London is a vast, sprawling city, packed full of entertainment and tourist attractions, including sights such as Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, as well as the opportunity to become better acquainted with London underground. If you’ve never been to London before, you will find that the city is always buzzing with new and unique things to discover that often fall under the tourist radar.
Many film festivals take place across the city. Why not check out the BFI London Film festival in October – it is set on the Southbank where independent films are often shown at all other times of the year.
Everyone knows about open topped bus tours, but how about taking a slower walking tour of the city? There are tours to suit every interest. Unseen Tours employs homeless or formerly homeless guides to show you around their city. Most of the income raised goes straight into the guides’ pockets, and it’s a way to see the city from a new perspective. If you’d rather learn some obscure facts about the capital, go on The Quirky London Tour and find out things even the local don’t know! Check out Visit London for details of tours that take in famous movie sights, sporting venues or even serial killers.
If you’ve done all the big museums and galleries, don’t despair. There are plenty of quirky London museums to keep you busy. There’s the Sherlock Holmes Museum located at 221b Baker Street, where a grade II listed building has been reconstructed as Holmes’ apartment, or the Anaesthesia Heritage Centre, where you can learn all about the history of anaesthetics and operations dating from 1774! For younger ones, or the young at heart, there is the Cartoon Museum - a fun, interactive museum that preserves cartoons, comics, caricatures and animation.
If you’re looking for some unusual places to eat, London has plenty of strange and wonderful restaurants too. For a really off-the-wall experience, try Dans le Noir – where you eat in complete darkness and the waiters serve you blind! Discover the flavours and smells of your food like never before. Fancy playing table tennis while you eat? Try Bounce where you can eat an a la carte dinner before having a game of ping pong. If you’d like a more unique menu in exotic surroundings, then visit Archipelago where you can try crocodile or kangaroo. Not the type of fare you expect to discover in London.
This mini guide to London’s underground scene is just scratching the surface. From theatre performances to street dance, secret shops to alternative events, you could spend six months touring the city and still leave without seeing all this amazing destination has to offer.
Bio: Karen Bleakley gave up her job to take a grown up gap year with her husband five years ago. She's now a freelance travel writer, parent blogger and social media geek. She's hoping to relocate from the UK to Australia in the not too distant future so her family can enjoy a life in the sun, on the surf and on the slopes.