Beyond London’s famous attractions, you can find a range of unique and obscure sites you might’ve never heard about. From centuries-old prisons and cemeteries to masterpieces of little-known street art, London offers a range of alternative experiences. 

    If you've already seen London's well-known landmarks and want to see what else the city has to offer, read on to find great things to do in London off the beaten track.

    1

    God's Own Junkyard

    Explore a maze of neon signs

    God's Own Junkyard is a kaleidoscopic maze of neon signs and artwork on the northeast fringe of London. Housed in an old industrial estate in a recently gentrified neighbourhood, it's home to thousands of signs, props and figures on display, which are used for everything from a viewing gallery to a prop house for movies and photoshoots. 

    You can see everything from kitschy neon religious images with risqué signs for vice dens to cocktail, karaoke, pinball, casino, and disco signs. The gallery has a cafe for snacks, coffee and cocktails, so you can turn your visit into a social event.

    Location: Unit 12, Ravenswood Industrial Estate, Shernhall St, Walthamstow, London E17 9HQ, UK

    Open: Friday–Saturday from 11 am to 9 pm, Sunday from 11 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)20 8521 8066

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    2

    Thames

    See the city by kayak

    Kayaking on the Thames is perfect if you want a mix of off-beat experiences and London's popular landmarks. You can book a guided kayak tour to travel along the Thames and see the most impressive London landmarks from a new perspective. 

    There are several companies that offer kayak tours for different interests, such as family kayak tours, bespoke trips, tours of iconic London sights, evening tours and more. Best of all, kayak tours don't require any previous experience or skills, so anyone can enjoy a trip along London's riverside. If you prefer to plan your own kayaking trip, you could rent kayaks and take to the river yourself.

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    3

    Find hidden street art

    Uncover a vibrant art scene around London

    London has one of the most vibrant street art scenes in all the world. Just walking around the city, you could stumble upon pieces from hidden artists. The scene is always changing, but there are some places known for a concentration of beautiful and poignant artwork, such as the Leake Street Tunnel beneath Waterloo Station, which was made famous by Banksy. It's one of the few legal street art locations in the city, so you could visit every day and see something new. 

    Shoreditch is another top spot for street art, especially the Shoreditch Art Wall. You can see plenty of graffiti on the streets as well, such as Holywell Lane and Leonard Street. If you want to see Banksy's work, you can find most of it on Rivington Street.

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    4

    Hoxton Street Monster Supplies

    Get spooked with curiosities and oddities

    Hoxton Street Monster Supplies is a fun and quirky shop with monsters and creatures of the night. Nestled among shops on a normal-looking London street, it claims to be the 'world's only purveyor of quality goods for monsters of every kind'. The spooky shop stocks items like 'Fang Floss', 'Vilest Bile' and 'Thickest Human Snot' as gags. 

    There are also whimsical signs warning patrons not to 'devour the employees' and other such rules. Behind all this Halloween fun is a positive purpose, however. Author Nick Hornby created the shop to provide workshops and classes to emerging children and adult writers and stimulate creative writing in the community.

    Location: 156 Hoxton Street, London N1 6PJ, United Kingdom

    Open: Thursday–Saturday from 1 pm to 5 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)20 7729 4159

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    5

    Eel Pie Island

    Explore creative heritage on an island

    Eel Pie Island, once known as Twickenham Ait, is the largest island on the Thames in London. It's rumoured to have been used as the site of a monastery and a courting ground for Henry VIII before becoming a day-trip location for fishing and picnicking. 

    It was also known for locally caught eel pies, which were served at the White Cross public house, and the Eel Pie Island Hotel, which hosted the Rolling Stones, The Who, Genesis, and other music greats in the early stages of their careers in the 1960s. Now, the island is home to artists' studios that host open-house events to buy or commission work.

