London overflows with unusual things to do for couples. From heavyweight history to cutting edge quirk, here’s your collection of unique, alternative, kooky, quirky and curious things to do in London.
From someone who was born there. And was part of a couple there. More than once…
Unusual Things To Do in London for Couples, England
I love London. There, said it. Born there, lived there, worked there. Even though my job now takes me across the world, I can always find something new to do in London beyond the standard attractions.
So here is an ever-evolving list of quirky things to do in London that I add to every year. It contains places I love and places that are worth seeing once and then, let’s face it, never again.
Did you know that in addition to its unusual attractions, London also boasts a number of unusual nicknames?
So, enjoy this collection of unusual things to do in London for couples – and also check out our 72 hour London itinerary.
Note: if you book through these affiliate links, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks!
Romantic things to do in London at a glance
- Take a romantic stroll in Little Venice
- Visit the Love Locks Bridge in Kingston
- Attend a show at the Globe Theatre
- Have a candlelit dinner in the Clink Prison Museum
- Take a hot air balloon ride over London
- Go on a street art tour in Shoreditch
- Take a romantic walk through the Kyoto Garden in Holland Park
- Visit the Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities
- Have a date night at the Backyard Cinema
- Take a sunset cruise on the River Thames
- Spend the afternoon in Belgravia
Take a Canal Boat in Maida Vale and Slow Down
In this leafy quarter of northwest London, you can hop on a canal boat and glide through the smaller waterways of the capital. Start at Little Venice and slosh past the London Zoo and the edges of Regent’s Park to reach Camden Lock. At times like this, it’s hard to remember that the Underground exists…
Discover Roman history in the heart of London
You’ve heard of the Tower of London and even the shiny grey Gherkin but what about the buildings in between? Travel through 2000 years of history to find Victorian markets, medieval relics and even crumbling walls from when the Romans were in town. Amble around yourself or, for maximum impact, travel with an academic guide from Context Travel to make sure you don’t miss a thing.
Visit one of the oldest jazz clubs in the world
In the narrow streets of Soho, Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club has hosted many a jazz superstar over the years. Today, it remains as committed to its jazz roots as ever – but if you can’t manage to get into the main area, try climbing the stairs to Ronnie’s Bar. Decked out in animal prints and attracting plenty of up-and-coming talent, it’s still an edgy, fun place to be for a night out in London.
Ride the Cloud Cable Car
The IFS Cloud cable car in London scoops visitors up above the city as a cool mode of transport in the east end of London.
- The cable car, also known as the Emirates Air Line, spans 1 kilometre across the River Thames.
- It connects two popular destinations, the Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks.
- The ride takes approximately 10 minutes each way and provides panoramic views of London’s skyline.
- The cable car cabins are spacious and comfortable, with capacity for up to 10 passengers.
- The IFS Cloud cable car is also a great way to avoid traffic and get to your destination quickly, especially during rush hour.
- If you’re looking for a unique experience, consider taking the cable car at night when the city lights up and glitter beneath you.
- The cable car is open year-round, with hours depending on the season.
- Tickets can be purchased online or at the cable car terminals, and discounts are available for children, students, and seniors.
Catch up with the famous at Highgate Cemetery
It always feels slightly ghoulish to list a cemetery on an article like this. But Highgate Cemetery is a thought-provoking place, with stunning Victorian architecture and a curious insight into the changing attitudes towards life and death.
The cemetery is divided into two parts: the East Cemetery and the West Cemetery. The East Cemetery is the final resting place of many famous people, including Karl Marx and George Eliot. The West Cemetery is only accessible through guided tours and is home to impressive monuments and mausoleums.
Whether you are interested in history, architecture, or simply looking for a peaceful and serene place to explore, Highgate Cemetery is definitely worth a visit.
God’s Own Junkyard
God’s Own Junkyard is a neon wonderland located in Walthamstow that is filled with vintage signs, retro movie props, and neon lights. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience that is perfect for those looking for something unique.
The Kyoto Garden
This is a peaceful oasis located in Holland Park that is inspired by traditional Japanese gardens. It’s a perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy some serene beauty. It’s one of my favourite hidden gems in London.
