11 Unusual Things to Do, Eat, and Explore in London

by Dr. Jessie Voigts / Jul 11, 2017 /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

If you’re headed to London, you’re probably overwhelmed with suggestions on places to eat, things to see, adventures to be had. But what if you wanted something a little bit differerent? Well, luckily London is full of surprises – interesting places to explore, hidden gourmet gems, and even a blockbuster or two. You’ve made your travel plans, found a place to stay, and even packed for all varieties of London weather. We've discovered the 10 best value hotels in London - click for rates and availability.

Here are 11 things to do, eat, and explore in London.

11 Unusual Things to Do, Eat, and Explore in London

Photo Wikimedia Commons: João Tiago M. S. Andrade, adapted by Wandering Educators

DO

1.    Take a trip to Hogwarts. I know, it’s one of the blockbusters in London. But, well, you MUST. The Warner Brother’s Studio Tour London has all the original props and set from the Harry Potter Films.  While it may be crowded, if you’re a Harry Potter fan, you’ve probably already got this on your London hits list.

A hallway in the Leaky Cauldron…

A hallway in the Leaky Cauldron…

…that is actually only two feet deep!

…that is actually only two feet deep! Photos: Emily Zumchak

2.    You’ve probably got a visit to the British Museum on your London Hits list, too. But here’s something cool you may not know. The British Museum, in partnership with the BBC, has put together an incredible exhibit, called A History of the World in 100 Objects.  It’s worth visiting, even just to say at teatime, “Oh, yes, we’ve been time traveling today.” Here's a list of more great museums to visit.

3.    Take a walking tour with Context Travel. They offer many in London - history walks, architecture walks, and art walks (including Music for Kings: Handel and the Baroque Court). We love Context Travel walking tours – they’re smart, educational,  and it’s a great way to get to know the city. Here are some other walking tours that we recommend.

4.    Into the unusual? Head to 183 Euston Street (opposite Euston Station), to the Wellcome Collection. It’s a museum that mixes original art and, well, strange medical artifacts. It’s all part of the collection of Henry Wellcome, and it teaches you about how we think about the human body, life, disease, medicine. You can also head to the Wellcome Library, if you want to read about these crazy things. Free!

EAT

I travel for food (everything else is a bonus). Here are some interesting and delicious places to eat in London:

5.    Casanova’s Treats. Located in Holborn, on Lamb’s Conduit Passage, Casanova’s Treats is definitely a hidden treasure! You’ll be enticed into entering by the pretty exterior, as well as the smells of grilled lamb wafting through the lucky neighborhood. One reviewer on Urbanspoon names it the Best Lunch Venue in London.  One of our writers notes, “Turns out it's run by Greeks, who know a thing or two about cooking kebabs. Two skewers worth of the tenderest flesh landed on the table before me as I drank in the peace outside, with some rice, pitta, humus and salad as the supporting act. It was gone in a flash.”

6.    Love wine? Head to central London, to Le Bueaujolais Wine Bar. Whether you’re there for the French wine, or for the extraordinary cheeseboard, you’ll leave feeling much happier. This small, cozy wine bar is definitely a find. There’s also a members only restaurant, but if you’re only in London for the week, you can definitely dine in the bar.

7.    Art AND a café. If you find yourself on Highgate Hill, make time for Lauderdale House. It’s the former home of Nell Gwynne, and backs onto Waterlow Park. It’s an art center, and gallery – but what I want to share with you (whisper, whisper) is the café. You can find a range of dishes (including for vegetarians) – but save room for dessert! If it’s nice out, sit outside and enjoy. Alas, closed on Mondays.

More tips for eating in London

 

Lauderdale House

Photo: Peter Smyly

8.    Shaun of the Dead. What? Well, you might recognize The Winchester Pub Hotel from the movie, Shaun of the Dead. The Winchester is like the granddaddy of all British Pubs – down to earth, beautifully decorated, and serves unpretentious food.

9.    More Pubs… The old school Irish Pub is alive and kicking in Paddington! Head to the Royal Exchange and get your pint on. Proper pub grub, “old days” décor (i.e., not been redecorated), and decent prces. Try the Salted Beef Sandwich. You’ll thank me. But there are countless pubs all across London. Which is your favorite?

11 Unusual Things to Do, Eat, and Explore in London

Explore

I know, I know. Sometimes you just want to Get Out of the City. Here are a few great places to explore, within easy reach of London.

10.    It’s all about the Wine! There are several excellent wineries, all within close range of London. Who knew? You can visit Denbies in Dorking, Surrey; Bolney Wine Estate and Ridgeview in Sussex; and Chapel Down Winery in Tenterden. Our Wine Travel Guide Editor, Wink Lorch, tells more here.

11.    The Wind in the Willows. Just upstream from London is Henley-on-Thames, better known as the set of the Wind in the Willows. Here, you can shop, walk, discover the town (including a famous teddy bear shop!),  play, and, of course, visit the Wind in the Willows Museum.  You’ll be experiencing the essence of British history and literature.

 

entrance to Wind in the Willows Museum

More:

A Guide to Abbeys and Cathedrals in the UK

 

 

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