London is packed full of the most amazing activities and events for families – from world-class museums, famous landmarks to city farms and spell-binding attractions. But what if you’re after something a little out of the ordinary, perhaps something unusual and lesser-known? With this round-up of 10 Unusual Days Out in London, you’ll never be stuck for something to do again…
Spotting Street Art
There are so many things to do in London with kids and sometimes the best thing is just exploring on foot. You don’t have to wander too far in the capital before you see colourful street art – and the best thing is they’re always quite close to famous landmarks, too, so you can combine lots of different attractions in one day. Our favourite locations for finding street art include around the South Bank which is always a vibrant and buzzy area to visit with kids. Head under the underpass by the London Eye and you’ll find tons of wall art particularly around the Skate Park. Head east and you’ll be amazed by those around Old Street and Hackney Road. Meanwhile, you’ll find some other pieces along Chalk Farm Road in Camden.
Looking for unusual days out in London, rather than your run-of-the-mill theme park? Kidzania, which is based in Westfields London, allows kids to really shine and interact in with the world around them. Four to 14-year-olds have the opportunity to explore and immerse themselves in a role-playing and interactive learning experience in a proper mini-city. From learning to be a paramedic and captain of a real British Airways A319 plane, to making chocolate and working at a newspaper – there is ample fun to be had and the chance to win Kidszos – special money which can be exchanged for a gift.
KidZania London; Westfield London, Ariel Way, W12 7GA; Adults £16.50; Kids 4-14 £28.00, Ages 1-3 £10.00
The Sherlock Holmes Museum
For budding detectives out there who love Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous sleuth, The Sherlock Holmes Museum is a must. Make your way to one of London’s most famous addresses – 221b Baker Street and actually step into the first-floor study which he shared with his loyal partner Mr Watson, which has been faithfully maintained for posterity and just as it was kept by Mrs Hudson back in the Victorian times. The museum itself has an exhibition featuring life-size waxworks from Sherlock Holmes’ most famous adventures. Then take the underground to Piccadilly Circus where you’ll find The Sherlock Holmes Pub for some lunch – and see some more of the detective’s memorabilia.
The Sherlock Holmes Museum 221B Baker Street, London, NW1 6XE; Adults £15; Kids £10
Crystal Palace Dinosaurs
Thankfully, a trip to Crystal Palace Dinosaurs won’t put you in mortal danger, however, the kids are going to love the full-size dinos which lurk behind the trees in one of south London’s popular outdoor spaces. Some of them are on islands in the middle of the park, while others swim in the lake. There are 30 of them to discover! The models were built by the Victorians and you can find out more about them at the Crystal Palace Museum also located in the park, as well as a maze and a small kids’ farm where you can pet Shetland ponies.
Crystal Palace Dinosaurs 13 Orchard Grove, London SE20 8DN; Free admission
Deptford Creek Low Tide Walk
The Creekside Discovery Centre hosts a wonderful array of different activities including low tide walks on Deptford Creek, educational sessions on the local wildlife and even travel back in time in a special event which sees challenges from different periods in Deptford’s history. Can you build a fire like our stone age ancestors, bake bread from Pudding Lane in 1666, sculpt a Roman pot and work in a Victorian factory? Meanwhile, the walk itself gives participants the chance to wade in the River and learn about urban life.
Creekside Discovery Centre 14 Creekside, Deptford, SE8 4SA; For the walk; Adults £10; Kids £8
Cereal Killer Café
Unusual days out in London doesn’t come stranger than this. Cereal lovers can come here for breakfast, lunch and dinner and chow down on bowls of sugary cornflakes. Wanting something a little more savoury? The Brick Lane cafe also sells other cereal-inspired dishes including cornflake chicken and crispy fries coated in Bran Flakes. The Café is bright and colourful and decorated like a 1990s bedroom, with retro single bed seating, and classic Nickelodeon toons playing on vintage TVs. The walls are littered with 90’s cereal toys and memorabilia, with vintage cereal boxes on displays and is a mini-museum of all things cereal.
Cereal Killer Café 192a Brick Lane, London, E1 6SA
The Grant Museum of Zoology
The Grant Museum of Zoology is a powerhouse of different exhibits and artefacts – it contains a whopping 68,000 zoological specimens. Why does this make it into the ultimate Unusual Days Out in London guide – well, some of the displays are rather gruesome and kids with a morbid fascination will be thrilled! From stuffed animals to huge skeletons and jars filled with of tiny animals, to even dissected heads, there is much to learn about the intricacies of the animal kingdom. Events at the museum include gibbon creative writing and zoology workshops.
The Grant Museum of Zoology Rockefeller Building, UCL, 21 University St, London
WC1E 6DE; Free admission
So not technically in London – more on the outskirts in Kent. However, if you explore the hidden depths of Chislehurst Caves, you’re actually venturing into London beneath the surface. An elaborate maze of manmade tunnels that stretch for 20 miles originally dug out for their chalk, but then used to protect 15,000 people during the Second World War. In more recent years, the caves have been a venue for many high profile gigs – the likes of David Bowie and Pink Floyd have performed underground. The candlelit tours offer an interesting insight into the Saxon, Druid and Roman times, but with newer passageways opened up, the caves now provide a passage through time right up to the present day.
Chislehurst Caves Caveside Cl, Chislehurst BR7 5NL; Adults £6; Kids £4
Fancy flying through the air and learning how to swing on a trapeze? Running from April through to September, the Gorilla Circus Trapeze School which is located in Regent’s Park and Kensington Gardens is open to kids as young as eight. As part of a small group, the instructors lead budding circus stars through a series of exercises before a simple trick on a low bar. They then attempt the trick on the Flying Trapeze and towards the end of the class get caught by an instructor on a separate swinging bar. Are you game?
Gorilla Circus Flying Trapeze School Outer Circle, Regents Park, London NW1 4RT and South West corner of Kensington Gardens, on the East Albert Lawn next to The Albert Memorial; £30 for a two-hour lesson
Battle of Britain Bunker – RAF Uxbridge
The Battle of Britain Buker at RAF Uxbridge is a fascinating place to take kids who are learning about the war at school. As you venture 18m below ground down 76 steps, you’ll discover tons of original and untouched army equipment and paraphernalia such as squadron display boards, balloon and weather states, and is exactly how it was when Winston Churchill visited on 15 September 1940. The Visitor Centre houses several aircraft and planes, and visitors will learn the key moments of history that shaped Britain’s air defence and led to the construction of the bunker. They can also listen to first-hand accounts from people that worked in the bunker during its finest hour in 1940.
RAF Uxbridge 11 Group Operations Room, Wren Avenue, Uxbridge UB10 0FD; Adults: £7
Are there any unusual days out in London you’d add to this list?
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