Crossness Pumping Station


Hattie Lloyd 03/06/24

Unusual Things To Do In London

Unusual Things To Do In London | This City Has Its Quirks

London, in many ways, is a pretty typical city.

We have a river. We have a subway. We have an 11th century castle filled with ravens on whose shoulders rest the entire prosperity and security of the nation.

You know, standard stuff.

But sometimes you want to venture beyond the norm, escape the tourist traps and evade the hundreds of events which all describe themselves as ‘a little different’. And for those times, we’ve crafted this guide full of quirky, alternative and unusual things to do in London that frankly nobody would even think to get involved in.

Except you, you maverick.

Go To A Listening Party in the Dark | Pitch Black Playback

Listen to an entire album blindfolded, in the velvety surrounds of a retro cinema…
Details: Across London Book here

Get Thwacked With Foliage In a Traditional Russian Spa | Banya No. 1

Banya No. 1

And if you’re after something really intense, you can get four people to do it to you simultaneously.
Details: 17 Micawber Street, N1 7TB | Book here

Surprise Your Ears at a Mystery Gig | Sofar Sounds

Sofar Sounds - quirky things to do in London

Sofar Sounds sweep you off to performances from surprise artists in secret, makeshift gig venues, from treehouses to living rooms.
Secret Locations | Book here

Go Axe Throwing | Whistle Punks Oxford Circus

Top Activity Bars: Whistle Punks

Hopefully it’s an unusual thing to in London, unless there are loads of people out there who frequently go out hurling heavy, bladed objects at a wall together. Unsurprisingly, it can also work as an instant bonding exercise…
Details: 53 Eastcastle St, London W1W 8EE | Book here

Explore One Of The More Unusual Museums in London

Unusual Museums - quirky things to do in London

Guillotines! Freud! Jars of celebrity poo! London has a whole host of niche museums guarding bizarre artefacts – and plenty of them are free to visit, too.

Go To An Art Class With Unusual Models | Wild Life Drawing

It’s all run with their welfare in mind, so you can rest assured there’s nothing sketchy going on.
Details: Book tickets

Become A Cocktail Artisan | TT Masterclasses

Best Cocktail-Making Classes in London: TT Liquor

And make sure you drink all your homework.
17b Kingsland Road, E2 8AA | Book here

Sing Mass Karaoke with a Live Organ | Organoke

organoke quirky thing to do

Your pipes and their pipes are a match made in heaven.
Details: See upcoming dates here

Make Your Own Bespoke Perfume | Experimental Perfume Club

Experimental Perfume Club

Finally, you’re beginning to make scents.
Details: 53 Monmouth Street, London WC2H 9DG | Book here

Sail The Thames in a Hot Tub | Hot Tub Boats

Hot Tub boat quirky things to do in London

It’s a hot tub. THAT YOU CAN SAIL.
Details: West India Quay, Off Hertsmere Rd, London E14 4AL | Book here

Swim in a Church | Virgin Active Repton Park

The most unique, atmospheric swimming pool in London. Preach it.
Details: Repton Park, Manor Road, Woodford Green, IG8 8GN | Find out more here

Watch Mystery Films in an Old Workhouse | Exploding Cinema

exploding cinema alternative film nights

A totally unfiltered slate of sub-20 minute shorts, submitted by anyone and everyone.
Details: The Cinema Museum, 2 Dugard Way (off Renfrew Road), Kennington, SE11 4TH | Book here

Go Stargazing in Hampstead | Hampstead Observatory

hampstead observatory

A tiny little hut by Hampstead Heath where you can soak up the night sky for free.
Details: Summit Lodge, 9 Lower Terrace, W Heath Rd, London NW3 6RF Tickets live every Thursday here

Tick Off All These Free Things To Do in London | Across London

Free things to do in London

Spending a day not spending a penny? It’s arguably the most unusual thing you can do in London…

Take A Glass Elevator Up A Giant Chimney | Lift 109

lift 109 unusual things to do

One of London’s best viewpoints awaits you at the top.
Details: Battersea Power Station, Circus Rd West, Battersea, SW8 5BN Book here

