London is just an awesome city. A melting pot in the truest sense of the word and with loads of history and culture to explore. The thing is, most people who come here already have a general idea of what they’re going to see – London Eye, Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London… these are pretty much obligatory places for anyone who comes here.
And while they certainly are incredibly impressive and really do provide visitors with an amazing experience, there are some things that are specific to this place, things that make it stand out from the crowd. Therefore, if you have visited all the major sights and famous landmarks in Britain and would like to see them from a different angle, here’s a bunch of unique things to do in London. Although the cost of living in London is pretty high, there are some great affordable unique things to do in London.
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Top Unique Things to Do in London During Your Visit
Kayak along the River Thames – Thing to do in London
You are probably well aware that London and the River Thames are pretty much inseparable. But has it ever occurred to you to kayak down this legendary waterway? Oh yes, you can do that, and there are plenty of excellent places for that along the main channel of the river.
It’s a great way to experience London from a completely new perspective and discover a lot of places that would otherwise remain hidden. Plus you get a nice workout. This is a great thing to do in London. There are so many hidden gems in London to discover.
Visit the Clink Prison Museum – Things to do in London
The Clink Prison Museum used to be an actual prison, which was open from the 12th all the way to the 18th century. So there is quite a lot of history here, for sure, although the stories it has to tell are probably not very happy ones. Still, it’s a great place to visit, especially because the staff inside will put on a show for you in various costumes to give you a real sense of what it used to look like to serve your sentence here. Very interesting and entertaining!
Board the Golden Hinde – Things to do in London
This one is right next to the Clink Prison Museum, so you can go from enjoying the company of prisoners to hanging out with the pirates. Yes, the Golden Hinde is pirate-themed, but it’s also a very nice museum with loads of history. This is a replica of Sir Francis Drake’s actual ship with which he sailed around the world in the 16th century. The admission is really not that expensive (five pounds for adults), and you can walk around by yourself or get a guided tour. Either way, you will love it here.
Drink in a public toilet
Yes, I know it sounds gross, but hear me out. A bunch of old public toilets (some of them dating back to the Victorian period, no less!) have been renovated and repurposed and now serve as bars. Mind you, some of them are really excellent! So, if their former function doesn’t bother you, these places are without a doubt unique places to have a drink. Some of the suggestions include bars like The Attendant, WC, and The High Cross, but this kind of restoration turns out to be quite popular in the city, so you should be able to find several more examples. This is one of the most unique things to do in London.
Spend a night in the ZOO – Things to do in London
Sure, everybody has visited a zoo at least once in their life, but this is a completely different story. After your one day in London, come to the city ZOO where you can actually spend the night and see how this institution operates when all visitors go home. You will get special tours here, plus you stay in a comfortable lodge which is close to the part of the ZOO that houses lions. So, if you’ve ever wondered what it’d be like to fall asleep while these magnificent beasts are roaring, this is your chance. Dinner and breakfast are included, too.
Buy tea at Twinings
Tea and the British go hand in hand, but Twinings takes that particular beverage to a whole new level. This tea shop has been around for more than three centuries (since 1706, to be exact) and in 1837 Queen Victoria made them her official supplier. They have been supplying the British Crown to this very day, so you know they are 100% legit. With over two hundred different flavors in their shop, you are bound to find something interesting, plus a Twinings tea can also serve as a great souvenir or a present for someone you love.
Sit down Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium
If you’re a cat lover, this place is a must when you come to London and is one of the most unique things to do in London. Established in 2014, Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium is a cafe and a home to many rescued cats at the same time. They roam the place freely and really feel like home here. If you want to support the cause and maybe play with the felines a bit, come and grab a cup of afternoon tea and, a slice of cake and maybe a sandwich and enjoy the purring all around you – there are about a dozen cats mingling around this unique place.
Visit the Sherlock Holmes Museum
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle placed the home of the most famous detective in the world in Baker Street, and that’s where this museum is! 221B Baker Street, to be exact. The Sherlock Holmes Museum has items from different TV and movie versions of the stories about this awesome character, and the first floor of the building is perfectly designed to fit in with the period when the stories unfold (late 19th century). Visit Sherlock’s study and prepare to be transported back in time.
Step on the Prime Meridian
Now, this really is something unique to London. The Royal Observatory Greenwich has loads to offer, most importantly to stand on the Prime Meridian, the line which divides East and West. Furthermore, Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) has an interesting story behind it, plus the London Planetarium is here, too. But if you come here on a Sunday, you will be able to visit the Greenwich market and enjoy delicious food and fascinating antiques. Greenwich is definitely a great place to spend a big part of your day.
Grab a bite at Borough Market
Borough Market has been open for more than a century and it’s a great place to shop for some tasty food. From meat and cheeses to vegan food, there’s something for everyone, so if you have the slightest inclination towards being a foodie, you absolutely must come here. I particularly liked the pastries, I must admit, but there really is no bad dish to be found. From Japanese to Italian cuisine, so many different countries and traditions are represented here. Come and spend a couple of hours, you’ll love it!
Stop at the smallest police station in the world
When walking across Trafalgar Square, this one is easy to miss, but do stop at the square’s south-eastern corner at a perculiar object with a light on top. Yes, THAT’s the station! It was built in order to allow a single police officer to monitor the square inconspicuously, but it could also hold two prisoners. It used to have a phone from which the officer could ask for backup, and when the phone was being used the light would flash to warn other policemen that help is needed. Today, this place serves as a broom closet, though.
Soak in the history in Churchill War Rooms
Yes, this is exactly what it sounds like. This is the place from which Winston Churchill managed the defense of Britain against German attacks in WW2. This is actually a part of Imperial War Museums, but it’s really worth every penny to visit. You will hear some incredible stories, learn about Churchill’s life, go underground into the secret hideouts and see where history was made. The place looks great and you really get the feeling what it used to be like to run a country under bombing raids.
Conclusion Unique Things to Do in London
London is a vast and beautiful city, with people from all over the world not just visiting but living here, as well. This gives it incredible variety and loads of unique things to do, no matter if you’re into food, museums, nature or something completely different. The places mentioned in this article are certainly great suggestions if you want to see London in a different light, but there are so many other things you can do and see.
Therefore, take these as starting points and then head out and explore – you will find loads of fascinating places and meet a lot of friendly and interesting people. Some of my best experiences in London were results of me just starting to wander around, trying to visit places I hadn’t yet seen and neighborhoods that seemed interesting to me. Relax and let the city’s vibe wash over and you will have the time of your life!
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