20 quirky & unusual things to do in London

20 quirky & unusual things to do in London

Red double-deckers, Buckingham Palace, The London Eye and a ride or two on the Tube – that’s what London’s all about, right?

While the iconic side of London is fabulous and inviting, and I can never get enough of it, London is also bursting with quirky things to do.

These cool quirky things to do in London are as diverse as the Natural History Museum’s displays, and give a totally new and unique London experience.

I love that you can visit London time and again and have a totally different experience. 

Below is a huge selection of the best quirky things to do in London. Remarkably, this list is far from exclusive – it may take a little unearthing, but London really is awash with secret and unusual experiences.

Check out these 20 quirky things to do in London and then go on the hunt for more of your own (and do send me a DM on Instagram if you find any cool spots!).

Author Bio: Jessie Moore

Jessie Moore is a luxury travel expert with years of experience travelling the world to find the best destinations, hotels and adventures.

1. Afternoon tea with a difference

My undying love for afternoon tea is no secret. But move over traditional afternoon teas and make way for some really unusual and different experiences.

Frankly, you can’t visit London without indulging in afternoon tea, but who says it has to be traditional and not outstandingly memorable?

Afternoon Tea

There are so many different options to choose from. Many are tied in with the themes of West End shows, or can change according to the season.

Two of my favourites are The Science Afternoon Tea at The Ampersand Hotel, just around the corner from the Science Museum, and The Potion Room at Cutter & Squidge in Soho.

At the Science Afternoon Tea you’ll bite into edible planets and conduct your very own refreshing experiments. At the Potion Room, be prepared to have fun experimenting with magical delights. 

Discover more of my favourite afternoon teas in London.

2. Hidden London – secret London Underground

Hidden behind (or underneath!) some of London’s busiest places are various different disused tube stations, ticket halls, lifts, and platforms!

It’s actually incredible how many different Hidden London sites there are.

One of my first experiences of a disused tube station was on a film set when I was an extra for a BBC period drama (I used to do extras work to pay my way at university!).

I remember it primarily for the sheer amount of steps we had to climb down. Once underground, it felt like being in a time capsule, with a snippet of 1940s London frozen in time.

London Underground

Film sets aside, you can stand on the platform at Down Station, where Winston Churchill took refuge during the Blitz. Or maybe you think you know Euston?

Be prepared to have your mind blown as you head into the maze of tunnels around this bustling station. At Highgate you can see how nature is reclaiming the disused Tube for itself.

You can book a Hidden London Walking Tour via GetYourGuide or Viator – or try a Private Underground and Tube Tour.

If you want to make it spooky, there are plenty of ghost tours and stories to experience too.

3. Spot the False Houses in Leinster Gardens

Address: 23-24 Leinster Gardens, London W2 3AN

Not everything is as it seems and here’s a case of appearances over substance!

Head to Leinster Gardens and take a look at numbers 23 and 24. Just like any of the other opulent and ornate listed buildings on this wealthy Victorian street, yes?

Actually, 23 & 24 Leinster Gardens are completely false and mere 1.5m thick facades!

They completely blend in with their neighbours but actually fall under Transport for London’s remit because they hide where there was a steam engine-hauled underground line and its associated air vent. 

It was even used as a location in the BBC TV series Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.

Another time it was used fraudulently by tricksters selling tickets to a ball that never existed! Look hard though – they are difficult to spot!

4. Sneak a peek in the belly of Tower Bridge

Address: Tower Bridge Rd, London SE1 2UP

Opening times: Daily 09:30 – 18:00

Book: Tower Bridge Entry Ticket

Tower Bridge is London at its most iconic, and certainly doesn’t usually fit the bill of something quirky to do.

However, did you know that inside the bridge is a secret chamber, called Bascule Chamber?

Tower Bridge

Book your entry ticket to see behind-the-scenes of this iconic London tourist attraction.

If you want to experience it a different way, they even hold concerts in the chamber in the summer months!

5. Light up your eyes in God’s Own Junkyard

Address: Unit 12, Ravenswood Industrial Estate, Shernhall St, London E17 9HQ

Opening times:

  • Friday & Saturday: 11:00 – 22:00
  • Sunday: 11:00 – 18:00
  • Check the website for closures due to private events

Prepare to be dazzled by a visit to God’s Own Junkyard. Best described as a neon art gallery, this place is awash with neon signs, props and displays perfect for an eye-catching selfie.

From circus lighting to architectural signs, it’s like a treasure trove of all things bright and beautiful, right in Walthamstow.

