Beyond the norm: What are the quirky unusual things to do in London?

From secret speakeasies tucked away in hidden alleyways to underground markets bursting with avant-garde creations, London offers a kaleidoscope of offbeat experiences that will leave you grinning from ear to ear. 

If you want to discover some of these experiences, you’re on the right page. Fasten your seatbelts, abandon the norm, and let’s embark on a whimsical adventure through the quirky underbelly of London!

Attend a retro roller disco party at Roller Nation

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Location: 117 Bruce Grove, London N17 6UR, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7720 9140

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When you step into Roller Nation, you’ll find yourself transported back in time to the disco era of the 70s and 80s. The venue immerses you in a crazy-retro setting, adorned with neon lights, mirror balls, and nostalgic decorations.

Go in a 70s or 80s costume for the most immersive and unforgettable experience, we say. You just might love it!

Participate in a silent disco with Silent Sounds

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Location: Next to the Tower of London, Tower Millennium Pier, Tower Hill, London EC3N 4AB, United Kingdom

Contact: [email protected] 

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Imagine this: you’re in the middle of a bustling London night, surrounded by people dancing and having fun. But there’s no music blaring, no speakers pumping out beats. 

Instead, you’re wearing a pair of wireless headphones that allow you to choose from two different channels of music. 

This is the strange and wonderful world of silent discos, and Silent Sounds is one of the best companies in London that organises them. They have a wide variety of events, from boat parties to city tours, so you can find a silent disco that fits your interests and your schedule.

Dive into a ball pit at the Ballie Ballerson bar

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Location: 97-113 Curtain Rd, London EC2A 3BS, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 78 1257 1480

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The Ballie Ballerson bar is adorned with playful decorations, neon lights, and eye-catching installations, setting the stage for an extraordinary experience. However, the true centrepiece of this establishment lies in its iconic ball pit.

Imagine a massive pool filled with over a million plastic balls, each one glistening with stunning colours. The ball pit itself is meticulously maintained, ensuring cleanliness and safety for all who dare to dive in. 

This extraordinary feature spans multiple levels, creating a multi-dimensional playground where adventure knows no bounds.

Aside from that, this bar also often hosts themed nights, live music, and other entertainment events, ensuring there is always something exciting happening at Ballie Ballerson.

Step back in time at the Clink Prison Museum

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Location: 1 Clink St, London SE1 9DG, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7403 0900

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The Clink Prison operated from the 12th to the 18th century and was notorious for its harsh conditions and brutal treatment of inmates. 

The museum faithfully recreates the oppressive atmosphere of this medieval prison, allowing you to step into the shoes of those who once languished within its walls.

Here, you can explore the museum’s meticulously reconstructed cells. The authentic artefacts on display, including torture devices and restraints, offer a chilling glimpse into the harsh realities of incarceration during this tumultuous period in history.

Concoct your fragrance at the Experimental Perfume Club

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Location: 53 Monmouth St, London WC2H 9DG, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 3095 1788

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The Experimental Perfume Club offers a one-of-a-kind experience that allows you to unleash your inner perfumer and create a bespoke fragrance tailored to your taste. 

With vials and beakers in hand, you embark on a fragrant journey, blending various ingredients to craft a perfume that encapsulates your personality, preferences, and desired mood.

The process is an intoxicating mix of artistry and science. You experiment with different scent combinations, carefully balancing top, middle, and base notes to create a harmonious symphony of fragrance.

Or, you know, you could also end up crafting a complete disaster of perfume, but that can also be fun.

Visit God’s Own Junkyard

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Location: Unit 12, Ravenswood Industrial Estate, Shernhall St, London E17 9HQ, United Kingdom

Contact:  +44 20 8521 8066

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God’s Own Junkyard is an emporium of neon lights, vintage signs, and salvaged treasures. As you step inside, you’ll find yourself immersed in a world where the flickering glow of neon illuminates every corner. 

Chris Bracey, a renowned neon artist, infuses his creations with a sense of nostalgia and whimsy. Here, you’ll encounter an eclectic assortment of neon signs that once adorned movie sets and city streets. 

And while exploring this place, you’ll come across an array of peculiar treasures. From vintage movie props, and carnival carousel horses, to mosaic installations adorn the walls, it’s all a visual feast that defies traditional categorisation.

Sample unusual ice cream flavours at Chin Chin Labs

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Location: 49-50 Camden Lock Pl, London NW1 8AF, United Kingdom

Contact:  [email protected]

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Chin Chin Labs is an ice cream parlour that pushes the boundaries of traditional frozen treats, offering a one-of-a-kind experience for adventurous taste buds.

At Chin Chin Labs, you’ll be immediately greeted by a sense of wonder and excitement. The laboratory-themed setting, complete with stainless steel counters and billows of liquid nitrogen, creates an atmosphere of scientific experimentation.

