So forget visiting Big Ben and taking a ride on the London Eye, here we have immersive experiences that are off-the-beaten-path. There’s so much more worth exploring in the English capital!
Sure, London has some iconic and must-see sights. There is no doubt about that.
It’s just sometimes you get sick of tourist crowds and well, just being a tourist, right?
This guide covers:
- Unusual places to visit in London
- Different things to do in London
- Weird things to do in London
- Free things to do in London
We can’t wait to show you the amazing experiences London has to offer. You can easily spend One Week in London with all of this on offer.
(Last update: June, 2020)
Solo travelers, couples, older travelers and families – there is something here for everyone.
Before you go, make sure to have a read of our One Week In London itinerary.
List of Unique Experiences in London
From weird experiences London to unforgettable lifetime memories – it’s all here and more.
Here’s a quick overview of what you’re about to discover in this guide to unique experiences in London:
- HotTug down London’s canals
- Secret 1920s party
- Virtual Reality games
- Forage and Feast tour
- Visit Banksy’s graffiti area
- Laser tag a Zombie
- Fine Dining by Bus
- Sleep on a Canal Boat
- Silent Disco Walking Tour
- Ball pit fun
- Cat Cafe
- Dine in the dark
- Paddle Board around London
- God’s Own Junkyard
- Aeronaut Pub
- Underground Labyrinths
- Underground farm
- Mini golf, reimagined
- Mini Cooper & Gin
- Paranormal tour
- Physic Botanical Gardens
- Immersive gaming
- Speaker’s Corner, Hyde Park
- Sex Drugs Sausage Rolls
- London Dungeon
- Dinner in the Sky
- Become a Wizard
- Outdoor Swimming
- The Magic Circle
- Canoe through Little Venice
- Hula Hoop lessons
- Wild Life Drawing
- Learn to Play the Blues Guitar
- Pancakes and Cocktails
- Charity Shop Hop
- Hand Casting
- Winston Churchill Tour
Feel free to simply skip to the experience(s) which catches your eye. Otherwise, grab a coffee and slowly scroll down the page and have a look at each recommendation.
So, are you ready to delve into a collection of unique experiences in London?
We assure you this is the only alternative London guide you’re going to need. Let’s go!
1. Forget hot tubs, try a HotTug instead
Quite simply, this is your chance to hot tub down London’s canals. Yes, we’re 100% serious!
But this isn’t exactly your everyday normal hot tub. Something called a HotTug has been created for nothing but your enjoyment.
The HotTug is a self-drive, wood-fired bubble of fun that keeps a cozy 38 degrees. So it really doesn’t matter what the weather is doing. And no need to worry; the freshwater is changed for each trip.
Note: It’s a thumbs up to bring your own drinks. Just remember that the driver has to stay sober!
Once you’ve learned the ropes, enjoy 90 minutes of unique fun in West India Quay, London.
2. Attend a Secret 1920s Party
Shhh! Come in before someone sees you…
“The Candlelight Club is a pop-up Prohibition-era speakeasy in a secret London venue completely lit by candles.”
This is your time to dress up in 1920s attire, step back in time and attend a party of a lifetime.
The party has no permanent home, and you won’t know where it is being held until the night before. Fun!
One thing’s for certain, each party will host live jazz bands, cabaret performances, and elegant cocktail menu and scrumptious dining options. Basically, everything you need for a superb evening.
Address: Secret London location (Ticket holders will receive an email two days before the event giving exact directions, the password, which cops have been bribed, etc. )
Contact: 07768 628788
3. Your Portal to Another World
Quite literally step into an Otherworld and free roam an epic VR island paradise with portals to 16 unique virtual reality experiences.
Each room is a sense-hacking immersion experience, a private space which combines:
- A leading VR headset
- Dynamic heat, wind & rumble effects
Fight a zombie apocalypse, swing from tree to tree and discover secrets of the ancients…
All of this and more can only be accessed from a railway arch in Haggerston, East London.
Address: 336 Acton Mews, Haggerston, London E8 4EA
4. A Back to Nature Experience
Would you believe us if we told you it’s possible to forage for food in London? Well, it’s true.
According to the crew at Totally Wild, London is surrounded by food, in hedgerows, wild spaces, and common parks.