God’s Own Junkyard is a private collection belonging to Christopher Bracey A.K.A. the Neon Man.

He’s actually a second-generation sign-maker and you can really feel his passion for neon in action. Finish up in the café to make the most of your unusual time.

Good to know: Cameras (DSLRs) are not allowed at God’s Own Junkyard, but you can take photos with your mobile phone.

6. Go for full immersion at Gingerline

This is a dining experience unlike any other and will rank as one of the most memorable meals and experiences you’ve ever had.

Expect a delicious dinner, entirely themed, surrounded by everything from incredible visuals to acrobats and actors. There’s no escaping the action, but this is something you’ve never done before! 

Previous events include the Grand Expedition, featuring a five-course meal that’s themed around children’s story books, taking you around the world.

It’s unconventional, it’s quirky, and you’ll love it. I suggest signing up to their mailing list to find out about new events.

7. Drink from the toilet in Fitzrovia

Address: 27a Foley Street, Fitzrovia, London W1W 6DY

Opening times:

  • Monday – Friday: 08:00 – 16:00
  • Saturday & Sunday: 09:00 – 16:00

Not literally – but close enough! This one is definitely an experience for those who love to seek out an unusual coffee spot.

Head down the stairs of an old Victorian toilet in Foley Street in Fitzrovia, and you’ll find The Attendant – a fun and unusual café.

This converted public toilet has kept true to its roots and the urinals are the main focus of the décor!

Don’t think your coffee will be subpar though! The Attendant Roastery brings you exquisite cups of coffee alongside breakfast, lunch and brunch. 

8. Take magic to a whole new level

Say goodbye to cringe-worthy poor quality magic shows and take yourself to The Magic Circle in London for a truly remarkable experience.

It’s no real surprise that this is where the magic happens, given that it’s the societal home of some of the world’s greatest and most talented magicians and illusionists.

Regular shows are put on, and if you attend one, you also get to visit their museum. How cool is that?!

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9. Go kayaking on the Thames

Experiencing London from the water is usually left for the boats, but if you want to get a really up close and personal view from the Thames then kayaking is the way to go.

Imagine nonchalantly paddling past the Houses of Parliament, cruising on past The London Eye.

It’s kayaking as you’ve never done it before, and a chance to see London in a totally new way! Kayaking London offers tours, including ones at night. 

Or you can also hire kayaks for a few hours of paddling in nearby Windsor.

10. Have a scream at Hoxton Street Monster Supplies

Address: 159 Hoxton St, London N1 6PJ

Opening times:

  • Thursday & Friday: 13:00 – 17:00
  • Saturday: 11:00 – 17:00
  • Closed Sunday to Wednesday

Billed as a children’s entertainment store, you’re missing a trick if you leave all the ghoulish gruesome fun to the little people.

At Hoxton Street Monster Supplies you’ll find delights as diverse as Guts & Garlic Chutney to Minty Maggots.

What’s fabulous is that this is actually run by a charity – Ministry of Stories – which encourages children to indulge in writing their own tales. You’ll certainly get service with a snarl! 

11. Go backstage at the National Theatre

The National Theatre has seen stars of the stage make their name, and it’s famous the world over.

However, you’ve not experienced it all if you’ve only ever been front-of-house. There are backstage tours at the National Theatre which enable you to see the inner workings of this globally successful theatre.

National Theatre London

There are various different tours according to what floats your boat.

I love the Costume, Wigs, Hair and MakeUp Tours, which show you just how much work and effort go into each and every performance.

12. Indulge yourself watching the BFI National Archives

Address: Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, London SE1

Opening times:

  • Tuesday to Sunday: 11:00 – 21:00
  • Closed on Mondays, except Bank Holidays

The BFI is a seriously cool place to go at the best of times, but did you know that within the BFI on the Southbank you can pay a visit to the Mediatheque?

Here you can nestle into your own private booth, pop on your headphones, and take your pick from the entire selection of digitised BFI National Archives.

What’s great is that you can literally pick exactly what suits you.

So if you want to indulge your love of vintage period dramas whilst your other half is into something they call humour that you really don’t get, then all is good!

13. Pause for a moment at St Dunstan in the East

Address: St Dunstan’s Hill, London EC3R 5DD

Tucked away in the bustling heart of London lies a serene escape that juxtaposes the city’s urban rhythm: St Dunstan in the East.

Originally built around 1100, this historic Church of England parish suffered immense damage during the Great Fire of London in 1666 and again in the Blitz of World War II.

Instead of restoring it to its former glory after the war, the city chose to transform it into a public garden.

