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If you’ve been to London before, it’s likely that you will have already visited all of the UK capital’s most popular tourist attractions like Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and 10 Downing Street, as well as the city’s many museums.
But is there anything a little different left to do when you feel like you’ve seen and done it all before? As London is one of the most diverse and eclectic cities in the world, there’s fortunately plenty.
Here’s our pick of six of the best unusual attractions to visit in the UK capital:
1. Puppet Theatre Barge
Moored in Richmond-upon-Thames during the summer months and in London’s Little Venice throughout the rest of the year, the Puppet Theatre Barge is a joyful delight for people of all ages.
Housed in a converted 1930s 50-seat barge, this quirky theatre regularly hosts both matinee and evening performances using various forms of puppetry to tell a wide variety of stories ranging from the classic Punch and Judy and Aesop’s fables through to Shakespearian plays.
The Puppet Theatre Barge provides an intimate but fun theatre experience that’s sure to put a smile on the faces of little ones and big kids alike.
2. Highgate Cemetery Tour
A Victorian graveyard may not make the most cheerful of tourist attractions, but a tour of Highgate Cemetery is an unusual but incredibly interesting way to spend an hour or two. Guided tours of the cemetery take place regularly, giving visitors the chance to see the final resting places of and pay their respects to key influential figures from history.
Notable headstones to look out for include those of Victorian author George Eliot, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy creator Douglas Adams, poet Christina Rossetti, and Karl Marx.
3. Take mood lighting to a new extreme
No new trendy bar would be complete without atmospheric mood lighting, but Pitch Black in London’s Old Street area takes this concept to a whole new level.
As its name suggests, this cocktail bar has no lights whatsoever, which the owners believe causes the other senses to become heightened. As a result, your tastebuds should be even more tantalised by the delectable drinks on offer and you should be even more immersed in your companions’ conversation, as scrolling through your smartphone or simply people watching are off the menu.
Customers can sign up for a 90-minute tasting session at Pitch Black, during which time they’ll be served a range of cocktails. You’ll be told what spirit each drink is based around, but the idea is that you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the other flavours paired with your gin, rum or vodka and you’re sure to feel differently about ordering a drink at the bar in future.
4. Whitewater rafting at the Lee Valley White Water Centre
Whitewater rafting in London? Surely not?! Well, at the Lee Valley White Water Centre, which is located in Hertfordshire, just a 40-minute drive from the UK capital, you can experience this thrilling activity for yourself.
The centre was built ahead of the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games, meaning visitors can whitewater raft their way down the same course used during the event. If you’d prefer a gentler experience, paddle boats are also available to take out on the centre’s very own lake.
5. Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!
Located on the bustling Piccadilly Circus, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! is one of London’s most unusual museums. Ripley’s is a brilliant celebration of everything that is weird and wonderful.
Exhibits are extremely random, with highlights including a portrait of former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama made from pop bottle tops, as well as shrunken heads, prehistoric shark teeth, a model of the Titanic built from more than 147,000 matchsticks and a shoe once worn by King Henry VIII himself.
6. Take a trip down the rabbit hole
Few places are more fantastical and magical than the Wonderland created by Lewis Carroll for his Alice’s Adventures series and you too can take a trip down the rabbit hole with a Mad Hatter-themed afternoon tea at London’s The Montcalm London Marble Arch.
Your tea table will be decorated with ornate teapots and china teacups, birdcages and vintage books to create a magical storybook experience, before you will be presented with chocolate and coffee-flavoured macaroons in the shape of the white rabbit’s pocket watch and delicate classic cucumber or white crab finger sandwiches served on clocks.