Join them on a Foraging and Feast tour and learn what is safe to pick and eat. They are professionals and will make sure you don’t end up in A&E!
Best bit: After the forage, sit down to enjoy a pre-made foraged lunch. The dandelion-root coffee cake sounds a-mazing!
This is certainly one of the offbeat things to do in London.
5. Visit Banksy’s Graffiti Area (FREE!)
Please tell me you’ve heard of the legendary Banksy?
He’s an anonymous England-based street artist and political activist with some seriously dark humor. Now you know.
Tucked behind the Cargo Club in London is a ‘designated graffiti area’. Go and see it for yourself as a typical prankish piece by Banksy.
This particular piece has even been protected by plexiglass.
6. Laser Tag a Zombie
It’s just you against a horde of zombies, are you ready?
Step inside Bunker 51 and prepare to laser tag live actors and zombies that are hungry for your blood.
This is such a fun, adrenaline-fueled activity for both adults and kids.
Feeling unprepared? Sign up to 1 hour of military-style training before embarking on a zombie laser tag adventure.
It’s great for families, solo travelers, and couples. Even if you’re just one person, you can join a public session and fight with other participants. What a cool way to make new friends.
Address: 3 Herringham Road, SE7 8NJ
Contact: 0330 333 8085
7. Fine Dining by Bus
Calling all cute couples that enjoy something different; this one’s for you.
Get your gourmet on and prepare to fill your bellies with a fancy 6-course meal… on a bus!
This is a date night you’ll never forget. And the cool thing is that the bus can seat up to 38 people so there’s a chance you’ll meet other nice travelers.
Sparkling wine, fancy starters, and delicious desserts await you. Eat merrily and enjoy London’s iconic sights at the same time.
Super cool: The table is magnetic so that your cutlery stays exactly where it’s supposed to!
8. Rock to Sleep on a Canal Boat
We do not doubt that glamping on the Regent’s canal will really float your boat (pun intended).
Velvet Morning is a 57-foot canal boat and has over 100 years of history and character to show off. She’s been revamped to make guests very welcome – there is even a bath onboard!
As the owners move her regularly, you can expect to be moored somewhere between Little Venice and Islington.
9. Spooky Silent Disco Walking Tour
Hands up if you’re in search of quirky things to do in London!
How does this sound: dancing the time warp on the bank of the Thames with your headphones on, whilst hearing spooky stories about the ghost of Hammersmith.
This is no ordinary walking tour, for it’s a silent disco walking tour.
Explore graveyards and sinister sights, and sip on a cup of ale to keep your courage topped up.
10. Get Balls Deep @ Ballie Ballerson
Lose those pesky adult inhibitions and spend the night playing in a huge ball pit! Because seriously, who wants to get older?
At Ballie Ballerson, you can spend your evening…
- Playing in two giant ball pits
- Dancing under pulsating lights
- Feasting on pizza & sipping cocktails
- Enjoying quirky entertainment
Luckily for you, there are two venues. One in Shoreditch and the other in Soho. Let’s go!
- Shoreditch: Ballie Ballerson Shoreditch, 97-113 Curtain Road, London EC2A 3BS
- Soho: Ballie Ballerson Soho, 53-54 Berwick Street, London W1F 8SP
11. Drink Tea and Cuddle Cats
Ok cat lovers and tea enthusiasts, this one’s for you!
Welcome to the wonderful Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium, the UK’s longest-running cat cafe. And it is just as cute and exciting as you’d expect.
Here’s the deal:
- All of the cats are rescued
- The tea rooms are wonderland themed
- Cold & hot drinks, cakes, and light meals are on offer
Important: Online bookings must be made in advance. Most time slots last for 90 minutes.
We highly recommend splashing out on the High Tea with Cats experience. Cakes, scones, tea & cats – sorted!
Address: 52-154 Bethnal Green Road, London E2 6DG
12. Dine in the Dark
Forget your ordinary restaurant experience. Dining at Dans le Noir? A unique sensory and human experience.
Reclaim your senses and re-evaluate your taste perception; it’s time to dine in the pitch darkness!
We just love this idea. For once you can be set free from social conventions and visual preconceptions. You will be guided by a blind or partially sighted person, getting a first-hand experience of their reality.
