Fun Things To Do In London

London is a huge and exciting city and a complete mixed bag. In my few years here I’ve only just scratched the surface of all the amazing and quirky things you can fill your evenings and weekends with, but as I try my best to find these off the beaten track attractions, I want to share with the world what are, in my opinion the most fun things to do in London if you ever find yourself in city at a loose end.

  1. Ride a ‘Boris bike’ – London’s Mayor Boris Johnson is one nice dude.  In 2010 he introduced city bikes with docking stations all over the city so you can ride and dock to your hearts content for a small fee. Cruise around the lanes of Soho then take yourself over to Shoreditch to check out some bars. Just be sure to dock before the booze starts flowing or you may find yourself in jail for drink pedalling.
  2. Be a lady (or gentleman) who lunches – Daaaahling, you simply must have afternoon tea in London at least once. Most 5 star London hotels do great ones – notably Soho Hotel and The Ritz. Nibble salmon sandwiches with the celebs and tell yourself in the mirror how cool you now are in the plushest bathrooms in all of the UK. Just livin’ the dream, people.
  3. Hunt down a Banksy – The elusive British street artist is known all over the world for his humorous political musings and stencil work. Most have now been painted over but here are still a few left in London, and the great thing about Banksy is you never know when he’ll strike next…
  4. Get the Scoop - The Scoop runs an outdoor cinema overlooking Tower Bridge during summer. Sip a bottle of red while kicking back and watching classics such as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Clockwork Orange.
  5. Check out the work of a p***ed off property developer - Down a quiet street in Bermondsey on a small piece of land sits a decommissioned Soviet T-34-85 Army tank that was used in the film Richard III. Rumour has it that the tank was placed on the land after a property developer was denied planning permission for a block of flats there, and the tanks gun points directly towards the very council building in which his application was denied.
  6. Get down and dirty at Cafe de Paris – On Saturday nights the Wam Bam girls come out to play – think nipple tassels, rollerskates and lots of fun. Get a table with friends then stay and dance the night away to cheesy tunes after the show.
  7. Drink in a private members bar – Go VIP for the night at bars like Milk and Honey, Jub Jub or Danger of Death. Sip on decadent cocktails made by top mixoligists and escape the masses. Just be sure to book first.
  8. Eat a cupcake or three – The original Hummingbird Bakery on Portobello Rd started a cupcake revolution when it opened in 2004 and it’s now spawned another 2 stores as well as many other cupcake copycats all over the city. Grab a box and head for the park for Sunday afternoon bliss.
  9. Solve the Jack the Ripper mystery – The London Walks company runs Jack the Ripper walks almost every day of the year, but go on a dark Autumn night for extra effect. See all the spots where the gruesome murders took place and hear all the evidence from Ripper experts. Just be sure you keep an eye over your shoulder on the walk back to the tube…
  10. Walk the canals – London’s Regents Canal is one of the cities best kept secrets. Spanning 9 miles from Limehouse in the East to Paddington in the West the canal walk takes you past cafes, under bridges and you might even spot a Banksy or two. If a 9 mile walk doesn’t sound like your idea of fun head North from Kingsland Rd then make your way towards Camden where you can rest your weary legs with a pint or two in one of Amy Winehouse’s local’s.
  11. Get drunk on a Shoreditch bar crawl – Start at Old Street station and head up Great Eastern Street via Favella Chic to the bars of Curtain Rd – after hitting The Hoxton Pony, Callooh Callay and Strong Rooms you’ll no doubt need food, so head to Pizza East before finishing yourself off with molecular cocktails at Lounge Bohemia. That oughta do it!
  12. Unleash your inner Britney – Karaoke Box in Soho rents out sound-proof booths by the hour, sells booze and is open until 2am on weekdays and 5am on weekends. What’s not to like? Load up your playlist with all your guilty pleasures and watch neighbourhood dogs run for cover as you show your mates how to Vogue like Madonna herself.
  13. Stuff yourself at Borough Market – London Bridge, home to the glorious Borough Market,  is absolute mayhem on a Saturday. Rain, hail or shine people come from all over the city to sample delicious cakes, olives, venison burgers, raclette (potato smothered in melted cheese) and lots more. Our advice? Come early and with an empty stomach!
  14. Go to Church on Sunday – Every good boy and girl knows the only thing to do on a Sunday is go to church. But if you’re expecting bibles and bread you’re in for a rude awakening – the only wine you’ll get here comes from a box and tastes like vinegar. It’s rank, debaucherous and you’ll have a stinking hangover at work the next day. But if you’re an Antipodean in London, it’s a rite of passage.
