3 Offbeat Sites for Your London Adventure

Some of the most incredible things about travel are those moments when you stumble across something unexpected. It could be a cute and kitschy coffee shop or an unusual monument tucked away on a random side street. Finding these treasures can change an otherwise ordinary trip into something extraordinary and unique.


However, sometimes it’s worthwhile to actually plan for the unexpected and add a city’s most offbeat and unusual sites to your itinerary. Of course you’ll want to see the places that the tourism bureaus suggest but why not take a few hints from locals and other travelers who have in-depth knowledge of a city and know exactly what sites show off a different side of it.

As one of the most-visited cities in the world, London is simply packed with incredible museums, historical monuments, lively markets, and other places that highlight all of the things that this city is known for. In fact, it would be incredibly easy to see only these famous places and nothing else during your trip. However, wouldn’t it be nice to see a bit of London’s weird side as well?

If you’re planning a visit to London and would like to experience a few of the city’s lesser-known places consider adding some of these interesting sites to your schedule.

1. Hyde Park Pet Cemetery 

 Most visitors to London pay a visit to Hyde Park, and for good reason. This 350-acre city park has it all; there are walking and hiking trails, paths for horseback riding, a lake for boating and fishing which is also used for ice skating in the winter, and so much more. There is also the famous statue of Achilles and the touching memorial to the late Princess Diana which takes the form of a playground.

While all of these things are wonderful to see and could easily take a day or more, if you’d prefer to seek out this park’s hidden gem then head to the gatekeeper’s cottage and peer through the fence. Here lies an old cemetery dedicated to departed pets from the Victorian era. You’ll be able to see the headstones engraved with touching sentiments from the pets’ owners. Most of the graves hold dogs and cats, but, according to legend, there is also a monkey and several birds interred here as well.

Currently the cemetery is only widely viewable through the fence, but special arrangements with Royal Parks can be made for a closer look.

2. Lee Valley White Water Centre


If you’ve ever wanted to go white water rafting or kayaking near the middle of a metropolitan city then you’re in luck. Built for the 2012 Olympic Games and now open to the public, the Lee Valley White Water Centre is literally packed with fun activities for people of all ages.

Some of the activities available include rafting on their 300-meter course or kayaking the obstacle course. For kayaking you’ll need to take an assessment test or practice lessons to ensure that you know how to safely handle the vessel, but white water rafting is done with a professional guide and is available to anyone. Activities like these are best done in the company of others, so invite along a local friend to enjoy the day with you.

3. Horniman Museum and Gardens

Everyone usually visits at least one museum when they travel, but in a city like London choosing that one museum can feel impossible. With so many treasures displayed all over the city, the choice certainly depends on an individual’s taste, but if you’re fond of the more strange and unique side of life then a visit to the Horniman Museum is a must.

Packed with art, archaeological objects, taxidermy, and more, this museum is a feast for the eyes. One of its more popular objects is an oddly overstuffed walrus. Dating back to the late 1800s, it is thought that the taxidermist who took on this project had never seen a live walrus, and was thus unsure as to how much stuffing should be used. A visit to Horniman is also not complete without seeing the famous merman, which is actually a papier-mâché head attached to the mummified body of a fish.

Strange things, indeed.

Travel is all about experiencing new things, meeting new people, and getting to know a different way of life in a different place. With so many things to do in an incredible city like London it can be hard to decide what sites and experiences will land on your itinerary. If you’d prefer to see a bit more of the offbeat side of London be sure to choose one of these exciting experiences.


Picture credit Horniman Museum image by Russell James Smith from Flickr.com

Lee Valley White Water rafting centre image by Sludge G from Flickr.com

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