London is an amazing city to live and thrive in. Whether you’ve lived there all your life, or are making your way as a newcomer, there’s a huge host of things to do. We take a look at some of the more unusual pursuits England's capital city has to offer, how to get there and visitor's top tips on making the most of them.
Zip World London
Zip World London is a 225-metre zip wire descent in central London open to anyone brave enough to take on the world’s biggest, fastest zip line. Thrill seekers first ascend to a 35-metre-high tower in Archbishop’s Park before throwing themselves into the 15-second long daredevil ride across the city’s skyscape. Promoters say you get an aerial view of many London landmarks including the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and the Shard. It's a fast an furious way to spend a day!
Visitors say it’s well-accessible as it’s within walking distance of Westminster and can be busy so definitely recommend booking. It’s worth noting that it’s reportedly a big climb up the platform but visitors appreciate the thrilling ride at 30 mph. Older children may appreciate it, but it’s not for those afraid of heights.
Address: Archbishop's Park Southbank, Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1 7JY
Public transport links: 12 mins by foot from Westminster Underground Station or 9 mins by foot from Waterloo Overground Station
The ArcelorMittal Orbit
The ArcelorMittal Orbit is the world’s longest and tallest tunnel slide and the UK’s highest free-fall abseil. It goes up 114.5m into the clouds with panoramic views of London’s famous skyline through floor to ceiling windows. The observation walkway takes you outside the structure and an awesome 80m above the ground.
You’ll see Big Ben, St Paul’s Cathedral and the O2 arena, as well as the former London 2012 Olympic venues which held the games the Orbit was built to celebrate.
The slide around the inside takes you on a 40-second journey that’s not for the faint-hearted. You’ll pass around and through the sculpture 12 times with thrilling drops and a tight corkscrew that will make your stomach drop.
Recent visitors mention that there is an interesting information section which explains the history and design of the structure and there are free lockers to store your valuables if you’re taking the Orbital slide. On that note, there’s also reassurance that you get a large padded mat and protective wear for your head and arms as you zip through the slide’s corkscrew. The covered spiral staircase around the outside of the structure is also popular – which is over 400 steps and allows you to walk down around the outside of the structure.
Address: Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, 5 Thornton Street, London E20 2AD
Hours: Monday to Friday, 11am to 5pm (with last entry half an hour before). Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 6pm (with last entry half an hour before).
Prices: General Entry tickets are £12.50 for adults. A combined ticket with the Orbit slide is £17.50.
Public transport links: 15 minutes by foot from Stratford Overground and Underground Station.
Alcotraz cocktail bar
This is London’s first prison cocktail bar and is an immersive experience in town for three months only. It’s based on the notorious San Francisco prison that once housed famous inmates such as Al Capone.
Snuggled into the East End of London, at the bright and colourful Brick Lane bar visitors will be able to sample the eerie atmosphere of mystery associated with prison life. Admission is £30 and the newly arrived inmates are given orange jumpsuits before being given personalised cocktails from a spirit they brought with them. Additional cocktails are available for an additional charge.
During the visit customers, now convicts, get an inmate number and a spot in a cell for the duration of their visit. Each session lasts just under two hours but you can stay for longer if you want to pay an extra fee (additional hours can be purchased for £10 per prisoner). Booking for all sessions is essential.
Address: 212 Brick Lane, E1 6RL
Hours: Open from September 28 until December 17 between 5pm and 11pm.
Price: Tickets cost £30
Public transport links: 5 minutes by foot from Aldgate East Underground Station or 9 minutes from Liverpool Street Overground Station
Urban axe throwing
The latest outdoor experience to catch people’s attention is urban axe throwing. This stress-relieving past time, inspired by the success of the sport in Canada, has caught on with young professionals looking for an opportunity to let off steam. As a result, companies like Whistle Punks now offer urban axe throwing classes in London.
During the one-and-a-half-hour session, instructors use a 14-inch axe to show you how to fling the weapon at a wooden target. You’ll soon get into the swing of things and techniques can be either one or two-handed. It sounds like a dangerous game to play but each lane is enclosed and there’s a strict set of rules. Of course, there’s no alcohol or open-toed shoes allowed.
Recent visitors rated the event saying the opportunity to learn to throw and then compete with friends was great fun. They also noted the quality of the facilities and guidance and instruction. It’s noted that you do need at least average fitness to be able to throw the weapons well. Sessions are about 90 minutes long.
Address: Arch 25, Handel Business Centre, 73 Bondway, SW8 1SQ
Prices and booking: £29 per person peak (Thursday to Saturday) or £22 per person off-peak (Tuesday/Wednesday/Sunday)
Public transport links: 4 minutes by foot from Vauxhall Overground station.
Thanks to London’s smart and frequent transport services all of these unique attractions are easily accessible. We hope you’ve enjoyed our round-up and realise that when you’re in London, your free time is only ever limited by your own imagination!