airport_transferbarbathtubbusiness_facilitieschild_activitieschildcareconnecting_roomcribsfree_wifigymhot_tubinternetkitchennon_smokingpetpoolresturantski_in_outski_shuttleski_storagesmoking_areaspastar
Sign In
Quirky and Unusual Things to Do in London
Quirky and Unusual Things to Do in London | Ryan Gillett / © Culture Trip
Save to wishlist

17 Quirky and Unusual Things to Do in London

Picture of Georgina Wilson-Powell
Updated: 11 July 2018
With over 1,000 years of history, you can be sure that London’s much more interesting once you get away from the big-ticket attractions. From temples to taxidermy and museums to murders, uncover the unique, quirky and unusual things to do in London.

Pump up the history of Soho

Blink and you’ll miss the water pump in Soho that helped to cure cholera. The water-borne disease caused mass fatalities in London until local doctor John Smith traced an outbreak back to this pump in 1854. Before this, people believed cholera was caught by air. Pop into the John Smith pub nearby to raise a pint to the doctor.

Broadwick Street, Soho, London

Find a Roman temple

London dates back over 1,000 years and was already a town before the Romans descended on Britain. They made it a fortified city and brouhght their mystical cults with them. The temple of Mithras stands near the London Stock Exchange underground. It’s not open to the public but you can see the site – just past Budge Row near Mansion House.

Mansion House Station, Cannon St, London

Spot some of the world’s best street art

East London has been a hotbed for some of the world’s best street artists for the last couple of decades. While street art comes and goes, the streets around Shoreditch and Hackney are awash with colour and life. If you’re not sure where to start, book a street art tour.

Kayak on the Thames

It might look murky and you definitely wouldn’t want to fall in but you can get up close and personal with the iconic London river. Kayaking London take out small groups every day around the Houses of Parliament or Little Venice.

Walk past where David Bowie grew up

We may have lost the starman himself but Bowie’s heritage lives on in South London. He grew up on this ordinary street in Brixton called Stansfield Road, but would later transform himself into one of the UK’s most amazing performers. Also, see the famous Bowie mural on the wall of Morley’s Department store round the corner.

40 Stansfield Road, London

Visit the Last Tuesday Society

Bar, British, $$$
Save to wishlist
Is it a shop? Or a gallery? Or a Victorian wormhole full of unusual curiosities in Hackney? Well, it’s all of those and it’s where you can learn taxidermy should you be interested. Otherwise known as Viktor Wynd’s Little Shop of Horrors, it has an array of strange and quirky items from skulls to dildos. Oh and there’s a bar. You might be in need of a drink after taking this all in.
More Info
Sun:
12:00 pm - 10:30 pm
Tue:
3:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Wed:
12:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Thu:
12:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Fri:
12:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Sat:
12:00 pm - 11:00 pm

Drop into a 300-year-old tea shop

Shop, Store
Save to wishlist
twinings-1176476_1280-1024x768
© Pixabay
No one loves tea more than the Brits, right? London used to practically run on the stuff and the Twinings Café on the Strand has seen some changes since it opened in 1706. Twining was one of the first merchants to bring tea to the UK and it’s been providing the Royal households with brews since 1837.
More Info
Sun:
11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Mon:
9:30 am - 7:00 pm
Tue:
9:30 am - 7:00 pm
Wed:
9:30 am - 7:00 pm
Thu:
9:30 am - 7:00 pm
Fri:
9:30 am - 7:00 pm
Sat:
10:30 am - 5:30 pm

Go on a subterranean railway

History Museum
Save to wishlist
No, not the Tube. We’re thinking of the new Postal Museum, which has brought back to life one of the railways that snaked under London. They were once used to deliver letters when there two deliveries per day. Mail Rail will be opening in July 2017.
More Info
Sun:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Mon:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tue:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wed:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thu:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Fri:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sat:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Nose round the oldest prison in England

History Museum
Save to wishlist
203855386_52ff1a9cdc_o-1024x768
© Frankie Roberto / Flickr
The Clink Prison Museum, found just off the South Bank, has a long history of locking people up. The clink (a nickname for ‘jail’) operated from the 12th to the 18th century. Today you are free to leave, but not before being shown round by actors in costume who bring the grisly past to life.
More Info
Sun:
10:00 am - 7:30 pm
Mon:
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Tue:
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Wed:
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Thu:
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Fri:
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sat:
10:00 am - 7:30 pm