  15. Go all arty-farty at the Tate Modern – Housed in an old power station, the Tate Modern is one of the grandest buildings in London. Check out some of Damian Hirst’s work or attend the latest exhibition, like the recent over-18′s only Pop Life exhibit in which porn featured heavily. Word of warning: For aforementioned reasons you might want to check the schedule first before you go there on a first date.
  16. Have your photo taken on Tower Bridge – Yes, you read right, that’s Tower Bridge, not London Bridge which pretty much every tourist thinks is the former. A few shots with this icon in the background ought to make everyone back home insanely jealous at all the amazing stuff you’re doing over here, so why not take a few more?
  17. Dine, not just ‘eat’ at a Michelin star restaurant – Living in London wouldn’t be complete without at least one blow-the-budget meal at a restaurant such as Gordon Ramsay or Nobu. You might even see some celebs too!
  18. Drink Porn Stars at LAB Academy – On Time Out’s top 5 cocktail bars list this understated little gem in the heart of Soho serves  cocktails made by graduates of the London Academy of Bartending, hence the name. While all the cocktails here are delicious a visit simply wouldn’t be complete without a Porn Star Martini – a sweet passionfruit concoction served with a shot of champagne, cos you’re worth it.
  19. Get lost in the Barbican – It’s hard to describe the Barbican, but it’s a wonderful, wonderful place. According to their website it’s ‘Europe’s largest multi-arts and conference venue presenting a diverse range of art, music, theatre, dance, film and education events’. Catch a movie, watch some hip hop dancing, listen to the symphony orchestra or just simply wander the many inter-twining halls until you find something you like. Amazing.
  20. Get opinionated at Speakers Corner – Speakers corner near the Marble Arch end of Hyde Park certainly does spark some debates. Whether it’s religion, human rights, sexuality – if it’s worth shouting about you’ll find it there. If you’re game enough, why not start your own following of disciples?
  21. See how the rich people live in Harrods – Harrods truly has it all. Apparently in the 70′s they were known to be able to source such items as tigers within 24 hours for their cashed-up customers, but thankfully for the poor animals, times have changed a little. Endangered species aside, it pretty much sells everything, so take a trip through their food hall and stare in wonder at the all the weird uber-expensive foods from all around the world, and make sure you pick up a green Harrods bag for your Mum – she’ll love you forever.
  22. Be a Beatle – The most famous zebra crossing in the world, and you can walk across it, Lennon style. Just make sure you watch out for the cars.
  23. Bargain on Brick Lane – If you’ve ever walked down Brick Lane at around 6pm you’ll know what I mean – a thousand Indian men from all of the streets restaurants suddenly arrive to tell you how their food is the best meal you’ll ever have, their wine the nicest and their establishment the cheapest. They can’t all be right, so have some fun with them, make them work for it. If you end up paying more than £10 a head for food and booze you could’ve bargained harder.
  24. Chill out at the Exhibition Rd Festival – One weekend every June Exhibition Rd in South Kensington comes alive with their yearly music festival. From hip-hop to spoken word, there’s something for everyone. and best of all, it’s free.
  25. Catch a gig at Brixton Academy – This much loved music venue in South London has seen big names such as The Police, Wham, Madonna and Sex Pistols play some of the best live gigs in the world. It’s still going strong too, so make sure you check out this piece of rock royalty while it’s still standing.
  26. Buy some stuff you don’t need at Spitalfields Market – Sunday at Spitalfields is pretty insane – market stalls selling anything from corsets to samurai swords, and some of the best street food in London too. Just don’t go there on a hangover – all those people, bright colours and food smells does not a settled stomach make.
  27. Catch a matinee – London wouldn’t be London without West End theatre. And matinees are sooo London. There’s a million shows to choose from so find one that suits you and line up early for cheap tickets. Then afterwards hit Chinatown for a cheap lunch while you belt out all the show-tunes with your mates.
  28. Stand on the edge of the world in Greenwich – The Royal Observatory in Greenwich is the official start to every day and every year. Stand on the Prime Meridian Line which divides the Eastern and Western hemispheres of the Earth, and if you go at night you’ll see the jedi-like laser which beams the line into the sky. If you’re even a tiny bit nerdy, you will love it.
  29. Ride the Thames Clippers to work – If you don’t leave near the Thames this one might be hard, but it’s worth the bother – not many people can say they get a boat to work! And the best thing is they accept Oyster card = very nifty indeed.
  30. Go to Cockfosters – Come on, you can’t live in London and not go there at least once for the picture!
  31. Have a Sunday Roast at The Harwood Arms – The only Michelin starred pub in London, and when you go you’ll see why – delicious classics such as the beloved Sunday roast, but of exceptional quality, and accompanied by great service by good looking wait staff. Book a large table and slowly sink deeper into the couch as you eat and drink your afternoon away.
  32. Drink 42 floors up – Bar Vertigo 42 is you guessed it, 42 floors up. Sip champagne while taking in all the sights and trying to point out your house. Definitely the best view of London.
