8 fun and unusual things to do in London
The British capital has so much more to offer than Buckingham Palace and Tower Bridge. Why not get off the beaten path and try something different?
Whether you’re a London first-timer in search of an authentic experience, a seasoned visitor opting to avoid the tourist trail, or even a local looking to rediscover the city, we’ve got some tried and tested activities for you.
From interactive treasure hunts to rooftop astronomy, a flashback to the ’90s to a Scottish jig, here are eight quirky, unusual and fun things to do in London.
Reward tip: Book your flights to London with Norwegian and earn CashPoints. You can use them to save money on your your future flights to any of Norwegian’s destinations.
1. Dine in the dark at Dans le Noir ?
For a truly unusual experience in London, book a table at Dans Le Noir ?
After locking your valuables away, you choose from one of four mystery menus: meat, seafood, vegetarian or chef’s surprise.
Your blind or partially sighted waiter then guides you to your table in the pitch-black restaurant, where you’ll usually be sat with other diners to enjoy your meal, the idea being that you can chat without prejudice, and communication becomes more fluid, easy and authentic.
Deprived of sight, you’re forced to use your other senses to work out what you’re eating. You’ll soon realise how much you rely on your eyes! Using cutlery in the dark and finding your wine is no easy task.
After dinner, you can find out what you ate at the Silent Bar where you can finally see who you’ve been talking to during your meal, learn to order your drinks in sign language, and listen to the music via your headphones.
If you’re up for a fascinating sensory experience and some awesome grub, Dans le Noir ? is for you. But it’s popular, so book well in advance!
2. Take a tour of the stars at The Culpeper
If you’re heading to London with your other half, then book a place at one of The Culpeper’s Rooftop Astronomy evenings. This stargazing-come-dining experience is the ultimate romantic date-night activity.
Set in a gorgeous gastropub, located close to London’s famous Spitalfields Market, the experience kicks off with a delicious meal.
When the sky is dark enough, the action moves to the rooftop, where an astronomy expert and two industrial-sized telescopes take you on a magical tour of the night sky.
The stuff you learn as you’re stargazing is fascinating. Did you know, for example, it would take 1.3 million Earths to fit in the sun?
From the awesome views of the planets and stars to the complimentary cocktails (you get two!), the whole experience is mind-blowing, and certainly something unusual and fun to do in London.
3. Have a ball at Ballie Ballerson
Who says ball pits are just for kids? Release your inner child at Ballie Ballerson, an adult ball pit and cocktail bar in trendy Shoreditch or stylish Soho.
Start the night with a retro sweetie cocktail (or two). The ‘Dibbie Dabberson’ – strawberry gin and cranberry juice, with a sherbert Dib Dab garnish – is nostalgia in a glass.
When it’s time for the main event, let loose and launch yourself into the pit filled with over a million glowing balls. DJs will keep you entertained while you roll around.
If you’re peckish after all that ball play, try one of their tasty Neapolitan pizzas.
Your time in the pit is limited to two hours, though, so book your slot in advance.
Tip: Shoreditch and nearby Brick Lane are full of urban art and graffiti by acclaimed street artists. Experience a different side to London on an Alternative London two-hour Street Art Walking Tour.
4. Hunt for treasure with HiddenCity
Discover some of London’s lesser-known sights with a real-world adventure game by HiddenCity. This is one of the best ways to get off the beaten path in London and explore this urban jungle.
The premise is simple: A series of cryptic clues, puzzles and challenges are sent to your phone. You need to decode each puzzle to receive the next clue which leads you to the next destination.
To complete the tasks, you need to interact with certain people and find specific items, such as a phrase in a book from a particular bookshop.
Get the clues right and you’ll uncover hidden galleries, pubs, museums and secret gardens along the way.
This is a fun and immersive team game. If you’re with a big group of friends or on a hen party in London, why not split into smaller teams and go head to head?
5. Go back to the ’90s at the Crystal Maze LIVE Experience
Anyone remember the Crystal Maze? For the uninitiated, it was a popular ’90s TV game show, where teams in retro bomber jackets ran around madly trying to complete physical and mental challenges to win crystals.
Sound fun? Try it at The Crystal Maze LIVE Experience. Guided by an eccentric ‘maze master’, you journey through four adventure zones: Aztec, Industrial, Futuristic and Medieval. In each zone, you nominate a team member to go against the clock and complete a task. Every crystal you win earns you time in the final challenge: The Crystal Dome!
We won’t reveal any more, but what we will say is this is a crazy, unique and totally fun way to spend an afternoon in London’s Soho.
Tip: If you’re looking for a fun hen or stag party activity in London, you can’t do better than this!
6. Have a fling at a Ceilidh night
Ever tried Ceilidh (pronounced ‘kay-lee’) dancing? Then a visit to the Ceilidh Club is a must on your trip to London – it’s a hoot.
This popular, bi-weekly event takes place at Cecil Sharp House, an award-winning folk arts centre in Primrose Hill.
The evening consists of a folk band, a ‘caller’, and about 200 sweaty guests. As the band plays, the caller calls out dance moves. All you have to do is follow them. Simple eh? Nope.
Performed in groups of four, eight or more, the steps are simple, but the choreography is complex, leading to lots of left feet and stumbling. But it’s all part of the fun, so don’t take it too seriously!
Prepare to Strip the Willow, Military two-step and Oxo Reel your way around the dancefloor.
Tip: If you’re a solo traveller in London, this is a great way to try something fun and unusual while making new friends!
7. Dine with King Henry VIII at a medieval banquet
This fabulous interactive dinner-theatre experience near the historic Tower Bridge will transport you back to Medieval London.
As a guest at King Henry VIII’s royal banquet, you’ll tuck into a hearty, four-course medieval feast (with plenty of mead!), and be entertained by jugglers, acrobats and other performers. There’s even a choreographed sword fight after the main course.
Join in with the singing and dancing, and, if you really want to get into character, hire a costume at the venue. Dressing up is optional, but when in Medieval England…
Entertaining from start to finish, this is a great night out for the whole family, and something a bit different to do in London.
Tip: Book this 4-Hour Medieval Banquet at Ivory House experience with GetYourGuide through Norwegian Reward and earn CashPoints.
8. Have a ‘cat-puccino’ at Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium
Lady Dinah’s is London’s longest running ‘cat café’.
Based in Shoreditch, you can go there to enjoy a drink, a piece of cake or a formal afternoon tea, in the company of a clowder of adorable rescue cats.
If you’re looking for something unusual to do on your trip to London, but that won’t break the bank, £15 gets you a whole 90 minutes with the furtive felines.
Animal lovers, this is the purr-fect way to spend a rainy morning in the capital, but be sure to book in advance to avoid disappointment.
Tip: There are plenty of other unique places to ‘take tea’ in the capital. Here are 10 of the best places for afternoon tea in London.
There’s so much to discover in London – both on and off the beaten track, but remember, Norwegian Reward members earn CashPoints on everything from flights and car hire to tours and entry tickets with our partners.
Wondering where to stay in the capital? Find some inspiration in our ‘10 boutique hotels in London’ post. If you book one of the hotels through Norwegian Reward, you’ll earn even more CashPoints!