Uncover a huge Masonic lodge

Building
Save to wishlist
Hidden in plain sight is the Masonic temple at the Andaz Hotel, above Liverpool Street Station. When the Great Eastern Hotel was built in 1884, it was one of the grandest hotels in London. It even had its own train line, which actually came into the hotel. A great spot for a huge secret temple for Masons meetings in London. It was so secret that it was lost until the 1980s after the hotel fell out of use. Designers uncovered a huge Grecian-style temple with a gold dome and 13 types of marble in the floor.
More Info
Sun - Sat:
12:00 am

Atmosphere:

Historical Landmark, Architectural Landmark

Step into Sherlock Holmes' flat

Pub, British, $$$
Save to wishlist
Well, it would be his flat if he were real. Above the Sherlock Holmes pub sits a recreation of the famous detective’s apartment. It was transferred from the Festival of Britain in 1951 and was installed piece by piece. There’s pistol shots in the walls, a fire that burns in the grate and even Holmes’ violin.
More Info
Sun:
10:00 am - 11:00 pm
Mon:
10:00 am - 11:00 pm
Tue:
10:00 am - 11:00 pm
Wed:
10:00 am - 11:00 pm
Thu:
10:00 am - 11:00 pm
Fri:
10:00 am - 12:00 am
Sat:
10:00 am - 12:00 am

Meal service:

Lunch, Dinner

Hear a whisper in St Paul's Cathedral

Cathedral
Save to wishlist
millenium-bridge-945403_1280-1-1024x682
© Pixabay
St Paul’s is perhaps the finest cathedral in London, but it’s made more interesting when you head up to the Whispering Gallery. Perfect acoustics mean you can whisper something on one side of the dome, which sits 99 feet above the ground, and someone can hear it perfectly on the other. Not a place for secrets.
More Info

Look at wildlife in jars

Natural History Museum
Save to wishlist
The Grant Museum of Zoology has a lot of jars. There are 67,000 specimens to take in at this weird and not-at-all-creepy museum. They have everything from tiny bacteria to a dodo.
More Info
Mon:
1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Tue:
1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Wed:
1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Thu:
1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Fri:
1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Sat:
1:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Stay overnight at London Zoo

Park, Zoo
Save to wishlist
leo-2177735_1280-1-1024x682
© Pixabay
Visitors to ZSL London Zoo have the option of staying behind when the gates shut by booking an overnight experience in one of the venue’s new lodges. Guests will get an after-dark tour, a drink, dinner and exclusive experiences (there’s even an early-morning fry up if you make it through the night).
More Info
Sun:
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Mon:
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Tue:
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Wed:
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Thu:
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Fri:
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Sat:
10:00 am - 4:00 pm

See where time starts from

Building
Save to wishlist
London is where we measure time from. GMT means Greenwich Mean Time and if you head to the South East London borough, to the Royal Observatory, you’ll find the exact spot where time starts.
More Info
Sun:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Mon:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tue:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wed:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thu:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Fri:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sat:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Atmosphere:

Historical Landmark

Ditch the Tate for this

Art Museum
Save to wishlist
Escape the typical museum crowds and head to something a little more offbeat. London’s full of quirky museums and the Leighton House Museum is certainly that. Once the home of Sir Frederic Leighton, it’s decorated in an Art-Nouveau-meets-East style – complete over-the-top Victorian palatial folly.
More Info
Sun:
10:00 am - 5:30 pm
Mon:
10:00 am - 5:30 pm
Wed:
10:00 am - 5:30 pm
Thu:
10:00 am - 5:30 pm
Fri:
10:00 am - 5:30 pm
Sat:
10:00 am - 5:30 pm

Stand underneath a historic sailing ship

History Museum
Save to wishlist
cutty-sark-1369026_1280-1024x789
© Pixabay
The Cutty Sark in Greenwich was once the fastest trading ships Britain had ever seen. She is the last remaining tea clipper and was restored and dry-docked by the Thames. Now an interactive museum has grown up around her. You can stand underneath the ship and check out her copper bottom for yourself.
More Info
Sun:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Mon:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tue:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wed:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thu:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Fri:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sat:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Atmosphere:

Photo Opportunity

Staying for the evening? Check out these cool and unusual bars in London.