    Location: Twickenham, UK

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    6

    Grant Museum of Zoology

    See fascinating zoological specimens

    Grant Museum of Zoology is the only museum of its kind in the city. It's one of London's most interesting museums, with a collection that includes over 67,000 preserved specimens of natural history and extinct animals, such as the skeleton of a dodo and the skeleton and skin of the Tasmanian tiger. 

    There are also educational pieces, such as bisected animal heads, animal foetuses and preserved skeletons and skulls of extant creatures, as well as specimens from famous scientists' collections. The museum is home to the Micrarium, which houses a collection of lantern and microscope slides of microorganisms in dark caverns.

    Location: Rockefeller Building, University College London, 21 University St., London WC1E 6DE, UK

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 1 pm to 5 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)20 3108 9000

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    7

    The Attendant

    Sip coffee in a Victorian toilet

    The Attendant is a coffee shop housed within a disused Victorian gentleman's lavatory. Even so, it's one of the hottest places in London's underground scene. Surely a unique experience, you can visit The Attendant to sip coffee among urinals and ornate cisterns beneath the activity of Fitzrovia. 

    Throughout the space, you'll see unique artwork illuminated by dangling Edison lights and practical lavatory hardware repurposed into conversational piece decor. Despite the unusual setting, The Attendant serves some of the best coffee in town, as well as an extensive menu of fresh, produce-driven food that's sustainable and ethically sourced.

    Location: 27A Foley St., Fitzrovia, London W1W 6DY, UK

    Open: Monday–Friday from 8 am to 5 pm, Saturday–Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)20 7637 3794

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    8

    Highgate Cemetery

    Wander through a mysterious graveyard

    Highgate Cemetery, opened in 1839, is one of London's spookiest and most fascinating cemeteries. The design features Victorian Gothic and Egyptian influences for graves that hold some of history's greatest people, including Karl Marx, Adam Worth, and Douglas James. 

    Following World War II, the cemetery fell into a state of disrepair, giving it a spooky ambience that inspired legends of grave robbery and vampire activity. You can visit the East Highgate section of the cemetery on your own for an entrance fee, but you'll need to book a guided tour to explore the entire cemetery.

    Location: Swain's Ln, Highgate, London N6 6PJ, UK

    Open: Daily at 10 am (closing times vary by season)

    Phone: +44 (0)20 8340 1834

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    9

    Clink Prison Museum

    Spot ghosts at the oldest prison in England

    Clink Prison operated from 1144 to 1780 and is one of the oldest prisons in England. It's one of the most fascinating museums you can see in London. Over the years, the prison held a multitude of inmates that included heretic, debtors, harlots, drunkards, and other ne'er-do-wells. 

    The museum was constructed over the site of the original prison and boasts a creepy and extensive collection of prison relics, including prisoner artefacts, torture devices, photographs, and realistic figures painted to look like prisoners and jailers. You can tour the museum by yourself or book a guided tour that includes tales told by costumed guides.

    Location: 1 Clink St., London SE1 9DG, UK

    Open: July–September: Monday–Friday from 10 am to 7.30 pm, Saturday–Sunday from 10 am to 9 pm. October–June: Monday–Friday from 10 am to 6 pm, Saturday–Sunday from 10 am to 7.30 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)20 7403 0900

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    10

    House of Dreams

    Discover a personal collection of artwork

    The House of Dreams Museum is more than an art gallery or museum, with a collection of artists' passions and labours. Beginning in 1998, the late Donald Jones and Stephen Wright opened the House of Dreams Museum, an art gallery within their home. 

    Throughout the museum, you can see mosaics constructed of handwritten memory boards, sculptures, dolls, false teeth, wigs, retro toys, combs, old letters and photographs collected from flea markets across European cities, creating unique and evocative works. Every inch of the ceiling, walls, floors, gardens and exterior of the home's ground floor is one massive art piece.

    Location: 45 Melbourne Grove, East Dulwich, London SE22 8RG, UK

    Open: Daily at 10 am (closing times vary by season

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