Let smell, taste, and touch take over for a few hours as you enjoy organic food and fruity wine.
Psst! Rumour has it that there will be a Dans le Noir escape game opening in 2020.
Address: 30-31 Clerkenwell Green, London EC1R 0DU
Contact: +44 (0) 20 7253 1100
13. Paddle Board around London
Forget your walking shoes or taking a train, bus or taxi. See London from a new perspective – the water!
One of the fun things to do in London is to climb atop a paddleboard and drift past some of London’s iconic sights.
It’s quick and easy to learn, so no worries if you haven’t done it before. Your guide is very skilled, patient and knowledgeable.
Everything is supplied: SUP, wetsuit, clothing. It runs through the winter, too.
14. God’s Own Junkyard
Wandering around God’s Own Junkyard is bound to leave you feeling like you’ve died and gone to neon heaven.
This place is full to the brim with neon lights, old movie props, and retro displays. From circus lighting and neon art to signs that have appeared behind huge movie stars like Tom Cruise and Johnny Depp.
Chris Bracey, known as the Neon Man for 37 years, is the brains behind this creation.
There’s even a Rolling Scones Cafe on-site which is open for food and drink all weekend.
Address: Unit 12 Ravenswood Ind Estate, Shernhall Street, London E17 9HQ
Contact: 020 8521 8066
15. A Pub with a Serious Twist
Over in the West End, you’ll find what is arguably West London’s best pub – Aeronaut.
Not only will you enjoy great food and drinks, but circus shows, drag shows, and epic themed-brunches.
Seriously, these guys have thought of everything. Also on-site is a permanent virtual reality feature, fun photo booth, and a wonderful Fairground Garden.
From craft Thursdays and DJ nights to comedy and bring-your-baby pub quizzes. Prepare to have a lot of fun, no matter what type of traveler you are!
Address: 264 ACTON HIGH STREET, LONDON W3 9BH
Contact: 0208 993 4242
16. Seek out the Underground Labyrinths (FREE!)
In search of cool things to do in London that don’t cost the earth? Here is a fun freebie for you.
Every one of London’s 270 tube stations has a piece of artwork displayed by Mark Wallinger, entitled Labyrinth.
His idea was commissioned by Art on the Underground to celebrate the Underground’s 150th anniversary.
So, what’s it all about?
It’s purely a bit of fun to keep the fun in moving around this big city. In each underground station, you will find one of Mark’s labyrinths to find. The question is, how many can you find and can you solve them?
17. Growing Food, Underground
Welcome to the agricultural revolution – the world’s first underground farm aptly named Growing Underground!
Take a tour 33 meters below the busy streets of Clapham and cast your eyes on fresh microgreens and salad leaves. This is simply astonishing!
Forgotten tunnels have become a pesticide-free growing environment.
What else is so cool about this? The prime location means lesser food miles traveled for retailers and consumers.
Fun facts: The hydroponics system uses 70% less water than open-field farming. The food goes from farm to fork in under 4 hours.
Address: 1a Carpenter’s Pl, Clapham Town, London SW4 7TD
Contact: 0207 627 1027
18. Mini Golf, Reimagined
Welcome to the world of Puttshack, where an old-fashioned game of mini golf meets never seen before technology. This is very cool indeed!
Alongside amazing design and neon lights, there’s this thing called a Prize Wheel. And yep, it’s exactly what you think. Sink your ball and be in for a chance to win drinks, pizzas and extra points.
Without a doubt, this is one of the unique things to do in London for party groups.
Hens, stags, birthdays, kids parties and exclusive hire – all are welcome here with great group packages.
- Lakeside: The Quay intu, West Thurrock Way, Grays, Essex, RM20 2AD
- White City: Ariel Way, London, W12 7HB
- Bank: 1 Poultry, Queen Victoria Street, London, EC2R 8EJ
Contact: 020 3912 9400
19. Iconic Car, Iconic Drink
What’s not to love about the concept of driving around in a classic Mini Cooper to the best gin bars and distillery in Central London?!
Of course, you’ll have your own personal driver.
This means you and two friends can sit back, relax and enjoy the rum!
Clip-in your seat belt and get ready to enjoy the best gin bars in Zone 1 of London. This includes a distillery trip to get to know more about this iconic drink.
