Sightseeing, tours, crime museums and more Unusual London Attractions!
If you’re looking for things to do and want something a bit different, then these unusual attractions around the great city are unique and provide different experiences. If you have come here expecting to find the same old tourist attractions that everyone visits, then I must apologise!.
We concentrate on the more unusual crime based and gruesome places to visit! Sure, some of these tourist attractions simply have to be done, but did you know that there are some more unusual attractions that concentrate on the dark and murky past? From gruesome tales of Jack the ripper, through gangsters of the past, these are unique experiences that will take you through times gone! Be warned, some of these tours and London attractions may not be family friendly attractions and may not accept children.
Below we give you some great alternatives to the most popular (and very busy!) tourist attractions in and around the capital. A few words of advice though, it’s an amazing city, but it is also a very busy city with regard to tourism. With any attractions or tours that you intend to visit, make sure you are pre-booked! There is nothing worse than turning up and expecting to get in, and then you are told that the attraction or tour is fully booked for the next week or two!
Plan ahead! book in advance and if you are going by car, make sure you have parking sorted in advance of your visit.
Check the weather before you arrive, you don’t want to visit your tours or attractions and not be prepared for showers! it’s easy to get caught out! Check the weather forecast before you go!
DID YOU KNOW… Thankfully, as far as the city’s weather is concerned, “Pea Soupers” are a thing of the past. London smog, also known as “Pea Souper,” was caused by a combination of industrial pollution and weather patterns. The combination of smoke and fog brought the city to a halt, resulting in thousands of deaths.
The weather phenomenon of the all-encompassing fogs, were known as “pea-soupers” for their dense, yellow appearance, had become a feature by the nineteenth century.
However, due to the burning of coal, polluted fog was an issue in London as early as the 13th century, and the situation only worsened as the city grew.
DID YOU KNOW 2…Due to extreme cold weather, in the past, People were able to hold ‘Frost Fairs’ on the River Thames when it would completely freeze over, the first of its kind was held in 1608, when the river was frozen for around six weeks.
Traders sell souvenirs from the Frost Fair.
Frost Fairs were known to take place in 1684, 1716 and the final frost fair took place in 1814.Another “big freeze” of the Thames occurred in January 1963..Hopefully, on your visit to the many attractions, you won’t be experiencing either of the above weather conditions!.
With the fantastic list of attractions listed below, you will be sure to find the best things to do whatever the weather.
There are excellent transport facilities that you can use to get to the various London attractions with the family. This is a great way to go sightseeing and exploring. Using the city’s transport system is an easy way to do a tour so why not explore the options? use the Iconic “Black cab” taxi service to get around and use the great Underground network, it’s a great way to go sightseeing, the underground will take you to all the main areas you will want to visit.. (you will be surprised at how cheap you can get around the attractions using day traveller tickets)
Check out the Transport for London website for underground maps, buses, prices, details of the city congestion zone charges and much more, you will be sure to save a lot of time!
Although not normally considered as one of London attractions, it still has to be experienced, so be sure to take a visit to the Woolwich Ferry it’s free!. And if you wish to learn more about the fascinating history of the excellent Woolwich Ferry, please visit the Royal Greenwich website for the full history of this often overlooked piece.
Not too far from the ferry is if course the Emirates Air Line cable cars with breath-taking views (especially at night) and the price to get across is far cheaper than you might imagine! It really is well worth a visit and can be added to the list of London attractions that you need to visit ! Scroll down for some more great and sometimes bizarre things to visit.
Attractions / Things to do
There are plenty of things to do as this is a city steeped in history and mystery. But when you’re looking for things to do in London, why stick to the ordinary attractions for tourists? If you step back and look around, as well as some breath-taking views and historic buildings, there are plenty of alternatives to the common places to go! Enter a fascinating world of history, visit old pubs that are truly historic, you’ll find these scattered all over and it’s a great excuse for a cheeky pint! .why not take a look at some of the lesser known London attractions that explore the darker side of the streets and places of crime history? These may not always be family friendly attractions, so please check first, then you can scare yourself silly, or explore some of the places that give you a glimpse into the fascinating history of crime in “The Smoke”.
When looking for things to do, make sure that you make time for a tour on the Naughty bus! The best Tour of the East End, and definitely rates as one of the best London attractions. This doesn’t take you around the popular tourist attractions, this is THE gangster tour! (although you will get to see some of the wonderful landmarks) This tour is a must! It’s the best open topped bus sightseeing tour, with a difference! This is not a history tour.. but a personal understanding and experience of the criminal underworld.
NOT YOUR USUAL HISTORY TOURS, BUT A PERSONAL INSIGHT TO LONDON’S FAMOUS UNDERWORLD, HOSTED BY MICKY GOLDTOOTH. Don’t expect the norm, Micky is a full on character with lots of stories to tell.
Gangster Tours guides you through the personal, lived experience and understanding of the criminal and gangster underworld. This is an absolute MUST for a sightseeing attraction and should top your list of things to do!
