Are you studying in London already? Or just dreaming about when you join us? Peer Advisor Emily has sourced some unusual and fun activities you can check out while you’re here.
London is full of impressive landmarks. The London Eye, the Shard, and the Houses of Parliament, to name a few. They will surely be at the top of your list of places to see whilst you’re here, as they should be. However, if you’re looking for something else, something a little less predictable, I’ve compiled a list of some of the quirkier places worth visiting. The hidden gems of London, if you will!
- Have tea in Java Whiskers Cat Café in Marylebone
What better way to soak up London’s incredible café culture than to enjoy a cuppa alongside some adorable feline friends? Cat fans, step this way. The café offers a relaxed place to catch up with friends, study or unwind amongst the company of free-roaming cats. The Java Whiskers Café is also the only cat café in Europe with a kitten lounge if you need further persuasion. Be sure to book in advance to avoid disappointment, as they operate under a limited guest-per-hour system to preserve the relaxed atmosphere. As a massive cat fan, I visited Java Whiskers last year and absolutely loved it! They offer a delicious afternoon tea for a reasonable price if you want the ultimate cat café experience!
- Behind-the-scenes tour of London’s tube line
Ever wondered what things look like behind the scenes of London’s substantial underground tube system? Look no further! The London Transport Museum offers a range of exclusive behind-the-scenes tours for members of the public. Tour locations include Moorgate Station, Shepherds Bush, and Charing Cross. Concession prices are also available for students, so take advantage and see London from a different perspective.
- Admire the neon lights at God’s Own Junkyard
God’s Own Junkyard, located in East London, is a vibrant and colourful art shop featuring exciting neon and lightbulb signs by Chris Bracey. He has made signs for celebrities, including Tom Cruise and Johnny Depp. It is also an excellent place for a cheeky Instagram photoshoot, as the shop provides a unique and quirky background. Be warned that professional cameras aren’t allowed, but phone photographs are welcome. Soak up the bright lights and prepare to be dazzled by a wealth of neon signs.
- See the deer in Richmond Park
London has a range of stunning parks to visit, including Regent’s Park and Hyde Park. But if you want to change it up, why not spend the day in Richmond? A short tube ride away from central London, Richmond Park is one of London’s largest royal parks, and it is also home to over 600 deer, which you’ll be sure to see on any given day. With huge open spaces and a beautiful array of greenery, Richmond Park is one of the places to visit before you go.
- Visit a speakeasy!
Perhaps one of the most unusual places in London, Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town is a speakeasy pub under an East London café, and you enter through a fridge. Not many people know about this hidden gem, but the candlelit ambiance and crazy cocktails will make for a great night out. The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town also offers a range of craft beers and wines, if that’s your thing instead.
- Go to one of the most beautiful galleries in London
Located just off the bustling Oxford Street, The Wallace Collection is the home to the late Sir Wallace’s Collection of beautiful sculptures, ceramics, furniture, and paintings. The Collection includes Fragonard’s ‘The Swing’, one of the more famous pieces. I used to work at the Wallace Collection, and visitors were always taken aback by the beautiful rooms. My favourite room is the Great Hall, which displays 14th-century paintings. There is also an impressive armoury found downstairs which only a few people know about, so be sure to check that out as well. Entry to the Collection is free.
- Experiment with some street art
Have you ever considered completing some street art? Now is your chance. Head to Leake Street Arches in Lambeth and spray away. The 300-metre tunnel offers a canvas for people to decorate as they please — legally! Get creative and leave behind your very own personal mark on London.
- Sleepover at The Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum sees thousands of visitors daily, but only a few know you can have a sleepover there. Splash out on a ticket and have a once-in-a-lifetime experience you’ll remember forever. The fee also gives you access to selected galleries, a live animal workshop with ethical handling company ZooLab, a pub quiz, a science show, a stand-up comedy show and an all-night movie marathon.
The Tate Modern is one of London’s most famous art galleries, but many people are unaware of the observation deck found on the top floor. You will get an excellent view of St Paul’s Cathedral and the famous Thames. The Tate is a short walk from the Strand Campus, and entry is free. Go check it out for yourself! You won’t regret it.
Life drawing classes can be exciting, but glow-in-the-dark life drawing classes put a creative spin on the tradition. Sitters are decorated in UV paint, creating exciting patterns that you can recreate in your drawings. These classes take place at various venues across London. Be sure to book a ticket in advance to secure a spot if you’re interested.