It’s possible to book a 2 hour (3 stops) and 3-hour (5 stops) tour.
20. Paranormal Activity Tour
Get your spook on and prepare to have your blood chilled on this supernatural experience. It’s no wonder that this is a sell-out tour!
Become part of a paranormal investigation hunting for ghosts, poltergeists and very strange encounters.
Will you dare to use the Ouija board? We’re not sure we’re brave enough…!
During the 2 hours, you will visit London’s largest execution site, absconded gaol cells and learn about the grisly end of William Wallace.
Important: Tours typically run twice a month on a Friday night and it is strictly an adults-only activity.
21. Visit the oldest Botanic Garden in London
Ever heard of a physic garden? We hadn’t, either!
Chelsea Physic Garden was created in 1673 and is now home to around 5,000 different edible, useful, herbal and medical plants. It’s tucked away beside the Thames making it feel special and secret.
There are also fun and informative events to join, and plenty of coffee to be drunk at the shop and cafe.
Address: 66 Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, London, SW3 4HS
Contact: 020 7352 5646
23. Immersive Games with Buckbuck
‘Buckbuck’ started designing immersive gaming back in 2014. Since then, they’ve taken off and become something truly impressive! The games have been described as ‘Crystal Maze on crystal meth’.
“Whether you’re someone with an instinct to solve some puzzles, or you’re a full-on Goonie, we have the game for you!”
We highly recommend trying out The Hunt for the Smoking Caterpillar.
Bid, barter, bribe, and blackmail with live actors. It combines immersive theatre, murder mystery, escape room fun and a bonkers storyline.
24. Listen to the Outspoken in Hyde Park (FREE!)
Only in Hyde Park will you find the oldest living free speech platform in the world – Speaker’s Corner.
This has traditionally been a place for rallies, protests, and marches to either assemble or end. A place where controversial subjects are still spoken about today.
Continuing the tradition which dates back to the 1800s, every Sunday morning it’s common to find crowds gathered at Speaker’s Corner to listen to those that hold strong views about many different subjects.
Anyone is welcome to speak about anything during this allotted time. And everyone is welcome to stand and listen!
24. Sex Drugs Sausage Rolls
The name of this tour says it all. Well, kind of. Let’s paint a better picture for you.
The Naughty London tour is all about debauched activity, grime, and downright filth! Dedicate 1.5 hours of your life to the nastiness and grossosity of London’s dark past.
Note: You need a sense of humor and a strong stomach to join this tour.
Discover the origins of their f*#%ing favorite swear word, find out when the vibrator was invented and visit the nest of Satan.
Top of the list for unusual things to do in London!
Here are more things to do in London: unusual things.
25. Creep around the London Dungeon
Alright, alright you got us. This is a very well known activity in London and not exactly what you’d call unique as there are Dungeons across the UK.
But bare with us. We’ve been here more than once and promise you that it’s simply not to be missed!
There is so much to get involved in when you’re not being scared to death by live actors.
How about an escape room, a vertical free-fall ride, and 19 interactive shows? Not to mention laughs, screams and cutting edge storytelling.
You can easily spend an entire day here. It’s ideal if the weather turns English.
Address: The London Dungeon County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road London SE1 7PB
Contact: 03333 212001
26. Dinner in the Sky
Part of a global Dinner in the Sky group is a UK capital version aptly named London in the Sky.
Have you guessed what it’s all about yet? You got it – enjoy an evening meal 100ft in the air!
This specially designed Sky Table can seat up to 22 people at once and takes flight eight times a day. That means breakfast, lunch, and dinner can be enjoyed in the clouds.
And quick expectedly, the views up there are awesome!
Remember: There is no toilet up here so just be mindful of how much you drink.
Address: The O2! Peninsula Square, Greenwich Peninsula, London SE10 0DX
27. Make Fantasy come to Life
Magic nerds and Harry Potter lovers will no doubt go crazy for the chance to create their own potions. At The Cauldron this is entirely possible!
Put on your robe, grab your magic wand and head to the interactive workstation. Cast a spell and watch as a pint of beer or cocktail appears before your eyes.
“Magic is just science we don’t yet understand.” Let a mix of science, design, and technology bring the magic of fantasy books to life in your personal immersive experience. See you there!
