5 weird and wonderful attractions you can visit in London
If you’ve visited London before, you’re likely to have seen Big Ben, waved to the Queen at Buckingham Palace, and ridden the London Eye. The immense size of the UK capital does mean that daytrippers and first, second and third timers may miss out on some of the lesser known attractions on offer.
So what other weird and wonderful things can you spend your time in London doing?
Visit a neon Aladdin’s Cave
Neon fans, this one’s for you! God’s Own Junkyard has been a labour of love by the Bracey family for over forty years. Created using new and used neon fantasies, salvaged signs, reclaimed neon and old movie props. This is the place where neon never dies.
Some of the collected signs have appeared in movies featuring the likes of Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp and Jack Nicholson, and you’ll spend ample time in this neon wonderland trying to figure out which films you recognise the signs and props from. In fact, the family still makes and provides neon signs for Hollywood and lights up places such as Las Vegas!
Although DSLR cameras are forbidden, phone cameras are encouraged. Weave your way through one of the largest collections of neon signs in Europe and snap as many pictures as you can, before stopping off for a bite to eat or a drink at their very own Rolling Stones cafe. And if you want to take some of the magic home with you, there’s a gift shop too!
Image © London Transport Museum
Discover London’s hidden Underground stations
King’s Cross St Pancras might be the busiest underground station, but what about the least busy? Well, it’s actually Roding Valley (yeah, where?) but do you know about the underground stations no longer used?
Take a tour with the London Transport Museum to discover an underground station of times gone by.
The Aldwych station is the former terminus of the Piccadilly Line. Opened to the public in 1907, it was never as heavily used as intended and closed almost 100 years later in 1994. Explore the old ticket hall, the original lifts and the abandoned platforms and tunnels.
Although this station has been used as shelters during the Blitz, and for film and TV shoots for the likes of Sherlock and Atonement, there’s an eerie stillness about Aldwych that will leave you feeling either spooked or wanting more. If you’re one of the latter, London Transport Museum offers a whole host of tours so you can explore everything that hidden London has to offer.
Play a game of life sized Monopoly
One of the newest attractions to land in London, ‘Monopoly Lifesized’ is an immersive, on-your-feet and interactive version of the very popular board game. Only difference being that there’s no board to flip off the table if the game isn’t going someone’s way…
Stage a heist in Mayfair, compete against the clock to build some of London’s iconic buildings and solve a murder mystery to win the challenge and buy all of the property. You can choose from one of four boards - Classic, The Vault, City and the Junior Board, so there’s something to suit all members of the clan.
Once you’ve beaten your friends and family, head to the Monopoly-themed bar and restaurant, Top Hat for a celebratory drink.
Explore the world of branding
A hidden gem in Notting Hill, take yourself on a nostalgic journey through 200 years of branding. From age-old Coca-Cola cans to magazines throughout the ages, the Museum of Brands offers an exciting new way of looking at history through the things that generations of families have thrown away.
Permanent exhibition, Time Tunnel is a journey of discovery that puts our favourite brands into their historical context, along with royal coronations, two world wars, man landing on the moon and right up to the digital age. Temporary exhibitions are popular here too, and the current exhibition ‘When Brands Take a Stand’, which runs until 31 December 2021, examines TV commercials, posters and packaging that showcases how brands have interacted with social causes and contemporary issues.
And if you’re wanting to take some of the history home, there are a wide range of books and quirky gifts, posters and even classic toys and games in the gift shop.
Image © ArcelorMittal Orbit
Ride the world’s longest and tallest tunnel slide
Originally created for the London 2012 Olympics, the ArcelorMittal Orbit has become an East London legend. Made of 35,000 bolts and enough steel to make 265 double decker buses, the structure offers unparalleled views over the London skyline.
The slide was an addition to the structure in 2014 and at 178m long, is certainly one for the adrenaline junkies amongst you. During the descent, you’ll snap views of the Olympic Park and London’s skyline, before you’re plunged into darkness as you come into land. Need another adrenaline rush? You can take the UK’s highest freefall abseil and see London from an entirely new angle, if you dare!
If you’re not feeling too daring, let the lift whisk you up 80m to the viewing platforms, and enjoy the views of London from a more concrete position.
There are plenty of weird and wonderful things to do in London. Whether you choose to try something off this list, or find something entirely new and different, don’t forget to share your experiences with us on social media using the hashtag #YesEMR.
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