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Quirky London: Unusual Things to Do and Places to Stay in the City

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17/04/2019 Quirky London: Unusual Things to Do and Places to Stay in the City


The English are well-known for their humour and eccentricity, which is why a visit to London is guaranteed to offer far more variety than the traditional city break!

There are plenty of popular attractions to enjoy. A refined Buckingham Palace tour, peeking at the crown jewels, and taking high tea at Claridge's are all trademark London.

But did you know you could also sail along Regents Canal in a self-drive hot tub, re-live the authentic spirit of the Blitz in an underground bar, and whizz down the world's longest tunnel slide?

If you're looking for something out-of-the-ordinary to do in London, then you've definitely come to the right place. We've got eight of the city's quirkiest attractions - not to mention the quirkiest places to stay - for you to marvel at, right here!

1. HotTug UK

Blog-London-Hottug-family.jpg Above and main image © www.HotTugUK.com

Take a relaxing dip in a hot tub to an entirely new level...by sailing it through London's waterways.

A hugely successful crowd-funding project launched in 2017, you and your friends can hire an electric, self-drive, wood-fired hot tub for 90 minutes' blissful sailing time in fresh, 30?C-heated water.

Simply choose your location, then change into your swimwear and prepare to be the centre of attention, as you sip bubbles from the comfort of your travelling tub.

(And for your chance to win a VIP HotTug experience for yourself and up to six friends, see our Facebook competition!)

2. Highgate Cemetery

Blog-London-Highgate-Egyptian-Avenue.jpg Image © Highgate Cemetery: Entrance to the Egyptian Avenue

Karl Marx is probably Highgate Cemetery's most famous resident, but there are plenty more luminaries to visit here...from Douglas Adams and George Eliot, to Malcolm McLaren and Jeremy Beadle!

A peaceful, Grade I-listed park that opened in 1839, Highgate is no ordinary cemetery. Filled with whispering trees and wildlife, it's also home to some stunning architecture. Visit the West Cemetery to feast your eyes on Egyptian Avenue, the Circle of Lebanon, and Terrace Catacombs.

 

3. ArcelorMittal Orbit Slide

Blog-London-ArcelorMittal-Orbit-Slide.jpg Image © Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, photographer Frank Da Silva

A work of exceptional design, the looping ArcelorMittal Orbit is a striking visual legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games, and is the UK's tallest sculpture. 

Though thrill-seekers will be more interested in the fact that it's home to world's longest tunnel slide!

At 178 metres long, there are 12 exhilarating twists and turns to enjoy as you descend (trust us: the ‘bettfeder' corkscrew finish is a thrilling experience never to be forgotten!).

 

4. Cahoots Bar

Blog-London-Cahoots.jpg Image © Cahoots

Bringing the spirit of the Blitz to vibrant life, the Cahoots experience begins as you enter the disused underground tube station...where you'll be taken stylishly back to the post-war 1940s.

Sip decadent cocktails, watch a spot of swing-dancing, and sing along with the piano, surrounded by authentic 1940s tube carriage seats, mismatched furniture, and a gorgeous tiled platform bar.

For weekend indulgence, why not enjoy a relaxed, uniquely British Squiffy Picnic, held every Saturday with live entertainment?

 

5. Afternoon Tea London Bus Tour

Blog-London-Bus-afternoon-tea.jpg Image © Brigit's Bakery Afternoon Tea Bus Tour

If you're going to take in all the landmark sights of London, what better way to do it than from the window of a vintage Routemaster bus, nibbling a cucumber and mint sandwich as you go?

Your driver will escort you round some of London's most famous cultural hotspots, including Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and The Royal Albert Hall to name but a few. Meanwhile, B Bakery will supply you with plenty of sandwiches, cakes and classic French pastries.

With a choice of departure points, and gluten-free and vegan tea options also available, there's simply no excuse not to indulge!

 

6. Handel and Hendrix in London

Blog-London-Hendrix-Flat-Andy-Paradise.jpgImage © Andy Paradise

Legendary musician Jimi Hendrix's first "real home of my own" is otherwise known as the upper flat of 23 Brook Street, Mayfair. The only officially recognised Hendrix residence in the world, Jimi famously used the flat as a base from which to give interviews, write new songs, and prepare for his concerts at the Royal Albert Hall.

Take a good look around, then pop next door to number 25, the former home of the 18th century classical musician Handel, and the setting for many of his compositions. Musical or not, you can't fail to be creatively inspired!