  33. Drink Pimms and eat strawberries at Wimbledon – Wimbledon is a little different to other grand slams like the Australian Open…less yobbo, more yuppie. You’ll probably have to line up at the crack of dawn to get tickets, but if the weather’s good you’ll have a great day. So, get out your green and gold face paint and show those poms how we do it down under!
  34. Get your groove on during Notting Hill Carnival – The bank holiday in August sees the normally posh suburb of Notting Hill transformed into an all-dancing Caribbean street party, punctuated by the sounds of a million whistles being blown simultaneously. Take some booze and dance the day away while watching the parade pass through the suburban streets.
  35. Show off your rowing skills on the Serpentine in Hyde Park – Boys: Here’s an excuse to show off to the object of your affection…grab a boat on a sunny day, sans-shirt and row out to the middle while your lady friend stares in amazement at your bulging biceps…Ok, maybe not. But it’s a great place for a date, especially if you smuggle in a bottle of bubbles for a mid-lake tipple.
  36. Do Sunday dim sum in Chinatown – My favorite is a place on Gerrard St called ‘New World’ – the ladies come to you with trolleys filled with goodness such as crispy duck, prawn dumplings and pork buns. Simply point and it’s yours – perfect hangover fodder!
  37. Choose your side at the Oxford Cambridge Boat Race – One of the most civilised rivalries of all time this annual boat race on the Putney-Hammersmith bend of the Thames attracts a large Pimm-sipping crowd. Throw a jersey over your shoulders and cheer on the best looking team, then get yourself down to any one of Putney’s riverside pubs after to celebrate.
  38. Get messy at a super-club – While institutions like The End and Turnmills are now closed, London still does the clubbing experience well. Cargo or Fabric are always winners, so get on your flats and down the red bull, you’re not coming home for a loooooong time, and probably a shell of your former self at that.
  39. Wander Hampstead Heath – It’s crazy to think a place like this exist in the middle of a city – 800 hectares of woodlands, ponds and green meadows which are home to hundreds of species such as woodpeckers and bats.
  40. Spend New Years Eve on Primrose Hill – This patch of high ground in North London has a great view over the city extending all the way to Canary Wharf. Rug up with some mulled wine and ring in the new year in true London style – freezing your arse off whilst getting drunk!
  41. Visit the Chelsea Physic Garden in Spring – A secret garden right in the middle of London? It certainly feels like it here – go in Spring when the flowers smell gorgeous and the sun is shining. Bliss.
  42. Work on your tan in Green Park – From March til October Green Park rents out deck chairs to the public – by the day or the hour, so head down on your lunch break to work on your tan. A few days of this and your colleagues will be insanely jealous of your glowing complexion. Mission: Accomplished.
  43. Eat Fish and Chips at your local fry-up joint – It doesn’t matter where - just follow the smell of hot chip fat when you step out your front door. Salt and Vinegar? Yes please. Pickled onion? You betcha. Dig in!
  44. Ice skate at Somerset House at Christmas – One of the most beautiful buildings in London installs an Ice rink from November to February, so go down just before Christmas and listen to carols while you impress your friends with your Torvil-esque moves.
  45. Be a sticky beak during Open House London – Each September for one weekend only some of the most iconic London buildings open their doors to the public for free – from the Gherkin, Lloyds Bank through to award-winning homes and architectural wonders. But tickets sell out fast, so make sure you join  their mailing list early in the year to receive all the latest news.
  46. Walk the Capital Ring – The Capital Ring is a 125km long walking track that encircles central London, roughly in line with various tube stations, so you can walk until your feet hurt and easily get yourself home again. The walk takes you through some surprisingly green areas and you’ll see parts of the city you never knew were there.
  47. Visit Highgate Cemetery -Take a friend in winter and tell ghost stories while wandering the ground of this beautiful cemetery. Huge angel statues and medieval-type structures might get even the most-cynical of heart racing a little, so go during daylight hours!
  48. Shout yourself silly at a Premier League Football game – IN!!! Is that umpy BLIND? Yep, the poms love footy too, just with a round ball, that’s all. But you can still get in there and cheer, so go crazy on the away team and inhale a few pies at half time. Just be sure not to upset the locals, haven’t you seen Football Factory?!
  49. Tour the BBC – The TV studios run tours daily, you just need to book in advance. You’ll see news being broadcast live from the ‘control room’ and maybe even some celebs filming shows such as ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ or ‘Little Britian’.
  50. Become a wino at Vinopolis - This is the place to taste wine in London – you can choose between an array of self-guided tours through the large venue, and you’re given vouchers which you can then choose to trade in for the wines of your choice, champagne included. Great way to spend a lazy Saturday afternoon in Winter!
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