8 unusual things to do in London

You’ve seen Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, taken a trip around the London Eye, how about exploring a side of London you’ve never seen before? We’ve found some of the more unusual things to do in London, so you don’t have to:

‘Mudlarking’ on the River Thames
You asked for weird and wonderful! A messier take on beachcombing, Mudlarking on the Thames lets you explore the banks of London’s famous river. You might not find any hidden treasure amongst all the muck and dirt, but there are plenty of interesting bits and pieces there for you to locate. From pottery to buttons and tools, the Thames has an awful lot of history running through it. And, if you’re looking to get off the beaten path in London, this might just fit the bill. It does require a little bit of planning however, and you will need to apply for a permit to Mudlark.

Moo Canoes
If digging around the Thames isn’t quite what you had in mind, why not try Moo Canoes instead? In single or tandem canoes, you can explore modern-day London via its central waterway. With any number of routes for you to explore, they’re equipped with various places to stop off mid-trip for a bite to eat, or a general walk around. Looking like a herd of slow-moving cattle in your cow-coloured canoe, this is an ideal way of getting a different look at a city you might already think you know.

God's Own Junkyard
Image: God’s Own Junkyard

Gods Own Junk Yard
The product of an incredible neon collection, Gods Own Junk Yard offers an experience that you’ll certainly remember. Creating and salvaging neon lights that have appeared everywhere from films to fairgrounds, Chris Bracey has even seen his Junk Yard appear in a 2011 shoot for Vogue magazine. Home also to the Rolling Scones café, Gods Own Junk Yard is an absolute must for those of you seeking an alternative look at London.

Edgware Road
Running in a straight line for almost 16 kilometres, Edgware Road, as you might expect, has its origins in the Roman occupation of London almost 2,000 years ago. Take the turn at Marble Arch today, however, and you’ll find a wonderful mix of incredible restaurants and shisha bars to settle down in for the evening. With its distinct Middle Eastern flavour, Edgware Road offers a particularly remarkable selection of Lebanese cuisine. If you are a foodie, another unusual thing to do is sample the fantastic street food in London.

Within short walking distance of Oxford Street and Hyde Park, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to taking a little evening stroll after all that excitement.

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Brigit’s Afternoon Tea Bus Tour
Fancy a spot of afternoon tea, but want to venture a little further afield than The Dorchester or Savoy? Well, Brigit’s Afternoon Tea Bus Tour might be just what you’re looking for. In a vintage double-decker bus, you’ll be driven around central London to see all the city’s famous sights while you enjoy your tea, sandwiches and cakes. An hour and a half in length (depending on traffic), this is an unusual way to see London, and enjoy some five-star treatment.

Shoreditch Art

Alternative London
Promising you a London “you won’t find in the guidebooks,” Alternative London offers tours through the city’s vibrant East End. Showcasing the creativity of London’s phenomenal street art, Alternative London works closely with the artists behind it; guaranteeing you an insight that is second to none. Tailoring the experience to your own needs, they offer walking tours, bike tours, food & drink tours, and, if you think you’re up to it, a graffiti workshop too. This one is not to be missed. If you want to create some of your own stunning photograph’s, why not pay a visit to some of the most instagrammable spots in London.

Lee Valley VeloPark
You may remember that London hosted the Olympic Games in 2012. Making good use of the extravagant infrastructure such an endeavour demands, the Lee Valley VeloPark allows you to act like an Olympian; for a few hours at least. You can have a go on their outdoor BMX circuit, or take a spin around the fastest indoor velodrome track in the world. As well as the cycling, the facility offers all manner of sporting activities. From horse riding to ice-skating, orienteering to tennis, you’ll never get bored. After, why not explore one of London’s world famous parks.

Hidden London
Opened in 1863, the London underground isn’t only the best way to get around the city, it’s also home to one of the best tourist activities you’ll find in London. Taking guided tours through ‘ghost stations’ no longer in use, it can be a little eerie at times. Often used now for film settings, you can take a walk through the city’s underground passages that few people ever get to see first-hand. You’ll need to book ahead for this one. As well as only taking place at certain times in the year, they are extremely popular. You can book your tickets here.

If you enjoy exploring the abandoned underground, why not keep going? We’ve found some of the best walks in London that are a perfect way to catch up with a loved one or explore this European capital.

So what are you waiting for? Book your flights here and discover hidden London.

Read next: 5 stunning London parks you need to explore.