6 of London’s More ‘Quirky’ Attractions

6 of London’s More ‘Quirky’ Attractions

London is an amazing city to explore – I grew up visiting every school holiday and also I lived here while at uni. Even so, I’ve still not seen everything it has to offer.

The main attractions are great; you’ve gotta love the Houses of Parliament, Tower of London, Buckingham Palace and South Kensington’s great museums to name a few, but I’m still uncovering some truly weird and wonderful spots all over the city.

Perfect for return visitors or for those looking for something just a little different, here’s a taste of the quirkier attractions London has to offer…

1 – Take a quirky tour of London

Did you know you that there is a quirky walking tour in London? Run by Insider London, it gives you some cool insights into London, pointing out quirky things all over the city that you might otherwise miss.

You’ll discover Coco Chanel logos on lampposts, a 200-year-old toilet that’s been turned into London’s smallest nightclub and even get introduced to ‘Farting Lane’.

Piqued your interest? Well you can find out more in Laura’s post about all about her experiences on the walking tour!

A 200 yr old public toilet, which is now the capital's smallest nightclub!

2 – The Old Operating Theatre Museum

This museum houses Europe’s oldest surviving operating theatre. Opened in 1822, it predates anaesthetic – eek!

The Old Operating Theatre Museum is found in the attic of what was Old St Thomas’ Hospital’s church, dating back to the 18th Century. Make your way up the narrow spiral staircase to explore the museum, and even stand where the medical students once watched operations take place below.

The museum holds some ‘interesting’ events – for example at the weekends there are Victorian surgery talks where they demonstrate surgical procedures from the time (this is not recommended for small children!). There’s also a ‘gore tour’ where a historian runs you through the surgical implements used at the time. I’m feeling squeamish even thinking about it!

Old Operating Theatre London

3- Explore an abandoned tube station

I was so excited when I found out that the London Transport Museum regularly holds tours around London’s disused tube stations. Led by experienced guides you’re told unusual and little-known stories surrounding the stations’ histories and it’s an amazing opportunity to explore locations rarely seen by the public.

These Hidden London tours take place throughout the year but tickets are limited so you have to get in quick in order for a chance to grab a spot.

At the time of writing upcoming tours include several station architecture tours, a visit to Euston’s lost tunnels and one its most popular tours – a chance to see inside the closed Aldwych underground station.

Used as a shelter during the Blitz and now regularly used for filming (Sherlock and Darkest Hour, for example) you get to visit ticket hall, the original lifts, abandoned platforms and tunnels, and inter-connecting walkways.

Sounds amazing, doesn’t it?!

Tours of closed London Underground stations

4- Enjoy a quirky London afternoon tea

Classic afternoon teas abound in London and you can go for quintessentially English tea and scones at British XnamesX including The Dorchester, The Ritz and Fortnum and Mason. However, I personally think it’s much more fun to go for an unconventional themed afternoon tea.

The capital has loads of these on offer, with themes such as Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Fashion Week and even one aimed specifically at chocoholics! However, highlights for me include the Ampersand’s Science Afternoon Tea, the B Bakery afternoon tea bus tour and the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party at the Sanderson Hotel.

Science afternoon tea.

5 – Try your hand at urban axe throwing

Urban axe throwing has become my new favourite thing! I visited Whistle Punks for the first time last year and I’m hooked – even though I didn’t hit the target once!

Throwing hatchets is pretty darn cathartic and you get around an hour of trying your hand at this sport, with the guidance of some experts, who advise you on technique and even try to teach you some trick throws.

Put into groups, after some practice throws you get to take part in a mini tournament – and if you’re actually any good you might even get the chance to get a spot on the coveted Wall of Fame and go home with a Whistle Punks Pro t-shirt!

Interested in finding out more? Then check out my post.

Urban Axe Throwing London | Whistle Punks Ladies What Travel

6 – Visit a themed bar

London’s great for funky themed bars, so you’ve got to check one out during your city visit. One of the most interesting has to be The Bletchley, which is modelled on Bletchley Park, a covert government-run operation that enlisted some of the UK’s brightest minds to build a machine capable of doing the unthinkable: unlocking the Nazis’ undecipherable and impregnable battle codes.

At the modern day Bletchey you pay £34.99 to enter a cryptic world of cocktails, where you sit in the war room and input basic data into a cipher machine that will decode ‘personality’ into a small menu of ingredients. This coupled with odour and colour preferences will be all the clues you collect before using radio-style telephones to transmit the ingredients to the back office where a cohort of mixologists will expertly ‘map’ out the ingredients into perfectly proportioned recipes. At the end of the experience, you’re given an envelope that holds your tailor-made, highly classified recipes to take home.

One of the latest bars that people are getting excited about is Ziggy’s, which should be opening this month (September ’18). Found at the Hotel Café Royal, this is a bar dedicated to David Bowie and cocktails are named after lyrics from Ziggy Stardust songs. Tigers on Vaseline is described as a modern twist on the piña colada, while Darkness and Disgrace, which takes its name from Lady Stardust, is an espresso martini crossed with a rum flip. See you there!

the bletchley cocktail bar london

Book your quirky London adventures

So there you have it, six of my favourite quirky London attractions. Have you visited any of these?

If you’re after some more quirky London inspiration, why not check out Encore Tickets? Alongside the classic tourist sights like St Paul’s Cathedral, the London Eye and Hampton Court, you can also pick up tickets to attractions such as a medieval banquet, a speedboat journey on the Thames or themed bus tours focusing on everything from ghosts and Jack the Ripper through to Sherlock Holmes and afternoon tea!

