Top Ten Unusual Things to do in London – Part 1

February 16, 2022
unusual things to do in london - Ugo arinzeh

Looking to discover more of London including some unusual spots?  

As someone who came over from the US, I have definitely done the main “tourist” spots of London. But having lived here now for over 10 years, it’s fun to share the lesser-known spots that are worth discovering.  

So whether you are travelling here for a long-awaited vacation, or live in this fabulous city and are looking for some exciting new experiences, then I hope you will add some of these selections to your list, I know I will! 

Head to some of the secret and beautiful streets of London

London is filled with incredible sights, so while you’re enjoying this beautiful city, you’ll want to take your time getting lost down its winding streets that are filled with incredible architecture, shops, restaurants and history. 

I always recommend to those I know who are visiting London to add extra time in their day to explore streets off the beaten path to enjoy all that London has to offer. 

A few of my top picks include: 

St. Christopher’s Place

Just off of Oxford street, St Christopher’s place offers 20 divine dining spots to enjoy – with outside seating when the summer hits, as well as independent boutiques and shops to browse that aren’t as busy as those on Oxford street. 

Berwick Street

Berwick Street in Soho is filled with vinyl shops, vintage stores and eateries to stop and enjoy, as well as flower stands, bakeries & fruit stalls. 

Bywater Street

Bywater Street is off of King’s Road in Chelsea. It’s a colour-lover’s delight, with stunning houses to drool over in an affluent and trendy part of town. 

Walk the caves of London 

If you want to take an adventure underground, then London offers a selection of caves and vaults to go subterranean and be amazed. 

Chislehurst Caves

When you head to Chislehurst, you can walk through the man-made caves from the 13th century. These caves were used for smuggling, murder, a wartime munitions store, as well as a concert venue! You can book a 45-minute tour of the caves and learn about Druids, Romans,  and Saxons, as well as discovering the haunted pool – definitely one for the history buffs.

The London Silver Vaults

Staying closer to the city you can go below Chancery Lane for something you may never have expected! Built in 1876 as a storage for jewellery, documents & household silver, The London Silver Vaults is now home to over 30 shops that sell all kinds of silver artefacts. They are open from 9am – 5:30pm on weekdays, and 9am – 1pm on Saturdays. This is a truly magical experience, and you’ll want to give yourself enough time to discover the world’s largest retail collection of silver! 

Cafe in the Crypt, Trafalgar Square

If dining while taking in some incredible history is on your wishlist then Cafe in the Crypt beneath St Martin in the Fields is a true experience. It is set within the original brick-vaulted ceilings of the church’s crypt with tombstones still viewable on the floor of the cafe. You can enjoy delicious food from hearty classics like apple crumble, or even afternoon teas. I recommend taking a walk through the crypt to view the artefacts collection after finishing your meal to admire the history. 

Experience a unique London staple 

Nothing says English more than afternoon tea.  With this being so popular here, many establishments offering this decadent treat, you will discover many have put their own unique twist on the experience. 

From a Mad Hatters Tea Party at The Sanderson Hotel in Soho to a Charlie & the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea at One Aldwych in Covent Garden, or even a Science Afternoon Tea at The Ampersand Hotel in South Kensington, we have an array of options available to enjoy! 

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Check out my video on the Top Afternoon Teas in London for more unique ways to enjoy this British institution.

Take a swim

London may not be the top of your list for getting outside for a swim, however, you may be surprised to hear that it has a great selection of fantastic lidos and swimming ponds to enjoy. 

A few of top picks to consider:

Hampstead Heath Ponds

 Hampstead Heath Ponds are among the most beautiful in the country.  You are literally swimming amongst trees, irises and honeysuckles.  There are 3 separate pools – one for ladies, one for men and mixed groups. The ladies’ and men’s ponds are the UK’s only lifeguarded open water swimming facilities open to the public every day of the year.

Admission costs are £2 for adults, or you can sign up for a Summer Membership for £66; or an all-year membership for £125. 

Serpentine Lido

In the middle of Hyde Park is the Serpentine Lido with incredible royal park views.  

At 100 metres in length, this is a popular triathlon spot. 

The water is clean and clear but as you swim in the middle of the lake, you can have families on pedalos gliding past, along with swans in the water that you should keep a watchful eye on.  On a separate note, there are no showers – so if you like to swim before work, you’ll want to leave enough time to shower at the office or on the way to it!

Admission is £4.80 for Adults,and £1.80 for children. It is open 10am-6pm June, July and August. In May weekends only.

For a full list of lidos and swimming ponds in London, check out my video which showcases 7 you can enjoy!

This is the first part of a two-part series with my top ten unusual things to do in London, and I’ll share the next five next week.

Have you got any unusual things you recommend doing in London?

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