Here, you can try a scoop of burnt butter caramel, where the deep, smoky richness harmonises with the sweet creaminess of the ice cream. Or dare to try the zingy sensation of the olive oil and lemon sorbet, where the fruity tang and subtle bitterness create a refreshing surprise.

Discover the magic of the House of MinaLima

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Location: 157 Wardour St, London W1F 8WQ, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 3214 0000

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This unique establishment serves as a showcase for the extraordinary graphic design work of Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima, the masterminds behind the visual aesthetics of the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films.

Once inside, you’ll see a gallery filled with stunning artwork and designs that bring the wizarding world to life. 

Here, you can explore the corridors adorned with intricately crafted prints and illustrations, featuring iconic elements from the beloved Harry Potter series. 

From the whimsical Marauder’s Map to the captivating imagery of the Daily Prophet, each piece offers a glimpse into the magical universe that has enchanted millions.

Attend a retro gaming night at Four Quarters 

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Location: 187 Rye Ln, London SE15 4TW, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 3754 7622 

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Four Quarters is adorned with vintage arcade machines, each one beckoning you to take part in a gaming extravaganza. From classics like Pac-Man and Space Invaders to hidden gems of the past, there’s a game to suit every taste and skill level.

But what truly sets Four Quarters apart is its Retro Gaming Night, a regular event that draws enthusiasts from far and wide. On these special occasions, the venue comes alive with an electric atmosphere as gamers gather to relive the magic of the past. 

Spend time with feline friends at Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium

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Location: 152-154, Bethnal Green Rd, London E2 6DG, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 8616 9390

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Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium offers a haven for cat lovers, providing a space to unwind, relax, and connect with these fascinating creatures. 

The calming presence of the cats, combined with the tranquil atmosphere, offers a unique opportunity to experience the joy and therapeutic benefits of spending time with our feline friends.

Among the furry friends you may encounter are Loki, a playful and curious tabby who is always up for an adventure. Meanwhile, Duchess, an elegant tortoiseshell, exudes an air of regal mystery, captivating visitors.

Watch a bizarre performance at the London Dungeon

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Location: Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Rd, London SE1 7PB, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7967 8022

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The performances at the London Dungeon embrace a unique blend of historical storytelling and unconventional entertainment. Talented actors breathe life into infamous characters and spine-chilling narratives, taking you on a journey through the dark underbelly of London’s past. 

From encounters with notorious criminals to reenactments of chilling events, each scene is meticulously crafted to provoke a thrilling mix of fascination and unease.

This theatrical experience goes beyond mere observation, as audience participation is encouraged and integral to the performance. 

And while engaging with the actors, you may even find yourself interrogated by an imposing judge, escaping the clutches of a deranged character, or even being an accomplice in a twisted plot!

Attend a taxidermy workshop at The Last Tuesday Society

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Location: 11 Mare St, London E8 4RP, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 8533 5297

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Attending a taxidermy workshop at The Last Tuesday Society is an immersive experience that challenges preconceptions and invites you to see the beauty in the unconventional. 

As you work with your hands, delicately manoeuvring tools and materials, a newfound appreciation for the craftsmanship and dedication required to create taxidermy pieces emerges. 

It’s an opportunity to connect with nature unconventionally, exploring the delicate balance between life and death, and embracing the beauty that can be found in the art of preservation.

Take a dip in the Serpentine Lido

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Location: Hyde Park, London W2 2UH, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 300 061 2000

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This is really more a thing for tourists as most Londoners wouldn’t consider this that quirky, but still. Here, you have the opportunity to take a dip in a designated swimming area within the lake, surrounded by the picturesque beauty of Hyde Park.

The lido provides a unique blend of natural and man-made elements, combining the tranquillity of the lake with facilities designed for swimmers’ comfort.

In addition to swimming, the Serpentine Lido offers other amenities that enhance the overall experience. Facilities such as showers, changing rooms, and a cafe are available to ensure your visit is comfortable and convenient.

Uncover the secrets of London’s sewers at Crossness Pumping Station

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Location: Bazalgette Way, Abbey Wood, London SE2 9AQ, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 8311 3711

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This architectural gem served as a pivotal part of London’s sewage system, an engineering feat that aimed to tackle the city’s sanitation challenges. 

Uncovering the secrets of London’s sewers at Crossness Pumping Station offers a unique perspective on the city’s history and infrastructure. The station showcases the ingenuity of the Victorian era, with its ornate ironwork, grand engines, and intricate machinery. 

Moreover, Crossness Pumping Station provides a charming backdrop for your journey into the sewers’ secrets. The preserved Victorian architecture of the station creates an immersive experience that transports you back in time.

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