If you’re looking for experiences to try in London that involve the Tower of London, Harry Potter, or something else that’s quite obvious, this is not the article for you. A huge part of experiencing London like you live here (the Love and London motto) is experiencing things that Londoners love to do… things that give the city the buzz you will understand when you get here. These types of experiences are the ones you will remember the most, above a typical tour of Westminster Abbey or Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace.
Here are some of the city’s most unique experiences to try in London.
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Image Courtesy of Virgin Experiences
London Helicopter Tour
Experience London from a unique perspective by taking a helicopter tour. You’ll have the opportunity to witness the UK capital’s most iconic landmarks and take in the charming views of the English countryside. The tour typically lasts for approximately 45 minutes.
Because it’s a fairly exclusive experience, you usually want to try to book this about eight weeks in advance. This makes for a fab gift, especially for couple or a group of two. You can buy a voucher for on Virgin Experience Days.
Image Courtesy of Brush and Bubbles
Paint and drink with Brush and Bubbles
Two Londoner artists had an idea to combine learning to paint with Prosecco, and came up with their now-booming-business called Brush and Bubbles. Book onto a class and you’ll be guided step-by-step through painting a certain masterpiece, although you’re free to go totally rogue. My whale tail painting is sitting on my mantlepiece right now, looking more diva-cup-like than tail… but I’m still flipping proud of that thing!
All materials are provided and canvases are small enough to stick in your checked bag to bring home.
Image Courtesy of Virgin Experiences
Get a custom suit on Saville Row
Savile Row, located in Mayfair, is world-famous for being lined with some of the best suit tailors in the world. If you’re after something extra special from your trip, a semi-custom suit might be the right fit (lolz, get it). Jasper Littman, a Savile Row tailor with over 20 years experience, will be there through the process to help you choose the perfect fabrics, get the right fit, and more.
You’ll need to be available to go back for two fittings so this experience is best for men who plan to return to London a couple more times in the following few months.
Image Courtesy of Carousel
Experience a guest chef at Carousel
Carousel, located in Marylebone, is a creative space and restaurant that has a rotation of guest chefs from all around the world serving up dinner to the lucky few foodies who book in for the once-nightly seating. Tables are family-style, so it’s more like a dinner party than a restaurant. They’re able to accommodate for many food allergies if you let them know in advance, so don’t let that hold you back from this experience.
Image courtesy of Virgin Experiences
Make your own personalised rings at Posh Totty Designs
If you are travelling with someone special, you can spend an evening creating your own personalised rings guided by highly skilled jewellers. You’ll have the opportunity to create bespoke sterling silver rings and learn the art of wax carving techniques, which will then be cast into sterling silver and hand-stamped with your personalisation. This experience includes a Prosecco toast (or a soft drink if you don’t drink alcohol).
Image Courtesy of Rooftop Film Club
Watch a film on one of London’s rooftops
If you’re visiting London in the warmer months then you can book tickets to watch a film al fresco and on a rooftop while the sun sets in the background. You’ll be given headsets (to hear the film), popcorn, rain poncho (just in case) and a lounge chair to enjoy the classic film of choice that night.
Graffiti London walls with Graffik Gallery
Experience a graffiti class run by actual graffiti artists. You’ll create an A4 canvas (so it fits in your carry-on) focused on stencil art. However, if you are feeling a little wilder, you can free-hand spray their gallery garden walls. The sessions run for 2-hours with limited spaces.
Get professional photos taken to commemorate your trip
Most of us can relate to going on a fantastic trip somewhere, and then realizing once you get home that you have pretty much NO good photos of you and whoever you were traveling with.
To make sure you get some incredible photos of your trip that you’re actually in, and that looks beautiful (even if you’re not a natural in front of the camera), book in for a London Photo Session, where a professional photographer will take you around London’s sights, capturing beautiful candid and posed moments that you can appreciate for years to come when you get your edited photos back just a few days later.
Image Courtesy of Virgin Experiences
Indulge at a luxury spa
One of the most lovely experiences you can do in London, no matter the weather, is a luxurious spa treatment. The 5-star Sofitel London St James Hotel has one of the most special spas in the city, and they offer a special experience bundle that covers the works for an incredibly indulgent day. This includes a 25-minute personalised back massage and a 25-minute personalised facial for each, a two-course meal at the Wild Honey restaurant. What a treatttttt….
Image Courtesy of Walks
Witness an ancient British tradition without the crowds
See the ancient Ceremony of the Keys at the historic Tower of London without the hoards of tourists, a special way to experience one of the oldest enactments of its kind. This VIP Tower of London Tour allows you to experience the world’s oldest military ritual after hours, meaning you’ll get to avoid the usual crowds. Accompanied by an official Beefeater guard, a Yeoman Warder that lives within the premises, you’ll get an up-close, uncrowded view of this 700-year-old tradition, where they lock the doors to the tower for the night. Hear stories about the haunted legends that are said to call the tower their home and find out all about the legendary ravens kept in the castle. This tour offers a unique and intimate encounter with the Tower, exclusive to this company.
Image Courtesy of GoBoat
Take to the water in a self-drive boat
Waterways are the bloodline of London, and one of the best ways to explore them is by hiring a GoBoat. These self-drive boats offer an excellent way to explore the city, starting in Paddington and heading down Regent’s Canal or setting off from Canary Wharf and meandering through London Docklands. You don’t need any prior boating knowledge to set sail in a GoBoat; they’re super easy to drive. The best bit? You can bring your own picnic to enjoy en route.
Image Courtesy of Viator
Experience the magic of Harry Potter
Discover the magic of Harry Potter on this Tour for Muggles, where you’ll visit the movie locations scattered throughout the city on a potter-filled stroll. Join fellow muggles and learn all about the real-life inspirations behind enchanting sets like Diagon Alley, the Leaky Cauldron, and the Ministry of Magic. Led by an expert guide, delve into the world of Potter and gain behind-the-scenes knowledge of the intricate film-making process behind each work of art. Explore iconic sites like the historic Clink prison, The Golden Hinde, and Westminster Station, and stroll across the famed ‘Wobbly Bridge’ (Millennium Bridge). With limited group sizes, this intimate tour provides fascinating insights into London’s past and the magical realm of Harry Potter.
Image Courtesy of Rubens at the Palace
Indulge in classic afternoon tea at an iconic hotel
Few activities are more quintessentially British than traditional afternoon tea, a concept invented in 1840 by the seventh Duchess of Bedford, Anna. One of the top places to experience it is at The Rubens at The Palace, a beautiful, old hotel overlooking Buckingham Palace. Take a seat in the elegant palace lounge and enjoy a British spread of fresh pastries and cakes made by renowned pastry chef Sarah Houghting. Nibble dainty finger sandwiches and indulge in clotted cream-topped scones with jam. This afternoon tea has been voted one of the best in the city, with vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and halal iterations of the menu also available. Keep your eyes peeled for members of the Royal Family going about their business at The Royal Mews of Buckingham Palace opposite.
These aren’t the only unique experiences to try in London, but this list will get you off to a great start to experiencing once-in-a-lifetime moments on your trip that will make it a million times better.
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