Going for a weekend in London? You’ll have an amazing time in one of Europe’s most diverse and interesting cities. But there can be a tendency for visitors in the UK’s capital to fall into the classic tourists traps.
Yes, shopping on Oxford Street, visiting the Natural History Museum and taking an open-top bus tour of the city are all a lot of fun, but limiting yourself to the clichés will mean you miss out on some truly unforgettable experiences. Here are six alternative things to do in London on your next holiday in the city.
1. Visit a farm in the city centre
The heart of London might be the last place you’d expect to find a farm, but the Hackney City Farm has been based here for more than 20 years. With animals ranging from pigs and sheep to donkeys and goats, you’ll have fun learning about their lives and how the farm functions. The chickens and ducks lay eggs every day and you can purchase some from the farm shop as well as a range of other produce. This truly is an unusual experience in London but it is well worth doing.
2. Experience the Edible Cinema
The Edible Cinema is a unique way to watch films. They tend to be one-off events so you’ll need to work out exactly when they are running to have your visit coincide – but you won’t regret doing so. At the Edible Cinema, you watch a film while enjoying a pre-set menu of snacks and drinks inspired by specific moments in the film. Previous screenings include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, When Harry Met Sally and Some Like It Hot, each with a unique and carefully created menu.
3. Play an escape game
Perhaps buoyed by nostalgia for The Crystal Maze, escape games have become extremely popular in London. There’s a huge number available ranging from challenges for couples to large group events with a strong sense of teamwork. Escape Rooms, ClueQuest and HintHunt are some of the best in the city, but if you can’t get to them easily you’ll be able to find an alternative close to where you are staying.
4. Cross the river in a cable car
The Emirates Air Line offers a unique way to get across the city. This is a cable car that rises high over the River Thames and offers a beautiful aerial view of London. The stations are based close to The O2 Arena in Greenwich and the ExCel London on the Royal Victoria Docks. This is a great alternative to the London Eye that has the added advantage of being a mode of transport as well.
5. Alternative London Walking Tour
Alternative London is a company that specialises in showing off a different side of the capital. They run a range of tours to open your eyes to alternative aspects of the city with detailed and fascinating introductions to street art, quirky London restaurants and even craft beers and pubs. This is interesting way to examine the heritage and culture of modern London.
6. Visit a West End show on the cheap
There is an idea that going to a West End show means forking out hundreds of pounds on tickets. But it doesn’t have to be the case and you can actually get in to some of the world’s most amazing theatre shows for a fraction of their standard price. Many providers offer last minute tickets for as little as £20 if you are flexible on what you want to see. This is a cheap way enjoy a West End show and one of London’s quintessential experiences.
Mike James, an independent content writer working together with Best London Coach Hire.