Narrated by Micky ‘Goldtooth’ and developed by people in the know, this is the simply the best open topped bus tour in London! you will leave knowing the secrets and stories of the gangsters themselves. Ride the open-top tour bus down Bethnal Green Road where the notorious Kray twins Ronnie and Reggie ruled, pass Valance Road where they were born. See the famous E Pellicci Cafe (film buffs will recognise this from the movie Legend) where the twins and the firm frequented. Hop off at The Blind Beggar pub, where Ronnie shot George Cornell, for refreshments, stories and photos. Then off on the next part of the tour. Go on, book yourself on the naughty bus! Gangster Tours UK
Make sure you call in to the County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7PB. One of the well known attractions, this is a uniquely thrilling attraction that will whisk you way back to the capital’s most perilous past. See, hear, feel and (ahem!) smell the chillingly amusing characters of the ‘bad old days’ as they come to life before you. Will you lose yourself in fear or in mirth? Whichever way, it’s not looking good for your underwear!
The Bow Street Police Museum tells the story of the early Bow Street Patrols and Runners, London’s first official law enforcement service, and the Metropolitan Police officers who followed in their footsteps through the streets of Covent Garden. The Museum, which is located on the site of the 1881 Bow Street Magistrates’ Court and Police Station, is rich with stories of investigations, arrests, and justice being served. From the earliest watchmen who used only a lantern and a staff to the modern Magistrates who preside over cases of international renown.
Another of the unusual London Attractions to go to follows the world famous consulting detective Sherlock Holmes who lived at 221b Baker Street between 1881-1904, according to the stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Mr Holmes shared his rooms with his loyal friend and colleague Dr Watson and the house is protected by the government due to its “special architectural and historical interest.” The 1st floor study overlooking Baker Street is faithfully maintained for posterity and just as it was kept by Mrs Hudson in Victorian Times!
Step back in time and visit The World’s Most Famous Address – 221B Baker Street. The home of the greatest Victorian sleuth, faithfully preserved as it would have been in the nineteenth century.
The story of Jack the RIpper has held a fascination for thousands of people, so while looking for things to do, It would well be worth looking at the Jack the Ripper museum. An attraction dedicated to the history of the Victorian East End in the 1880s, providing a serious examination of the crimes of Jack the Ripper.
This is definitely one of the more unusual London attractions that is worth a visit. EXPLORE THE PRISON THAT GAVE ITS NAME TO ALL OTHERS! The Clink Prison dates back to 1144 making it one of England’s oldest and most notorious prisons. Positioned in the heart of modern-day Southwark and built on the original site, The Clink Prison Museum presents the scandalous truth of Old Bankside through a hands-on educational experience. There are opportunities to view archaeological artefacts, experience the sights, sounds and smells of the prison, handle torture devices, and to view and hear all about the tales of torment and many misfortunes of the inmates of the infamous Clink Prison.
An attraction that is a must visit for history fans. With this experience you become part of the city’s gruesome, troublesome history and bad old times. Travel back in time with notorious English characters, uncovering the dark secrets that lie beneath the world’s most haunted bridge. You will see, hear and even smell what the Bridge was like throughout the ages. Or Descend into the bowels of hell at the haunted site of the London Tombs, crowned the UK’s Scariest Attraction Make your way past walls dripping in blood, squeeze through confined spaces and scream with terror as you are met with an array of unspeakable horrors in this unimaginable scare maze.
Serial Killers – Crimes Of Passion – Gangsters – Witchcraft, Take a walking tour on the dark side! You’ll be introduced to the sights, sounds, and incredible true-life stories that will educate and entertain. Serial Killers, Gangsters, Witchcraft, Terrorism, crimes of passion and much much more. From a lifelong resident of Camden, you will receive a personal and informed insight into the ‘Dark Side Of Camden’. This fascinating walking tour is available to BOOK NOW. Explore the tour packages, book your ticket, and then take a walk on the wild side!
Enjoy Your Day of Unusual London Attractions!
We hope you have found the above tours, museums and attractions etc useful for an unusual day out. If you think there are more relevant tours that should be on this page, please, visit our social media pages on X and Facebook and tell us your suggestions, alternatively you could email us using the link at the bottom of the page as we’d love to add more attractions and experiences to this page. London is a beautiful city, and if you’ve visited any of the places above and enjoyed your time there, please, again, visit our social media channels and leave your thoughts on these experiences.
Don’t forget, this is just a handful of things that you can do whilst touring the city, there are literally hundreds of things that you could do or pay a visit too.. if you plan the day correctly, you will definitely want to return for more!
One more thing, when you visit any of the above unusual London attractions, please mention that you found them via Londoncrime.. We don’t get any commissions/payments of any kind for advertising these places, but it would be nice to have a mention when you visit!
Finally, go back to the menu at the top of the screen for other great things on this site. We have true crime books, crime fiction, British gangster films and a history page (check out the A TO Z OF Londoncrime) plus other things too. This is a true labour of love so we’d love you to have a browse around the site (and please enjoy visiting the many unusual London attractions that we have introduced you to).