Traffic Light Tree in Canary Wharf

10 Weird Things To Do In London

So you’ve seen Buckingham Palace, visited some of London’s many museums, taken selfies in front of Nelson’s Column and taken a boat ride on the River Thames. So what if you’re now hankering to do something that little bit different? Well you’ve picked the right place, because London is a great place to go exploring the strange, odd and even the downright weird.

Here’s our list of 10 weird things to do in London that you certainly won’t find in most of the regular tourist guides…

1. Visit the traffic light tree

Yep, you read that right – a traffic light tree. The infamous sculpture was designed by artist, Pierre Vivant, and has become a pretty iconic feature that’s known the world over.

The tree was recently moved from its original plot at Westferry where it had stood for many years. There was public outcry at this, and in 2014 it was re-installed at a new plot in Canary Wharf, close to Billingsgate Fish Market. Best seen at night, it can also be spotted from the Docklands Light Railway.

2. Visit the grave of Karl Marx

Taking a trip to a cemetery might seem a little strange, but actually, wandering amongst the peaceful tombstones and reading inscriptions can be a surprisingly chilled way to spend an afternoon.

The East Cemetery of Highgate Cemetery is where you’ll find his gravestone, topped bizarrely with an enormous stone sculpture of his head! You don’t need to book to visit, but there is an entrance fee of about £4 (children under 18 are free). Get there in a decent time because last admissions are at 16:30.

3. Take a walk through a pet cemetery

Continuing in the slightly macabre scene, not many people know that in a corner of Hyde Park is a Victorian pet cemetery. With the first grave dating back to April 28, 1881, with a dog called Cherry, others continued to be buried here over a period of time. You do have to book in advance, and this can be done through the Hyde Park Rangers.

4. Visit Europe’s oldest operating theatre

One of the strangest of all of London’s museums, The Old Operating Theatre at London Bridge makes for a very different day out. Learn about the history of various medical trades, such as anaesthesia, obstetrics and herbal medicine. And just be glad that you live in the 21st century, and not Victorian Britain…

5. Take a trip to Alice’s Wonderland

Near Charing Cross Station is a boutique shop that’s dedicated entirely to the famous Lewis Carol tale.

Alice Through The Looking Glass offers wonderful items such as Victorian top hats, chess boards, first editions of some of Lewis Caroll’s Alice books (if you can afford the hefty price tag). Certainly not just for kids – although they’ll love it – but a chance to indulge your inner child.

6. Catch a Ukulele concert

Who’d have thought that the humble ukulele would have its own shop, rehearsal room and recording studios! But at the Duke of Uke, this is exactly what you’ll find.

Not only can you purchase anything to do with the ‘ukulele’ here, but you can also get advice or even take lessons. But one of the best things is the impromptu concerts that take place here, or performances from solo artists. You can’t guarantee that you’ll get the chance to hear such music every time you visit, but there’s a good chance that you might just get lucky…

7. Visit the first Hindu Mandir Temple ever built outside India

The London suburb of Neasden is the location for the first ever such temple built outside of the Indian sub-continent. Shri Swaminarayan Mandir was built in 1995 and is an impressive building both inside and out.

Open to people of every faith, entry is free to all. Opening times vary so check out the timings before you visit. Also be aware that there is a strict dress code, with visitors being requested to wear tops that cover the chest, navel, shoulders and upper arms. Legs must be covered to at least below the knee. You’ll also be required to remove your shoes when you enter.

8. Get backstage at the Royal Opera House

Going to the theatre is a thrilling experience, but being able to get backstage and see parts that are normally only privy to performers. Backstage tours at the Royal Opera House offer the unique opportunity to encounter various different aspects of the industry. This could well include seeing The Royal Ballet in class – a memory that will stay with you for life. Tickets start from £9 and the tour lasts around 1 hour 45 minutes.

9. Go bird watching

London might seem a strange place in which to don a pair of binoculars and go spying on our feathered friends, but thanks to the creation of a unique urban oasis just minutes from the centre of the city, this is just what you can do.

The London Wetland Centre in Barnes, has become a haven for many different breeds of bird. These include Kingfisher, peregrines, Shelducks, Little Grebes, Little Egrets, Green Sandpipers and Shovelers. The centre is open every day from 09:30, with prices starting from £7 for children and £12.75 for adults. A family ticket for 4 costs £35.55.

10. See where medicine really comes from

One of the most interesting (and least publicized) gardens in London is the Chelsea Physic Garden.

Here you can learn about the importance of plants in medicine (as well as seeing the UKs largest fruiting outdoor olive tree!). It really is like stepping back in time to a day before modern medicine – the garden was founded in 1673 by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries.

The garden is open daily, with late openings on Tuesdays and Wednesday’s in the summer, and entry is £6.60 for students and children aged 5-15 (free for under fives). And £9.90 for adults.