From an East London walk led by homeless guides to a spooky London bus tour, we pick 10 of the most quirky, eye-opening and unique trips around town.
A group of friends pedalling away on a Pedibus is an increasingly common and always entertaining sight around Borough Market, London Bridge, Shoreditch and Liverpool Street. A quirky way to explore London, these pedal-powered buses have space for 12 people – and feature a VIP platform and bar table for drinks.
East End Pub Tour
Learn about the history of the London pub and how it’s faring today on this 2.5-hour East End Pub Tour from Alternative London. You’ll also have a few pints (or your tipple of choice) in a few local watering holes on the way, and see Brick Lane and Spitalfields street art – so it’s like two tours in one!
Chislehurst Caves Tour
Explore the colourful history of Chislehurst Caves, a labyrinth of man-made tunnels once used (some claim) by Druids, Romans and Saxons. Over the years it has seen smuggling, murder, mushroom-growing and music – even serving as a giant air raid shelter during the Second World War.
See a different side to London on one of Unseen Tours’ city walks, which are led by homeless and formerly homeless guides. You’ll visit top London landmarks but also places you’ve never been to before – and hear anecdotes of street life in London. Tours cover London Bridge, Covent Garden, Shoreditch or Brick Lane.
Highgate West Cemetery Tour
Overgrown, atmospheric and beautiful, Highgate Cemetery is the famous burial ground of the likes of Karl Marx, George Eliot and Michael Faraday. The West Cemetery is accessible on a guided tour only, and features stunning architectural memorials like the Egyptian Avenue, terrace catacombs and mausoleum of Julius Beer. The tour includes access to the East Cemetery.
Thames Beachcoming Walk
London’s past is deeply entwined with the River Thames, so the river is a veritable treasure trove of historic artefacts. Led by an inter-tidal archaeologist guide, this riverside outing from London Walks gives you the opportunity to find your own hoard – perhaps some medieval roof tiles, Elizabethan clay pipes or a relic from the Roman or even Mesolithic eras (it has been known).
London Ghost Bus Tour
The spooky London Ghost Bus Tour takes you around the sites of some of London’s most grisly and murderous events – on board a black 1960s Routemaster bus. Enjoy jumps (and laughs), and discover the dark side to top attractions such as the Houses of Parliament, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Tower of London.
Hidden City: Cryptic Covent Caper
One of Hidden City’s fiendish treasure hunts, Cryptic Covent Caper leads you around the West End and Covent Garden with a trail of clues sent to you by text that you must solve. The 11 cryptic clues will test your skills – and lead you ultimately to a pub, café or pub where you can reward your ingenuity.
London Behind The Scenes: St Katharine Docks and Wapping Tour
Learn about the vibrant trading past of London’s East End on this tour of the eastside of the River Thames – once home to the largest port in the world. Developed by volunteers of education charity WORLDwrite, the London Behind The Scenes tour begins at St Katharine Docks and ends at Tobacco Dock on Wapping Lane – passing ivory sheds, wine vaults and the dockers’ bell en route.
London Helicopter Tours
For a spectacular journey around London, a London Helicopter Tour is hard to beat. On this amazing ride you’ll get a bird’s eye view over the capital’s most famous landmarks, and see the city from a totally new, unique perspective. And with prices starting at £129 per person, it’s not as expensive as you might think.