Pin now, live it up in London later
Alternative London Museums
Explore the Nursing Profession in The Florence Nightingale Museum
This small yet info-packed Florence Nightingale Museum lives within a Victorian promenade of Big Ben yet no-one’s ever heard of it. Travel back in time and retrace the steps of the woman credited with founding the modern nursing profession.
The Museum of Curiosities
If two-headed kittens and artwork from the occult intrigue you, then sign up to the The Last Tuesday Society at the Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities and sip absinthe and go wild.
To be honest, it’s the kind of thing that terrifies me and so I keep making excuses not to go.
But I keep hearing about it, so, since this is a collection of unusual things to do in London I thought I’d add it to my list!
Let me know how it goes – if you make it out alive ;-)
The London Transport Museum
The London Transport Museum is a treasure trove of information and exhibits that showcase the evolution of transport in London. Does that sound boring? It’s not!
This is one of my favourite museums in London and it’s right in Covent Garden, so close to Theatreland.
- The museum has a collection of over 450,000 items, including old buses, trams, trains, photographs, posters, maps, and more.
- Visitors can explore the history of London’s public transport system, from the early horse-drawn buses to the modern underground trains.
- The museum also features interactive exhibits that use modern technology to bring the past to life. For example, visitors can experience what it was like to ride on a bus in the 1950s, complete with the sights and sounds of the era.
- One of the highlights of the museum is the opportunity to climb inside an old bus and imagine what it was like to travel on London’s streets in a bygone era.
Dennis Severs’ House
Dennis Severs’ House is a striking place in the Spitalfields area of London. The house is a time capsule of sorts to represent the likely home of Huguenot silk-weavers.
It transports visitors back in time to the 18th century as they explore the ten rooms of the house, each one decorated to represent a different period in the life of the fictional Jervis family.
The rooms are filled with antique furniture, intricate textiles, and everyday objects that provide a glimpse into the past.
The experience is made even more immersive by the sounds and scents that fill the air. It’s a must-visit destination for anyone interested in history or looking for a unique and memorable experience in London.
Leighton House Museum
This cool museum tucked away in Holland Park showcases the works of the Victorian artist Frederic Leighton. The house itself is a work of art, with intricate tiles, stained glass windows, and beautiful architecture.
Unique things to do in London for free
London is a city that is full of hidden gems and unique experiences. And while it is one of the most expensive cities on earth, one of the things I love about it is just how many things in London are free.
Here are some of the best unusual things to do in London for free:
- Visit the British Museum: This iconic museum is home to over 8 million artifacts from around the world, including the Rosetta Stone and original manuscripts from Shakespeare.
- Walk through the Camden Market: This bustling market is a great place for people watching and discovering unique finds. You can also check out the street art in the area.
- Explore the street art in Shoreditch: Speaking of street art, Shoreditch is the place to go if you want to see some of the most creative and colourful murals in London.
- Attend a free concert at the Royal College of Music: The Royal College of Music hosts free lunchtime concerts throughout the year, featuring talented students and faculty.
- Take a walk through Hampstead Heath: This large park offers stunning views of the London skyline and is home to plenty of wildlife and nature trails.
- Visit the Sky Garden: While entry to the Sky Garden is free, you will need to book in advance. Once there, you can enjoy panoramic views of the city from the top of a skyscraper.
These are just a few of the many unusual things you can do in London for free. So, put on your walking shoes and start exploring!
Quirky Things to do in London’s Royal Parks
London owns no fewer than eight Royal parks, although happily mere mortals can stride across them all.
In fact, that’s partly the point. The “royal” part in these instances came from royal protection. First to protect hunting grounds for the gentry, then to protect access to green spaces for the everyday man and woman.
So what is a section on parks doing on an article about unusual things to do in London?
Because just take a look at the things that you can do in them…
Frolic with Deer in Richmond Park
Of all the Royal Parks, Richmond Park is the biggest and arguably the best. Here you’ll find hordes of deer running wild, catch pro cyclists in training and even stumble on the home of the Royal Ballet School.