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This post was written in collaboration with Encore Tickets.

 

 

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Keri

By day Co-Editor Keri is a freelance journalist and copywriter, but spends most of her free time either travelling or planning her next trip!  A complete travel fanatic, she has a love of tropical climates, wildlife and afternoon tea (hence the creation of her Global Afternoon Tea Challenge!)

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32 Comments

  1. September 17, 2018 / 9:11 am

    Bletchley Park cocktails is certainly original! I’d love to do one of the tube station tours, I think my older son would enjoy that too. #mondayescapes

    • Keri
      Author
      October 13, 2018 / 8:22 am

      Lou recently went on a tube station visit, I’m extremely jealous!

  2. September 17, 2018 / 11:23 am

    love all of these ideas! might try something next time I’m in London #mondayescapes

    • Keri
      Author
      October 13, 2018 / 8:22 am

      I hope you do, – let us know what you tried and what you thought?

  3. September 18, 2018 / 8:32 am

    Love something a bit different and this post is just that. Not sure about the urban axe throwing with my lot! #MondayEscapes

    • Keri
      Author
      October 13, 2018 / 8:23 am

      Ha ha, don’t worry they’re big on safety there so I’m sure you’d all be fine!

  4. September 18, 2018 / 9:21 am

    I love discovering quirky places in London. I vividly remember visiting the Old Operating Theatre Museum when I was a kid and I loved it (despite being a bit grossed out by it!). I hadn’t heard of the Ziggy’s bar opening soon, so thank you so much for the heads up – it sounds awesome!
    Thanks for linking up to #MondayEscapes!

    • Keri
      Author
      October 13, 2018 / 8:23 am

      In my opinion quirky places are the best! 😀

  5. September 18, 2018 / 9:06 pm

    I like the sound of the Old Operating Theatre Museum – I will have to check it out, thanks for the tip! #MondayEscapes

    • Keri
      Author
      October 13, 2018 / 8:24 am

      My pleasure – do let us know what you think of it after your visit!

  6. September 18, 2018 / 9:56 pm

    Oh wow! These all sound amazing! Definitely adding them all to the “to do” list! #mondayescapes

    • Keri
      Author
      October 13, 2018 / 8:29 am

      Have fun!

  7. September 19, 2018 / 2:00 pm

    Wow, these places look fab, we visit London fairly regulary, and just when you think there can’t be anything more to see, up pop’s more hidden gems. London is definately the city that just keeps on giving! #cititripping

    • Keri
      Author
      September 19, 2018 / 5:04 pm

      I totally agree, there’s always something new to see!

  8. September 20, 2018 / 8:40 am

    Omgosh, these are all so awesome! I’m particularly interested in the themed WWII bar as I’m a big WWII nerd and the idea of decoding personality sounds like fun! Definitely checking some of these out next time! #FarawayFiles

    • Keri
      Author
      October 13, 2018 / 8:25 am

      The team are going there when we have our next big get together. Cannot wait!

  9. September 20, 2018 / 9:52 am

    I love your post. I’ve lived in London for 23 years but still find new things all the time. I have been meaning to do a tour of London’s disused tube stations for some time now. You have given me a timely reminder. #farawayfiles

    • Keri
      Author
      October 13, 2018 / 8:25 am

      Happy to help! I think a lot of the tours take place in the Autumn so hopefully you got yourself a spot. 🙂

  10. Clare Thomson
    September 20, 2018 / 1:54 pm

    What a great idea for a post! I really like the sound of some of these quirky tours. There’s always something new to discover in London, isn’t there? Super share for #FarawayFiles

    • Keri
      Author
      October 13, 2018 / 8:26 am

      Thanks Clare! Yeah London is great for quirky finds isn’t it?!

  11. September 20, 2018 / 4:26 pm

    Wow! Those are definitely different! I’ll have to look up the axe throwing or one of those themed bars (custom cocktails sounds fun!) next time I’m in London! #FarawayFiles

    • Keri
      Author
      October 13, 2018 / 8:26 am

      I had such a great time axe throwing – if you get a chance I definitely recommend it!

  12. September 21, 2018 / 4:14 am

    I really enjoyed this post, so many cool ideas. I’ve been to the Old Operating Theatre, it was excellent
    #farawayfiles

    • Keri
      Author
      October 13, 2018 / 8:26 am

      Thanks so much Nicola!

  13. September 21, 2018 / 8:35 am

    It’s amazing how many things you miss in your hometown when you’re busy discovering the world. This is a great list of things I’ve never heard of! I definitely have to try my hand at axe throwing, sounds very therapeutic. Great post.

    • Keri
      Author
      October 13, 2018 / 8:27 am

      Cheers Paul! Well at least you’ll have some great places to check out when you’re home next!

  14. September 21, 2018 / 10:32 am

    Wow — what a fabulous tour. I’d love to do everything you mention. Definitely saving this one for my next big London outing. #farawayfiles

    • Keri
      Author
      October 13, 2018 / 8:28 am

      Hope you have a great time Jennifer. 🙂

  15. September 24, 2018 / 8:12 pm

    What a fab post. We are possibly heading to London for a few days soon visiting family, and I love new ideas and new places to visit….oh and I love an afternoon tea! #MondayEscapes

    • Keri
      Author
      October 13, 2018 / 8:28 am

      Hope we’ve helped you plan your day – and that cake is most definitely involved!

    • Keri
      Author
      October 13, 2018 / 8:29 am

      Do it, it’s great!

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