Whether you're hoping to do something a little different during your next trip to London, or even if you're curious about seeing more unconventional exhibits outside of London's major museums, then there's a handful unusual places in London that are unlike any other on the planet; (and that's putting it mildly).
From historical places, artsy places, and down-right strange and creepy places, London has it all. But out of all the unique and one-of-a-kind spots to choose from, here are a few head-turning locations in London that stand out from the rest:
1. The Wellcome Collection
Address: 183 Euston Road
Nearest station: Euston Square station
Described as "the free destination for the incurably curious," The Wellcome Collection has been fascinating the public since it first opened its doors in 1936, and has a specific focus on the connections between art, life and medicine.
This intriguing museum houses everything from Napoleon's toothbrush to hearing aids and keyholes, and in the past has hosted exhibits on the natural power of electricity, "adventures in refrigeration" and even mental asylums and quack remedies. Visitors can purchase their own audio guide to listen to as they stroll around the building, and the museum even offers guided tours as well.
The Wellcome Collection is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursdays (but is closed on Mondays).
2. Clowns Gallery-Museum London
Address: Holy Trinity Dalston, Beechwood Rd
Nearest station: Dalston Junction
Put those clown fears to the ultimate test by exploring this bizarre museum in London, which contains everything from clown costumes, clown portraits, clown dolls, clown awards - and even clown eggs! (Yes, you read that right).
The museum is actually run by "real-life clowns" who have been in the clowning business for decades, and is only open on the first Friday of every month - which means there's bound to be a huge crowd during your visit. Here you will find everything from the final suit of Coco the Clown to the largest collections of clown eggs in the world, and visitors can also go on a tour around the Holy Trinity church (which is famous in its own right).
Although entry is free, the museum relies solely on donations from the public in order to keep it running. To access the museum, head to Cumberland Close to the rear end of the church and ring the doorbell. The museum is open from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the first Friday of every month.
3. House of Dreams
Address: 45 Melbourne Grove
Nearest station: East Dulwich
Taking the "one man's trash is another man's treasure" expression to a whole new level, every inch and corner of this unconventional museum is covered in all sorts of different forgotten and unloved objects, like old Christmas crackers, broken toys, religious objects from Mexico, and much more.
The museum was founded by the local mosaic artist Stephen Wright (known for his mosaic decoration outside the Blue Mountain Cafe), who decided to transform the ground floor of his home into a dizzying display of countless objects that the average person would consider trash. (Wright still resides in this building to this very day, and often conducts tours for visitors).
The House of Dreams is only open on specific days throughout the year (July 25th, August 29th and September 26th) from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., so if you plan on visiting make sure you arrive extra early as the building can get quite crowded. Admission costs £10 for adults, or £5 for students, but children can enter for free.
4. Lights of Soho
Address: 35 Brewer Street
Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus
Walking down the steps into this small cave-like basement in Soho, within seconds you'll be able to see why this alluring location is one of the most enchanting spots in London.
This small space is crammed full of neon signs and artwork as well as various light art displays (many of which were designed by local artists) and also hosts a variety of events like live music performances, DJs, film screenings, magazine launches, and even talks hosted by various members of London's thriving art scene. Visitors can also purchase some cocktails from the bar to sip on while they stroll around and marvel at the various pieces of neon art on display throughout the building.
The Lights of Soho is open until 6 p.m. six days a week, although only members will be allowed entry from 6 p.m. to midnight. (Visitors can sign-up to become a member via their official website).
5. Battersea Flower Station
Address: 16 Winders Road
Nearest station: Battersea Park Station
It's been awarded as the Best Garden Centre in London, and once you visit it you'll see why. Listed as an "Independent Garden Centre and Florist," the Battersea Flower Station is a enchanting place packed full of all sorts of different flowers, flower pots, houseplants, olive trees and much more. Visitors can purchase a few bags of compost (costing as little as 20p per scoop!), a bouquet for a loved one, or even just stroll around to get some gardening inspirations of their own.
The Battersea Flower Station is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday to Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.
6. Alexandra Palace
Address: Alexandra Palace Way
Nearest station: Wood Green
North London's Alexandra Palace represents a unique milestone in not only British history, but worldwide history as well - as it hosted the first ever television broadcast in 1935 which was seen by millions of people (and also led to the palace being coined as "the birthplace of TV.")