It’s further from the centre than most: even the London Underground doesn’t make it that far.
Yet amidst these rolling hills and hefty oaks, there’s one spot where you can see all the way back to St Paul’s. Legend has it that this was where King Henry VIII brought Anne Boleyn on honeymoon – and also where he waited for the signal that told him of her death. Shiver…
Practice Mindfulness at a Cemetery
Where better to explore the meaning of life than within a graveyard, surrounded by the reminder that it all comes to an end one day.
Brompton Cemetery chapel runs mindfulness classes when the weather’s good. Email [email protected] to book a spot.
Hear Sweet Music in the Park
The bandstands of Greenwich Park and Regent’s park host musicians from around the world in the summer – and the end of summer is celebrated with Proms in the Park in Hyde Park.
Gather up your finest picnic blanket, picnic and folding chair and hope it doesn’t rain. Maybe pack an umbrella as well, just in case.
Some concerts are free but others require a ticket in advance.
Have Your Say at Speakers’ Corner, Hyde Park
Hyde Park sits right in the centre of all the action, flanking Monopoly jackpot Park Lane and iconic Marble Arch as well as Kensington Palace.
Yet my favourite spot is Speakers’ Corner, a place where people from all around the world gather to, well, speak about whatever it is that’s bothering them.
Race, religion, war and satire, nothing’s off limits at this bastion of free speech.
Sunday afternoons draw the liveliest crowds, showcasing the best and the worst of London’s stand-up speakers.
Go Inside A Greenhouse the Size of a Football Pitch
If I tell you that Hyde Park hides a greenhouse the size of a football pitch within its grounds, that should go some way towards convincing you of its size.
Usually closed to the public, this “super-nursery” opens a few times a year to give guided tours and sell some of its wares.
The place handles the growth of 450 000 bedding plants and even supplies the floral displays to Buckingham Palace. Profits return to the Royal Parks Charity – check their website for this once a year event.
Watch Opera Beneath the Stars
Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre brings big hitters like Evita to the grass of London, as well as new, innovative adaptations like Mockingbird and Jane Eyre.
It’s another chance to pit your fortunes against the Great British Summer. Wrap up warm and bring an umbrella!
Visit the Bat Cave
Join the London Bat Group on walking tours to see both the smallest and largest bats in the UK over the glistening water of the Serpentine in Hyde Park and other locations. Dedicated to conserving these spooky little creatures, the Bat Cave offers useful advice on echolocation and bat detectors.
Unique Things to Find in London’s Art Galleries
When it comes to London art galleries, the big ones are the Tate and the National Portrait Gallery, along with the Tate Modern.
But there’s no need to stop there when it comes to unusual things to do in London in the artsy visual world.
Find Street Art in One Place: Graffik Gallery
Yes, street art belongs on the streets. But sometimes, our legs get tired and we’re short on time, right?! Enter Graffik Gallery on Portobello Road, displaying the best in one place, from Banksy to up and coming newbies.
Enjoy Political Art & Satire
The lounge and bar at the Conrad St James Hotel live just a hop, skip and a jump from where politicians gather at Westminster. The Blue Boar offers up traditional British “grub” along with pig coasters saying “this is a safe seat” and a wealth of satirical political sculptures, paintings and memorabilia.
By the Book – Unique Literary London
Literary treats abound in London, from Harry Potter to Sherlock Holmes. If only they were real and some of our historical figures not, eh? Here are some unique things to do in London when it comes to literature.
Visit 221B Baker Street – Kind of
Sherlock Holmes and 221B Baker Street may be pure fiction. But Baker Street itself is not. It’s a thronging hub on the northwest corner of the circle line. And, of course, it’s home to the Sherlock Holmes Museum.
There’s also a Sherlock Holmes Pub, with a recreation of the shared Holmes and Watson rooms.
Have Marmalade Sandwiches in Paddington
Paddington Station, which serves the southwest and Wales, as well as pumping commuters into Central London each day, inspired author Michael Bond when naming his marmalade sandwich loving bear.