Watch A Film On The Original Reels | Cine Real

Cine Real

Ciné Real screens films on 16mm reels in a restored 1930s cinema in Hackney. But if you want to do something really different? Hire out their 15 seater screening room for your own private viewing (they’ll provide the popcorn).
Details: 35 Lower Clapton Road, E5 0NS | Book here

Hear Some Life-Changing Music | One Track Minds

One Track Minds

Described as a cross between TED Talks and Desert Island Discs, OTM’s events bring together an eclectic line-up of guests to discuss one song that changed their lives. Oh, and it’s staged in London’s last remaining Victorian music hall.
Details: Wilton’s Music Hall, Graces Alley, London, E1 8JB Book here

Sit Around A Campfire On A Museum Rooftop | Midnight Apothecary

Midnight Apothecary

It’s a botanical, firepit-filled cocktail garden, with all-you-can-toast marshmallows, set on top of a huge Victorian tunnel shaft.
Details: Railway Avenue, SE16 4LF | Open Friday & Saturday | Book here

…Then Listen To Live Music in A Subterranean Tunnel | DEBUT

underground concerts quirky things to do london

In said tunnel shaft, you’ll find regular concerts taking place. It’s a real underground arts movement.
Details: The Brunel Museum, Railway Avenue, Rotherhithe, South East London, SE16 4LF | Book here

Go To a Subversive Penny Arcade | Novelty Automation

novelty automation quirky things to do in london

And enjoy a friendly game of “Divorce”.
Details: 1a Princeton Street, WC1R 4AX | Find out more here 

Pet Frogs and Drink Absinthe With A Stuffed Lioness | The Last Tuesday Society

Last Tuesday Society quirky things to do in London

The Last Tuesday Society is a Hackney bar serving absinthe cocktails and platters of insects. And downstairs is Viktor Wynd’s Cabinet of Curiosities; an adamantly anti-museum museum of the weird, wonderful and subversive, where regular events include séances, storytelling, petting zoos, and anthropomorphic taxidermy. ‘Regular’, in the sense that they happen frequently…
Details: 11 Mare Street, E8 4RP | See what’s on here

Unwind In A Bath Full of Red Wine | AIRE Ancient Baths

Aire Ancient Baths

Well, maybe this one isn’t so unusual, depending on your kind of Wednesday night.
Details: 2-3 Robert St, Covent Garden, WC2N 6RL Book here

Brew Your Own Sake | Kanpai

kanpai sake brewing quirky things to do

In a city dotted with craft beer breweries, Kanpai has gone against the grain and opened a sake brewery. It’s the only one in London, and as well as stopping by to sample their wares, you can actually come here for a full day workshop to brew your own.
Details: 48 Druid St, London SE1 2EZ | Open Wednesday – Sunday

Take A Stroll Through An Old Cemetery | Highgate Cemetery, Nunhead Cemetery, Kensal Green Cemetery, Abney Park Cemetery, Brompton Cemetery

kensal green cemetery

We hear you – mooching around cemeteries doesn’t exactly scream ‘fun’. But London’s ‘Magnificent Seven’ – a group of Victorian cemeteries filled with grandiose architecture, nature and wildlife – make for some surprisingly beautiful walks in London. Plus, you can see the graves of Karl Marx, George Michael and Douglas Adams…

Find An Unusual Slice Of Culture | House of Dreams

House of Dreams quirky things to do in London

Have a nose around the eccentric abode of artist/magpie Stephen Wright, who’s covered pretty much every spare centimetre of his walls in mosaics, photographs and found items.
Details: 45 Melbourne Grove, SE22 8RG | Book here 

Practice 180s Wakeboarding On The Thames | Wakeup Docklands


And then practice another trick: faceplants.