Address: 79 Stoke Newington Rd, London, N16 8AD
Contact: 07733 540647
28. Swimming in Hampstead Heath
Wim Hof will eat your heart out. The open-air swimming facilities at Hampstead Heath are certainly worth a visit if you appreciate a refreshing dip.
The ladies and men’s ponds are the only lifeguarded open water swimming facilities in the UK. Every day of the year!
There is also a mixed pond and a Parliament Hill Fields Lido which is 60 x 27 meters (unheated, uncovered).
Address: City of London, Guildhall, PO Box 270, London, EC2P 2EJ
Contact: 020 7606 3030
29. The Magic Circle
The Magic Circle is a museum, theatre, library and club room that hosts shows and events all in the name of MAGIC!
This is simply one of those nerdy things to do in London and a perfect surprise for that geeky boyfriend.
Witness amazing magic in front of your eyes, or simply make a visit to the museum.
Tip: Arrive an hour before your show starts and have a look around the building – there are lots to see.
Address: The Centre for the Magic Arts, 12 Stephenson Way, Euston, London, NW1 2HD
Contact: 0800 681 6096
30. Canoe through Little Venice
Here you have permission to navigate your own adventure through the city’s waterways, on a canoe!
Pick your canoe and paddle out from Paddington Basin to enjoy the simplicity of messing about in a boat. There are 2-3 person canoes available to explore Little Venice and Maida Vale.
31. Hula School Lessons
Want a stomach as hard as diamonds and reminiscent of a washboard? Hula hooping is for you!
Meet Marawa the Amazing. This lady can hula 133 hoops at one time, and has performed all over the world. Now she wants to personally show you the ropes.
What will you be learning?
Twirling and whirling and everything else hoop related. Get your body moving and learn skills to take with you and your hoop wherever you go.
32. (Wild) Life Drawing
Instead of naked strangers, the subject for this unique experience in London is animals.
“The aim is to inspire a sense of appreciation and understanding for animals through creativity and to raise awareness of conservation issues around the globe.”
Whether you’re a pro or haven’t exceeded past stick-figure drawing, this informal class is open to all skill levels.
Good to know: Open to over 18s only. All materials are provided and classes take place all over London (3 per month).
33. Learn Guitar with John Ellis (The Strangler)
Blues lovers, roll up, roll up! This is your chance to master the blues guitar with musical legend John Ellis.
Jam with John and learn the key principles of blues guitar. Pull-offs, slides, hammer-ons and turn arounds – all of this will make sense at the end of this 4-hour experience!
Don’t forget to bring your guitar as these are not provided.
34. Daydate: Pancakes & Cocktails
This is not just a 1 or 2-hour experience. Make a day of it instead, thanks to a curated itinerary by Indytute.
Your day around Bankside and Borough looks like this:
- A pancake feast & cocktail for two
- Self-guided audio tour
- Wine sampling in Borough market
- End the day with a show
A vegan, veggie or wheat-free? There are pancakes available to tickle all taste buds.
35. Charity Shop Hop
A most-loved British pastime is rummaging through old loves at a charity shop. Once looked down upon, this has now become seriously popular and brag-worthy!
Join a local and Charity Shop Hop the city’s hot spots. From vintage clothing to collectibles – what will be your bargain of the day?
36. 3D Cast your own Hand
Have you ever wondered what your hand says about you?
Well, Hand Casting encourages you to get artistic about this question.
Create your own work of art through hand expression. Join hands with a lover, clasp your child’s hand or simply capture your own.
“Hands are never banal. The fingers, the nails, the lines all merge to tell their story. Clasped, stretched, extended. They are a work of art.”
Note: This experience is suitable for up to 2 adults and 1 child.
37. Follow in the Footsteps of Winston Churchill
This is a really unusual walking tour that doesn’t focus on the iconic sights and attractions.
Instead, look at London through the eyes of Winston Churchill – one of the world’s greatest leaders.
Join a tour that leads through Mayfair and Green Park, discovering stories of Churchill and his life during WWII.
Summary of Unique Experiences in London
Alright ladies and gentlemen, hopefully, you have been blown away by all of these unique experiences in London you didn’t know existed. Until now!
Well done to you for taking the time to do some research and think outside the box.
Did we miss anything cool, fun, unique? Please let us know so we can add it to the list!