A statue celebrates the fact. And so do plenty of kiosks and small shops, selling Paddington Bears in duffel overcoats and hats.
You also have the Natural History Museum and Portobello Road to delight true fans of the books and follow on movies. The bonus with these landmarks? They are interesting places to visit within their own right.
Relive Harry Potter and Platform 9 3/4
It’s real (ish.) King’s Cross Station is certainly real, whisking Londoners out to Cambridge and the Fens in one direction, and Paris in the other.
Find Platform 9 3/4 for a photo op right next to the Harry Potter Shop and relive the magic of the books and those Harry Potter films.
Read Original Texts from Shakespeare and Austen
The British Library showcases handwritten texts from Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Da Vinci and Michelangelo, as well as paperwork relating to Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot to blow up parliament.
It’s free to visit and every time you go, you’ll find something different.
Unusual Things to Do in London’s Neighbourhoods
In reality, London is a patchwork of neighbourhoods, all joined together to form the curious capital of the United Kingdom. Not everywhere is worth a visit, that’s for sure. But here are some neighbourhoods with enough to fill a day and satisfy the need for some unusual things to do.
Bermondsey: From Oliver Twist to Design Chic
Bermondsey first appeared in the Domesday Book, nearly 1000 years ago. A few centuries later, it featured in Oliver Twist, and then, in Da Vinci Code style, it became embroiled with the Knights Templar.
By the 19th century, Bermondsey’s brick-lined wharves processed leather and hides but the bombing of the Blitz and the change in riverside operations led the area into decline.
But that was then.
Craft breweries, hand-crafted design stores and sepia antique shops line the narrow streets that lead between the Fashion & Textiles Museum and the Design Museum on the brink of the Thames.
Shoreditch: East End London’s Creative Hub
Shoreditch is the poster boy or girl for up and coming neighbourhoods: a rough part of town come good. Not only has it not lost its character, it’s invented one as the creative hub of London’s East End.
It’s an intriguing place to stay: there’s a near overwhelming selection of curious boutique hotels to choose from in Shoreditch. It’s also known for its challenging street art, vintage clothes shops, Brick Lane street food and weekend Columbia Flower Market.
The postcard pretty area of Belgravia is one of London’s most well heeled neighbourhoods. Some of the best things to do in Belgravia involve eating, drinking and shopping in perfectly arranged boutiques. But there’s an edgy vibe, too, if you know where to look.
Fun fact: visit the Goring Hotel to witness the most expensive wallpaper in the world.
Kingston upon Thames
Right at the outer edge of London, you’ll find Kingston upon Thames, a town in its own right right by the river. The most famous attraction near here is the spectacularly complicated Hampton Court Palace and Maze from the time of King Henry VIII.
Kingston itself has some unusual spots with vintage record shops and the ancient market.
Alternative London Skyline Views
London doesn’t have one skyline. Like her personalities, she has many. You can look up and see Big Ben and the spires of Westminster in one spot, the Millennium Dome in another. And then fields elsewhere again.
Everyone may know about the London Eye and the viewing gallery at the Shard. But here is a collection of great panoramic views and viewpoints in London, with an unusual twist.
See the Stars on Hampstead Heath
Gaze up at the stars from the highest natural point in London: the earth on Hampstead Heath. For a close-up, head to the Hampstead Observatory on Lower Terrace. Entrance is free and educational – check opening times in advance.
Take in the view on Primrose Hill
This has to be one of my favourite spots in London. Access is free and it’s full of fresh air, in itself an unusual find in London. Head to Chalk Farm tube and walk from there to see London spill her secrets before you.
Enjoy the Sky Garden on the Walkie Talkie
The Skygarden is a spectacular attraction that is still relatively new for London (if you last visited in the early naughties, for example.)
This unique destination is located at the top of the Walkie Talkie building in the heart of the City, up on the 35th-floor observation deck.
From here, you can see iconic landmarks such as Tower Bridge, the Shard, and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Inside the Skygarden, you can explore the indoor gardens, grab a drink at the bar, or dine at one of the top-notch restaurants.