But besides this, Alexandra Palace has become a popular location over the years as it has hosted countless events ranging from drone races, London's International Yoga Day and even music concerts by acts like the Deftones and The Maccabees, so you'll never know what kind of event will be taking place during your visit. The palace also regularly hosts evening discos and daily skating sessions, and there is also a play area for children, a garden centre, a deer enclosure, a boating lake, a rose garden and a pitch and putt course, not to mention a whopping 196 acres to explore at your heart's content.
For more info on any upcoming events, check out Alexandra Palace's official website.
7. The Sky Garden
Address: 1 Sky Garden Walk
Nearest station: Monument
Are you itching to see panoramic views of the London skyline but don't have the money to shell out on a visit up The Shard? Well you'll be happy to hear that The Sky Garden lets its visitors enjoy stunning views of London from 155 metres above for literally no cost at all!
In The Sky Garden, all of the views of London are labelled on the glass so you can learn more about the different buildings you can expect to see during your visit, and there's also a picturesque rainforest garden you can stroll around as well.
Sky Garden itself is open from 10 a.m to 6 p.m. on weekdays, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends, but its restaurants are open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m., all of which provide unlimited access to the gardens. Given its popularity, it's highly recommended that you book a spot online beforehand, and make sure you bring some form of photo ID during your visit as well.
8. Deptford Creek Low Tide Walk
Address: Creekside Centre, 14 Creekside, Deptford
Nearest station: Deptford
Interested in learning more about the River Thames? Well by going on a Deptford Creek Low Tide Walk, you can get down to the nitty-gritty of River Thames' phenomenal ecological history and see the historic river from an entirely new perspective - literally.
The Deptford Creek Low Tide Walk provides visitors with the fascinating opportunity to wade along the banks of the River Thames from Deptford Bridge on a low-tide day to see around a kilometre of the riverbed when its exposed. During the two-hour walk, visitors should be able to see various freshwater and saltwater plants, birds, butterflies and over 120 different species of wildflowers which call the banks of the River Thames their home.
Because the Low Tide Walk only happens on specific days throughout the year, you'll need to check the website beforehand and then book a spot online, or by phone/e-mail. For more information visit the Creekside Centre's official website.
9. Palace Bingo
Address: Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre
Nearest station: Elephant & Castle
Do you consider yourself a bingo champ? Then why not test your bingo skills during an intense game of bingo with some of the best bingo players in London inside Elephant & Castle's Shopping Centre?
With over 2,000 seats to choose from, Palace Bingo is one of the largest bingo clubs in the country, and could be the perfect way to spend a Friday or Saturday night in London (as these are the nights when the venue truly comes to life).
If you want to compete at Palace Bingo you will need to sign up for a membership on the Palace Bingo website. Prices vary between £3 and £15 depending on which day you compete; for more information on costs you can contact a member of staff beforehand.
Bingo games at Palace Bingo takes place at:
- 10 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. on Mondays
- 10:30 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. from Tuesday to Saturday
- 12 p.m. to 11:45 p.m. on Sundays
10. Dennis Severs' House
Address: 18 Folgate Street
Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street/Liverpool Street
Travel back in time and immerse yourself with the smells, sounds and sights of historic London in this thought-provoking Spitalfields museum, which gives visitors a bird's eye view of what life in London would have been like hundreds of years ago.
The museum was founded by Dennis Severs, who was looking for a spot to serve as a sort of "canvas" for his own artistic imagination. Over the years Severs has redesigned the home with only antique decorations and furnishing, and without any modern-day technology or electricity.
Visitors can walk around the various rooms inside the home (which include the cellar, kitchen, dining room, smoking room and bedrooms) and look at half-eaten plates of food on the table, jackets thrown over chairs, and even the smell the food cooking in the kitchen. The museum is especially unique in that visitors must stroll around the various areas of the building in silence so they can imagine how the original inhabitants of the house would have lived hundreds of years in the past.
Visitors can choose from three separate events which take place at Dennis Severs' House:
- Sunday "Daytime" events (12 p.m. to 4 p.m., £10 per person/£5 per student/senior)
- Monday "Lunchtime" events (12 p.m. to 2 p.m., £10 per person/£5 per student/senior)
- "Silent Night" events (every Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. during the Christmas season, £50 to £60 per person).
Looking for even more alternative things to do in London? Our London Street Art & Graffiti Tour passes through some areas of Shoreditch, which is considered by many to be the most "alternative" neighbourhood in London; (click here for more info on our departure times and meeting points).