The gothic arches, now intertwined with climbing ivy and plants, frame the sky above. While the sounds of the city are replaced by the gentle rustling of leaves and the chirping of birds.

It’s one of my preferred London spots for seeking a moment of respite, and the garden provides a unique blend of history and tranquility.

Whether you’re a history buff, a photographer, or just someone seeking a peaceful nook, St Dunstan in the East is one of my personal favourite London treasures.

14. Worship a Roman God at the Temple of Mithras

Hidden away under the Bloomberg buildings is the Mithraeum; an ancient Roman Temple of Mithras.

Here you can enjoy an immersive experience exploring the artefacts and visiting a temple which miraculously dates from the 3rd century!

What’s more, a visit here is free, but you do need to book. Find out who you’re worshipping, why, and how to do it!

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15. Stay the night at London Zoo

Address: Outer Cir, London NW1 4RY

For most, a day trip to the zoo culminates in tired feet and happy memories. But what if you could extend the adventure after the gates close?

London Zoo offers the unique opportunity to stay overnight in one of the zoo’s private lodges, nestled comfortably amidst animal enclosures.

Designed to blend rustic charm with modern comfort, you get all the amenities of a hotel but in a truly unforgettable location.

An overnight stay at London Zoo also means you get to benefit from a private after-hours tour.

16. Have dinner in the dark

Address: 69-73 St John St, London EC1M 4NJ

This is certainly one of the most memorable dining experiences I’ve ever had!

Dans Le Noir offers more than just a meal – it’s a transformative sensory experience. You may recognise it from the film About Time.

This one-of-a-kind restaurant invites diners to enjoy gourmet dishes in complete darkness.

And it really is pitch black – you even have to remove any watches which may reflect light (they have lockers for your belongings).

You’ll be guided to your table by visually impaired waitstaff, before embarking on a culinary journey where flavours, textures, and temperatures take centre stage.

Each bite becomes a delightful surprise, and conversations flow differently, fostering deeper connections.

This probably isn’t one for fussy eaters, as you have absolutely no idea what you’ll be tucking into. But it’s a fabulous experience and one of the best unique things to do in London.

17. Step through the Looking Glass for a cocktail or two

Address: 49 Hackney Rd, London E2 7NX

The Looking Glass Cocktail Club is as quirky as it sounds!

Found at 49 Hackney Road, you literally step through the Looking Glass where you’ll be treated to ‘decadent debauchery’ with ‘eccentric entertainment’ and, of course, incredible and unusual cocktails.


Expect performance art, amazing music, and a night out like no other. This is a brilliant option for cocktail lovers and those looking for a vibrant evening.

18. Wonder at the stories behind the Hyde Park Pet Cemetery

Address: 41 Bayswater Rd, London W2 4RQ

Let your imagination run wild as you wander amongst the final resting places of 300 pets from the Victorian era.

From the original ‘Cherry’, a Maltese terrier, through to inscriptions such as ‘Bobbit’ and ‘Darling Dolly’, the inscriptions are quite thought-provoking.

It’s mostly a place for dogs and cats, but also see if you can spot the monkey and several birds. 

19. Listen to what the statues have to say

Talking Statues enables you to hear what statues would say – if they could talk! Loads of the statues dotted around London are fitted with a Talking Statues QR code (normally on their Blue Plaque).

Simply scan it and listen to what that statue’s got to say.

London Statue

It’s a history lesson that’s far from boring.

Whether you want to hear the secret whispers of Peter Pan in Hyde Park or listen to the story of Sherlock Holmes in Baker Street, there’s something that will have you enthralled. 

20. Ride the Mail Rail

Addrss: 15-20 Phoenix Pl, London WC1X 0DL

Opening times:

  • Postal Museum: Wednesday to Sunday 10:00 – 17:00
  • Mail Rail: Wednesday to Sunday 10:00 – 15:30

Tickets: Included in Museum Ticket

From 1927 right up until 2003, an underground railway was responsible for helping to deliver heaps of letters around the capital.

Now, at The Postal Museum you can ride this little train for a completely unique London experience.

The train takes you through a tiny tunnel and is part of the whole fascinating museum experience.

Definitely one for experiencing a different angle of London’s workings!

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You may not associate London with all things quirky, but it definitely has a feast of unusual things to offer so that you can experience a different side of this city.

For more inspiration, have a read of my guide to the best tourist attractions in London.

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Jessie Moore
Jessie Moore

Jessie is a luxury travel expert with years of experience travelling the world to find the best destinations, hotels and adventures.

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