A Different Take on London
When the world thinks of London, it always thinks of Big Ben, The Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, The London Eye, and The Houses of Parliament.
Sure, these are all world-class famous attractions. You also have excellent free attractions, such as the British Museum and the epic views from the Sky Garden.
Nevertheless, London is also home to quirky, unusual attractions that are worth the visit. And getting away from London’s immense tourism numbers—which hit 21 millionLink opens in a new tab in 2019—is often the best way to enjoy your trip to London.
Here are some of the best unusual attractions within London:
Sleep at The ZSL London Zoo
You can find ZSL London Zoo next to Regent’s Park—one of London’s most beautiful Royal Parks. Once you arrive at the zoo, you’ll find a whole host of eclectic animals. These include lemurs, otters, warthogs, African hunting dogs, lions, camels, meerkats, gorillas, and llamas.
However, what about sleeping next to a lion enclosure? That’s right. At the ZSL London Zoo, you’re free to spend the night with the lions. You’ll enjoy a complimentary drink on arrival, a two-hour tour of the zoo at sunset and after dark, and an overnight stay in a private lodge. Sure, London has many excellent 5-star hotels, but sleeping in the zoo will be an unforgettable night.
Website: www.zsl.org/zsl-london-zoo/london-zoo-lodgeLink opens in a new tab
Address: Outer Cir, London NW1 4RY
Explore Old and Abandoned Underground Stations
London’s world-famous underground station—iconically called ‘The Tube’ by locals and visitors alike—is the world’s oldest underground metro system. With that said, the London Underground has changed since the 1800s. Some old stations have vanished from existence, but you can still visit them on a guided tour.
London Euston station has an array of hidden passageways that the city has hidden for over 50 years. Many of these tunnels have a beautiful mid-century design. However, with the development of HS2, it’s likely construction work will remove these stations in the coming years. So, now’s the time to visit before it’s too late.
Website: www.ltmuseum.co.uk/whats-on/hidden-london/eustonLink opens in a new tab
Address: Euston Square Station, Euston Rd, London NW1 2BN
Check Out Leighton House
It’s fair to say: London is full of incredible architecture and interior design. Leighton House, however, is an unknown epitome of world-class art and design. In 1866, Frederick Lord Leighton built the house as a private studio house. He wanted somewhere he could work and showcase his vast art collection.
As a result, the house is a stunning show of art and design. You’ll find rich colors, quirky materials from all over the world, and gorgeous furniture. Lord Leighton has become one of London’s most respected artists. He became the president of the Royal Academy shortly before his death.
Website: www.rbkc.gov.uk/museums/Link opens in a new tab
Address: 12 Holland Park Rd, London W14 8LZ
Slide Down the ArcelorMittal Orbit
During the London Olympics of 2012, London built the ArcelorMittal Orbit. The world could see the unusual structure next to the Olympic Stadium. The British government intended the tower to be a longstanding reminder of the London Olympics—which were an enormous success.
Today, the ArcelorMittal Orbit offers stunning views over East London. You can see London’s vast skyline, famous attractions, and cityscape from the observation deck. In addition, you can slide down the tower if you like an adrenaline rush. It remains the tallest structure at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, standing at 114.5 meters tall.
Website: www.arcelormittalorbit.com/Link opens in a new tab
Address: Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, 5 Thornton St, London E20 2AD
Climb The O2 Roof
The O2 is now one of the world’s leading entertainment venues; it hosts concerts, major sporting events, and massive speeches from world leaders. It first became famous in 1999 when the city built it to commemorate the Millennium and called it the Millennium Dome. In the James Bond film, The World is Not Enough, the building played a key role in the opening scene.
Today, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can climb the O2 and check out the superb views of Greenwich. Not only is the O2 one of London’s most famous landmarks, but it also offers sensational views of Canary Wharf and Central London, whilst offering a sense of adventure. You can climb during sunset or at night.
Website: www.theo2.co.uk/up-at-the-o2/climbLink opens in a new tab
Address: Peninsula Square, London SE10 0DX
Complete The Dare Skywalk
British Premier League football team, Tottenham Hotspur, built the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in 2016. It cost a staggering £1 billion to build. Nevertheless, the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium—situated in North London—is arguably the world’s most impressive modern-day stadium. Better still, the stadium offers guests the chance to complete The Dare Skywalk.
On The Dare Skywalk, you can scale the stadium and even step out onto a glass walkway 46.8 meters above the pitch. If that’s not enough, you can marvel at the stunning views of the London skyline from afar.
Website: www.tottenhamhotspur.com/the-stadium/visitor-attractions/the-dare-skywalk/Link opens in a new tab
Address: 782 High Road, London N17 0BX
Wander Around a 300-year-old Tea Shop
Britain is famous for its tea; Londoners have drunk it for centuries. However, Twinings Flagship Store 216 Strand is London’s oldest tea shop. You can browse the tea shop and find popular favorites to unknown leaves. With over 300 years of history, you’ll find staff with expert knowledge to help you find the best tea.
What’s more, the store offers a premium sampling bar. Whether you’ve seen a particular leaf that caught your eye or you want to try something completely new, the Tea Bar allows you to smell and taste the products for yourself. They even offer a pick & mix selection.
Website: www.twinings.co.uk/pages/twinings-flagship-store-216-strandLink opens in a new tab
Address: R. Twinings and Co Limited, 216 Strand London, WC2R 1AP
Worship a Roman God
Everyone knows London has a rich history; however, did you know you can worship a Roman God at the London Mithraeum? That’s right. You can wander under the Bloomberg offices in London and find a Roman temple dating back to the 3rd century AD.
The ruins are an excellent sensory experience that delves you into the mystery of worshiping a Roman temple. The Mithraeum spans over three floors; one of the floors showcases Roman artifacts found on the site. The second floor explains who Mithras was and how people worshiped him.
Website: www.londonmithraeum.com/Link opens in a new tab
Address: 12 Walbrook, London EC4N 8AA
Prepare Yourself for London
London continues to be one of the world’s greatest megacities. Even if you’re uninterested in the conventional attractions, this city of 9 million people will have something unusual or quirky for you.