Details: Wakeup Docklands, 1 Dock Road, E16 1AG | Find out more here

Eat Street Food In A Church | Mercato Mayfair

mercato mayfair quirky things to do london

Then take it up to the terrace to enjoy next to the steeple.
Details: 13a North Audley Street, Mayfair, Central London, W1K 6ZA Find out more

Try a Taxidermy Workshop | A Field Guide to Taxidermy

taxidermy workshops London

Everything is supplied, so don’t worry about bringing your own dead mouse.
Details: Across London | Find out more here

Watch World-Class Magicians | The Magic Circle

magic circle shows unusual things to do

Catch one of the shows at The Magic Circle (the magicians’ HQ) before they do a disappearing act.
Details: 12 Stephenson Way, Euston, NW1 2HD Book here

Learn To Build Your Own Furniture | The Goodlife Centre

Don’t worry, you’re going to nail it.
Details: 49-55 Great Guildford Street, SE1 0ES Find out more

Explore A House Filled With Hand-Carved Wood | 575 Wandsworth Road

It’s basically like walking around a giant musical box.
Details: 575 Wandsworth Road, Battersea, SW8 3JD Tickets released every Thursday here

Scale Castle Walls | The Castle Climbing Centre

stoke newington castle climbing centre

One of the more unusual places in London to get fit: enter a former Victorian pumping station in Stoke Newington that looks like a fairytale castle… filled with rock climbing walls.
Details: The Castle Climbing Centre, Green Lanes, N4 2HA | Find out more

Try Your Hand at Crazy Boules | Between The Bridges

crazy boules

The sedate game of lawn bowls meets the unpredictable, deliriously competitive world of crazy golf. With neon.
Details: The Queen’s Walk, London SE1 Find out more

Walk Barefoot Through A Maze, In The Dark | Viola’s Room

The latest show from immersive theatre pioneers Punchdrunk sounds like one you could really lose yourself in.
Details: One Cartridge Place, Woolwich, SE18 6ZR Book tickets

Listen To Concerts in a Car Park | Bold Tendencies

bold tendencies quirky things to do in london

A multi-storey car park, reimagined as a neon-lit, almost open-air concert hall where the resident musicians have plenty of drive.
Details: Throughout summer 10th Floor, Multi Storey Car Park, 95A Rye Lane, Peckham, SE15 4ST Book here

Brush Up On Your Rhyming Slang | Carradine’s Cockney Sing-A-Long

cockney singalong quirky things to do in london

Get together for a traditional ding-dong around the old Joanna with perfect gentleman – and possible time-traveller – Tom Carradine.
Details: Check upcoming dates here

Relax In A Rooftop Sauna | Netil 360

netil 360 saunas unusual london activities

One of the most unusual saunas in London, where you’ll get the cabin to yourself – plus your own personal rooftop chill space for after, complete with a fire-pit and minibar.
Details: Netil Corner, 2 Bocking St, London E8 4RU Book here

Go On A Bond-Style Mission Across London | 007: Shadow of Spectre

007 game london

Intercept dead drops, track SPECTRE agents and get on texting terms with Moneypenny…
Details: Starts on the Southbank Book tickets

Listen To Jazz on London’s Floating Bookshop | Word On The Water

Word on the Water quirky things to do in London

Best paired with an ice cream from Ruby Violet.
Details: Regent’s Canal Towpath, N1C 4BZ | Find out more here

Check Out These Dinosaurs | Crystal Palace Park

crystal palace dinosaurs quirky things to do

Then get lost (in the giant maze).
Details: Crystal Palace Park, Thicket Rd, Crystal Palace, SE19 2GA

Feed The Birds at St James’s Park

Pelicans in St James Park

It’s home to six very docile pelicans – watch them get fed every day from 2.30-3pm.
Details: 3 Birdcage Walk, London, SW1A 2HQ Find out more

Walk Through A House Stuck in Time | Dennis Severs House

dennis severs house

This walk-through art installation feels like the 18th century residents just left the room…
Details: 18 Folgate Street, Spitalfields, E1 6BX Book here