It’s one of those lovely unique things to do in London for couples as you can enjoy a romantic dinner as the sun sets.
Plus, entrance is free as long as you book in advance.
Unusual Places for Afternoon Tea in London
Yes, so Afternoon Tea is an institution for visitors to London. But what about unusual afternoon tea? Make way The Ritz and The Savoy. Here is afternoon tea with a twist…
Scientific Afternoon Tea
Leave unimaginative cucumber sandwiches behind and try out a “scientific” Afternoon Tea in the gorgeous, fall head-over-heels-in-love-with Ampersand Hotel near the Natural History and Science Museums in Kensington.
Afternoon Tea at The Cranley
While the Ritz and the Savoy grab the headlines when it comes to afternoon tea, they also grab the crowds. For a more private version of this English tradition, head to the elegant Cranley Hotel in Kensington. You’ll still find cucumber sandwiches, clotted cream, and lashings of jam and scones but you’ll also find peace. And quiet, save for the chinking of china and the chiming of the clock.
Royal Afternoon Tea
The Goring Hotel was one of the favourite spots for Queen Elizabeth as well as the place where Kate Middleton stayed before her marriage to Prince William.
They regularly run Afternoon Tea sessions but introduce fun and quirky additions when royal high days and holidays roll around.
Alternative London Markets
London’s most famous markets include those at Covent Garden, Portobello Road and Notting Hill. But there are more. Here are some of my favourites.
Greenwich Market: Space, Time and Veg
Not only can you find the centre of both time and space at the Greenwich Royal Observatory, you can find handicrafts and food from around the world at the busy market at the foot of the hill.
Borough Market, Southwark
Closer to central London, Borough Market lives right by London Bridge in Southwark, with trading activity that dates back to at least the 12th century.
That’s a lot of fruit ‘n’ veg.
The current buildings, all glass and Victorian green arches, hail from the 1850s and today’s market sells specialty foods to the general public.
Gilded Glamour at Leadenhall Market
The gorgeous Leadenhall Market snuggles into the financial district of the City of London, perhaps explaining why its architecture drips with gold. A mere baby in the city of London, trading activities only date back to the 14th century, its arcades add a touch of Milanese glamour to a grey and overcast day.
Travel Tips for London
- Pace yourself. It’s a big old place. To get some perspective, check out this 3 day itinerary for London.
- Combine public transport to really get a feel for the city. Taxis are the easiest but can be slow. The Tube is fast and, well, an institution. Buses give you a street view of all the most unusual sides of London.
- It’s important to work out where to stay in London to cut down on journey time as, once again, it’s a big old place.
- If it’s your first time in London then it’s a good idea to stay somewhere central. Next time, explore one of the neighbourhoods further out.
- Also for first timers, it’s Tower Bridge not London Bridge that’s the famous one ;-)
When is the best time to visit London
I know loads of places say this. But seriously, London is great to visit all year round.
But here are some factors to consider when deciding the best time to visit:
- Weather: London experiences a temperate maritime climate with mild winters and cool summers. The warmest months are June to September, but this is also peak tourist season, so expect crowds and higher prices. Spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) tend to offer pleasant weather with fewer tourists. But you should always be prepared for every season in pretty much any trip to the UK.
- Events: London hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including music festivals, sporting events, and cultural celebrations. Some of the most popular events include the Notting Hill Carnival in August, the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in July, and the New Year’s Eve fireworks display.
- Budget: Prices for flights and accommodation vary throughout the year, with peak season being the most expensive. Consider visiting during the shoulder season (spring or autumn) for lower prices and fewer crowds.
Ultimately, the best time to visit London depends on your individual preferences and priorities. Whether you’re interested in sightseeing, shopping, or experiencing the local culture, you really can’t this one wrong.
In conclusion, London is the perfect destination for travellers looking to do something out of the ordinary.
From enjoying a leisurely picnic with llamas to joining a city-wide detective game, you really will never tire of life in London. So if you’re feeling adventurous, ditch the standard tourist attractions and create your own unforgettable memories in London.