shows at these clubs featuring top artists. However, not all of them offer a dining or drinking experience.

Lesser Known Ways of Sightseeing

Lesser Known Ways of Sightseeing
Lesser Known Ways of Sightseeing

One of the best ways you can get the most out of the capital in the least time is sightseeing. But apart from the traditional sightseeing adventures like hop-on hop-off bus tours or taxi tours, there are some lesser-known ways as well. These are the top picks in this regard:

15. IFS Cable Car Experience

IFS Cloud Cable Car is among the best activities to do on the Thames, and it’s a thrilling way of sightseeing London’s main attractions. The cable car is 90 meters above the Thames and extends between Greenwich and New ham boroughs covering the City of Westminster, the Square Mile and Canary Wharf.

You’ll board a spacious cable car and have a 10-minute ride that moves across the capital to offer spectacular views of the city’s skyline. From the glowing towers of Canary Wharf in the afternoon to the oddly shaped Gherkin, the Leadenhall Building, and the Walkie-Talkie Building, the views are simply outstanding from start to end. 

16. Thames Walking Tour

Walk along the South Bank walkway of River Thames covering the most prestigious landmarks of London. It’s a more proactive and energetic way of sightseeing, given you start early in the morning. Along the way, starting from the Tate Modern near Millennium Bridge, you’ll see different landmarks and historic buildings of South work.

Reaching the South Bank Centre, watch the proactive street fairs, and continue towards the London Eye and County Hall near the Westminster Bridge. Finally, end your tour with a lovely walk along the Westminster Bridge that leads you to the Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, and Westminster Abbey.

17. Little Venice Boat Tour on Regent’s Canal

Did you know? London has its very own “Little Venice” at Regent’s Canal in the Royal Borough of Camden. Even a calm and gradual walk along the Regent’s Canal is a great experience in itself. After a short walk, book a boat tour along the canal that takes you nine miles through the middle of King’s Cross. London Waterbus Company largely operates these boat trips and tickets can be booked on the spot at Regent’s Canal near Camden Market.

Unusual Activities for Kids

Unusual Activities for Kids
Unusual Activities for Kids

Assemble your little ones for some quirky and unusual adventures in the capital. Think beyond the typical playgrounds or recreational parks and head to places that may not be well-known but actually fun-filled for your little ones. These are London’s top places where your kids can engage in unusual yet enjoyable activities:

18. Go Ape Trent Park Cockfosters

The Go Ape adventure in the Trent Park of Crockfosters is one of the most challenging activities, particularly for teenagers. Although the Go Ape adventure is available at three locations across the capital, the Crockfosters one is the best for its greater challenges, more amusement, and versatile activities.

The activities are suitable for kids above 6, featuring high-rope games. These include tree-to-tree crossing, free-fall swings, zip wires, high-rising ladders, and tree climbing. There are certain height limits based on the level of activities. So, confirm the details from the Crockfosters official website before getting to the park.

19. Battersea Park and Zoo

Battersea Park located in London’s South Bank has a toddler-friendly zoo with several adorable animals. These exotic animals are fun to interact with, while the workshop activities are nature-themed to help your kids learn more about natural conservation. The entry ticket price starts from £11.95 for kids under 16 and is slightly higher for adults. You can also have zoo-themed exclusive birthday parties in the dedicated areas of the zoo.

20. Crystal Palace Park Dinosaurs

Head to this open-air museum, more like a “sculpture museum” featuring the “distorted” versions of dinosaurs. But this distortion or defacing is done on purpose. These sculptures represent how scientists initially perceived the structure of dinosaurs during the Victorian Era. 

Walk around the park and discover 30+ extremely detailed sculptures of dinosaurs and other extinct mammals. Located in the London Borough of Bromley, the park is free to enter from 7:30 AM to 8:30 PM throughout the week.

Conclusion

These unusual activities in London cover everything, from sightseeing to thrilling tours, late-night adventures to kid-friendly trips. If you want to explore the deeper and quirkier side of London, include these activities in your must-do list. Furthermore, these activities would allow a more private experience, as they’re generally lesser known, and therefore, less crowded. Most of the places require an early reservation, so make sure you have your tickets booked for a smooth experience.

FAQs

What are some free unusual things to do in London?

Walk along the River Thames through the South Bank and Southward area for sightseeing in a unique way. Additionally, you can visit the Sky Garden with a free ticket booked in advance and visit the late-night museums providing free entry during the after-work hours.

Are there any kid-friendly unique activities?

The kid-friendly unique activities include thrilling adventures at Go Ape Trent Park, visiting the dinosaur sculptures at Crystal Palace Park, boarding the mail-rail at the Postal Museum, and enjoying toddler-friendly activities at Battersea Park.

Are London’s museums free to enter?

Most museums in London including the V&A, the Science Museum, and the Natural History Museum offer free entry. But they require you to book a ticket in advance. The Horniman Museum also has free entry and access to its thousands of free exhibits, although temporary exhibits require a paid ticket.

What are unusual activities to do in London at night?

At night, you can visit the overnight comedy clubs, historic pubs, and late-night museums to do some unusual stuff. Also, if you’re daring enough, book the haunted London tours operated late at night to visit the actual murder locations associated with Jack the Ripper story.

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