Brush Up On Your Fan Knowledge | The Fan Museum

There’s over 5,000 different types of the handheld cooling device on display here, making it the world’s largest collection. Founder Hélène Alexander sure is a dedicated fan…
Details: 12 Crooms Hill, Greenwich, London, SE10 8ER | Find out more here

Try Life Drawing With Live Music | Hacknakey

hackanakey unusual things to do in london

At Hacknakey, the models are nude, the musicians are nude, and you, thankfully, are not.
Details: Kraft Dalston, 130a Kingsland High St, E8 2LQBook here

Have A Meal at One of London’s Unusual Restaurants

unusual places to eat in london

Eat meat disguised as fruit; watch contortionists perform on your table; and feast on cheese on a barge moored on the city’s canals… suffice to say there are some pretty quirky places to eat in London.

Go Roller Skiing In Hyde Park | Roller Ski

This activity sees aaaall the other quirky things to do in London, and raises them cross-country skiing. On roller-skis.
Details: Hyde Park, W2 2UH | Find out more here

Learn to Trapeze In A Park | Gorilla Circus

Gorilla Trapeze quirky things to do in London

Leaping romantically into each other’s arms, wearing matching spandex. Is this one of the most unusual things to do in London? Yes. Would this make an absolutely killer date? Also, yes…
Details: Outer Circle, Regent’s Park, NW1 4RT | Book here

Discover A Subterranean Roman Temple | London Mithraeum

London Mithraem - free things to do

Just your typical office block with an ancient cultish temple in the basement.
Details: 12 Walbrook, Bank, EC4N 8AA | Find out more

Stroll Round A Cathedral of Sewage | Crossness Pumping Station

Crossness pumping station

Following The Great Stink of 1858, Joseph Bazalgette was commissioned to build London’s sewer sytem. And at the end of it sat this ridiculously ornate pumping station, now open to nose around (and no longer pumping sewage).
Details: Thames Water S.T.W., Bazalgette Way, London SE2 9AQ Book here

Take The Mail Train | London Postal Museum

london postal museum quirky things to do

It’s a secret tube that used to ferry post beneath London. And yes, you can ride it.
Details: London Postal Museum, 15-20 Phoenix Place, WC1X 0DA Find out more

Eat Dinner in Complete Darkness | Dans Le Noir

Dans Le Noir

It’s just you and your tastebuds (and well, a restaurant full of other diners, from what you can hear).
Details: 30-31 Clerkenwell Green, EC1R 0DU | Book here

Spend An Evening In Prohibition-Era America  | The Candlelight Club

Candlelight Club - quirky things to do in London

A raucous, travelling, jazz-age party, with flappers, dancing, cabaret, cocktails and live bands.
Details: A Secret Location | Book here

Delve Into Abandoned Tube Tunnels | Hidden London

hidden london abandoned tube tunnel

Totally legitimately, we should add, with the London Transport Museum‘s Hidden London tours.
Details: Book here

Lodge Overnight with Lions | The London Zoo

London Zoo

We’ve all woken up in some unusual places after a wild night in London. This is hard to top though…
Details: Outer Circle, Regent’s Park, London NW1 4RY | Find out more here

Explore London’s Best Secret Gardens | Across London

Max Colson – Barbican Conservatory

Like the Barbican Conservatory, a Brutalist concrete jungle; St Dunstan-in-the-East, a bombed-out church overgrown with trees; and the Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden Bar & Café, a terrace above the Southbank Centre that just so happens to be one of the greenest rooftop bars in London

Cross The Glass Walkways Over The Thames | Tower Bridge

alternative things to do in london climb tower bridge

And get a new perspective on the Thames.
Details: Tower Bridge, Tower Bridge Road, London SE1 2UP Find out more

Host A Mini Olympics at London’s Top Activity Bars | Across London

Besides being one more unusual things to do in London, it’s also one of the most competitive. Especially if you create a day-long tournament of shuffleboard, bowling, table tennis, darts, crazy golf… and virtual clay shooting.


Looking for more inspiration? Peruse these 101 London date ideas