Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, the London Eye, the Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. The Internet has so much free information about the city’s key sights, that deciding what to do as a first timer isn’t difficult at all. But seriously. Let’s go one better here. What are the best weird London attractions for curious travellers like you and me, who just want something a bit different?! I went on the hunt to find out!
Being an English chick who loves to spread my wings and take solo adventures whenever I can, it’s inevitable that I’ve spent a fair amount of time in the Old Smoke. I lived in West London for a while and wholeheartedly agree with the famous Samuel Johnson quote, “When a man [or woman!] is tired of London, he [she] is tired of life”.
There’s just so much to see and do around London! You could spend months and months here without barely scratching the surface. Yet, when time is so short, we need to get to the point!
What if you want to do something different, like that time I set out to discover the street art scene in Shoreditch? What if you want to see a different side of London, hangout in places that you won’t find in most guidebooks, see the city’s charmingly British eccentricity and hit up some of the most weird London attractions?
You could spend hours searching for tidbits online or alternatively arm yourself with my advice and a copy of the Marco Polo London spiral guide.
Divided into sections for different parts of the city, each chapter has a handy map and suggestions on how to maximize your time, leaving you able to discover the different parts of London with ease. There’s also terrific digestible recommendations for places to eat and drink in here, to stop you feeling overwhelmed from all the wonderful dining options in London!
Start weird London attractions the right way
If you’re off for an adventure amongst the weird London attractions, in true British style, you must start your day the right way. How about a good old English breakfast surrounded by nature in one of London’s Royal parks; St. James’s Park?
I recommend the Big Breakfast, complete with delicious smoked bacon, a succulent herby Cumberland sausage, eggs, legendary baked beans and a juicy Portobello mushroom. For something lighter, order a sausage sandwich or scrambled eggs on toast. If you’re feeling fancy, add smoked salmon to your eggs. Perfect!
Alternatively, head up to the 31st floor of the Shard, to Aqua Shard, for a surprisingly affordable English breakfast complete with awesome views. Once you’re full and ready, here’s 12 weird London attractions to make your day just a little bit different from everyone else’s.
Hackney City Farm
Where else will you find a fully functional farm in the heart of the city? We’re talking pigs, sheep, rabbits, geese and lots of lovely other fluffy, furry friends to keep you happy here. Sometimes adventurers just need a bit of pet therapy, especially when you’re hanging out in the hustle and bustle of London. Make sure to take some fresh eggs laid by the ducks and chickens back to your accommodation!
Ragged School Museum
Even though it’s mainly aimed at kids, when has that ever stopped me? You can be a big kid too at Ragged School Museum and transport yourself back to your younger days, imagining you’re a child in an austere Victorian classroom. It’s highly fascinating and an excellent history lesson in how horrible we were to the youngun’s back then.
Traffic Light Tree
When you’re following your Marco Polo route around Canary Wharf, don’t miss the unusual Traffic Light Tree. One of London’s most interesting sculptures, you’ll find the changing branches of red, amber and green next to Billingsgate Fish Market.
Jack the Ripper Tour
Follow in the footsteps of the notorious British killer with a chilling wander through his former haunts.
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Snap a cool picture for Instagram as you straddle the world outside the Royal Observatory in Greenwich.
Be sure to remember to stop for food during your days of discovery! Take the British love of crisps to a whole new level at Hipchips. Or, head to one of London’s lavatory restaurants—who says it wrong to eat in the loo?
Smallest Police Station
Blink and you’ll miss the smallest police station in London; it’s contained within a lamppost at Trafalgar Square!
Make an appointment and you can see a huge collection of rather eerie stuffed creatures at this taxidermy specialist.
As a former cognitive behavioral therapist, I love anything to do with the way the human brain functions. If you’re intrigued by human thoughts, emotions and ideas too, I would recommend a visit to the previous home of famous psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud: the Freud Museum.
A hauntingly beautiful scar, this ruined church is a reminder of the damages suffered by London during the Blitz.
Puppet Theatre Barge
Puppet shows on a barge moored at Little Venice are one of the most charming and weird London attractions I’ve come across in my travels. Highly recommend it!
The final resting place of many famous and infamous people from the past, the handsome Gothic cemetery is sure to send at least a small shiver down your spine.
The Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garrett
The Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garrett is another of London’s macabre attractions where you can step into the gruesome world of medicine from times gone by.
Shopping in London?
If you’re down for some quirky shopping, enter the rabbit hole (and browse in my namesake!) at Alice Through The Looking Glass, a glorious collection of Alice in Wonderland memorabilia near Charing Cross station. Cyberdog is a top shop for avid clubbers and Tatty Devine is a terrific place for boutique fashions.
Check out the handmade walking sticks and umbrellas at James Smith and Sons and feel like a legal eagle with a poke around the bookshops in the Temple area of the city.
Dinner in London
In the evening, try Rules, as recommended by Marco Polo. One of London’s oldest restaurants, it offers an air of elegant refinement and traditional English dishes in classy surroundings.
From pies and oysters to scallops and steak, the menu has a strong focus on game. You definitely won’t need to worry about finding anything too strange on the menu though!
There are plenty of weird London attractions to discover, and having a Marco Polo guidebook made navigating this city one step easier for me. Go forth and explore your weird day!
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