 

7. Hampstead Heath Bathing Ponds

Blog-London-Mens-Pond-Adrian-Brooker.jpg Image: Mens bathing pond © Adrian Brooker, The City of London Corporation

Surrounded by gorgeous greenery and open all year round, the ponds at Hampstead Heath are a local institution...though you'll only spot a few brave souls in them during the winter months!

Immersed in nature, it'll be hard to believe you're in London at all, as you glide past tree branches dipped in rippling water. There are three pools; a men's, a ladies' and a mixed - whichever one you choose, you're sure to become addicted to the cold-water rush that wild bathing brings.

 

8. Dans Le Noir Restaurant

Blog-London-Dans-le-Noir.jpg Image © Dans le Noir?

Are you brave enough to dine in complete darkness, with friends you haven't met yet?

Located in Clerkenwell, Dans Le Noir? is a unique restaurant that promises to take you on a sensory journey. After a warm welcome, you'll sit at convivial sharing tables with people you've never met before, as you're served delicious food by visually impaired waiting staff. 

Safety and security are fully taken care of, and with your meal selected from a surprise menu (a surprise vegetarian and vegan menu is available), you could even discover a brand-new favourite dish.

This is an experience that promises to challenge your preconceptions, ignite your senses...and leave your vanity at the door.

So, there you have it! Which Quirky London experience will be first on your list?

While you're deciding, why not take your out-of-the-ordinary London break to the next level, by staying in one of these wonderfully unusual city boltholes?

Boutique Barges

Boutique Barges

Boutique Barges - leave your cares far away on dry land in a relaxing and stylish river retreat, perfectly moored in the vibrant heart of Central London. Newsflash: the traditional canal boat holiday just got itself a chic and quirky makeover with Boutique Barges.  Feed the ducks from your window over a freshly prepared breakfast, as you enjoy the naturally scenic views and…

The Harpy Houseboat

The Harpy Houseboat

Welcome aboard London's oldest houseboat, The Harpy, with unrivalled majestic views of Tower Bridge. For a floating break with a difference; in the heart of London but with a sense of getting away from it all - a stay aboard the amazing four-bedroom Harpy Houseboat.  The Harpy spent much of the last century as 'HMS Harpy'; an Edwardian Customs & Excise pontoon office,…

North Hill Farm

North Hill Farm

An eclectic choice of glamping accommodation is on offer at North Hill Farm, Chorleywood, conveniently close to London whilst refreshingly distant from hectic everyday life. On a glamping break at North Hill Farm you can really relax...safe in the knowledge that you're conveniently close to city-style civilisation, whilst indulging in all the fresh delights that nature has to offer!…

The Up Atlantic Room

The Up Atlantic Room

A rare opportunity to stay in a guest room in an architect's residence, The Up Atlantic Room is the result of an extraordinary renovation within a Victorian house in South London. Owner architect Colin Macinnes' story is a fascinating one; his home became an architectural project allowing him gain a deeper understanding of building practices. Following major transformation of the…

Owl's Lookout

Owl's Lookout

Owl's Lookout is a quirky family treehouse with amazing woodland views, appealingly close to the magic of London. Appropriately located just a short drive away from London's Harry Potter Studios, the swooping Owl's Lookout is the latest innovation to be discovered at North Hill Farm. Already home to childhood-fantasy treehouse accommodation, quirky rustic retreats and even a buzz-worthy…

The Boathouse London

The Boathouse London

A design-led boutique hotel barge, indulgently moored on the scenic waters of the capital's first floating park. Launched - literally - in partnership with the famed interior design brand MADE.COM, you can expect some serious attention to style from Boathouse London. Moored on West London's Floating Pocket Park, Boathouse London is a 60ft wide beam barge, transformed into a one-bedroom…

Bert and the Whale

Bert and the Whale

Set sail on a luxury boating break in London, hosted by knowledgeable enthusiasts and tailored to your every need. Have you ever fancied a different kind of holiday? One in which the beautiful ‘secret village' of London glides serenely past, as you enjoy a drink from the comfort of your private, lounge-worthy deck. Bert and the Whale was especially created from a genuine love of…

Urban London Yurt

Urban London Yurt

City and country beautifully combine, in a friendly and tranquil glamping experience set in the heart of London.   If you're struggling to choose between a city or a country location for your next escape, why not combine the two?   You'll find Urban London Yurt in Highgate, a refreshing London neighbourhood complete with gorgeous ancient woodland and plenty of cultural interest…

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