I’ve lived on the outskirts of London pretty much all my life. For those familiar with the London tube system, I live right in zone 6, but I commute almost daily into central London, having worked in the City, Shoreditch, Westminster and Waterloo. I love London in all its busy, furious, grubby glory. It isn’t the prettiest of places and probably isn’t in my top 5 European cities I’ve visited, but I live here and it’s all mine.

Although I’ve done a fair few of the major tourist attractions in London over the years, there is a quirky underbelly of things to do in London that I haven’t managed to tick off the list. I’ve explored disused tube stations and visited some of London’s odder museums but these five things? They are right at the top of my London bucket list.

1. Climb Big Ben

Did you know you can climb Big Ben? No, I didn’t either but now I do I totally want to do it. The tower is actually known as the Elizabeth Tower and the bell is what is known as Big Ben, but everyone, both tourist and local alike refers to the whole thing as Big Ben as shorthand for the very talk clock that stands proud at Westminster Bridge. I actually walk past Big Ben every day to get to work, and I’ve already visited the Houses of Parliament several times for work and for an organised tour, but climbing up the tower and seeing what is up there has so far eluded me.

London Bucket List

Unfortunately, its going to elude me for a little while longer, as when I finally thought I’d take the plunge and book a tour, I found out they were suspended until 2020 while restoration work takes place. Bummer. But its definitely something to put on my bucket list for three years time!

2. Visit Dennis Severs House

I worked across from this place for so many years without even realising what was behind the door, but now I know I am determined to visit. Tucked away in Folegate Street next to Old Spitalfields Market this house serves as a historical re-enactment of what life would have been like inside for a family of Huguenot silk weavers from the early 1700s up to the 20th Century.

London Bucket List

The house takes you through their lives and their fortunes (and misfortunes) as you go from room to room, with each feature meticulously created to replicate 18th Century life. It’s like a still portrait come to life, a history lesson and people watching at its finest, all rolled into one. It’s also a total oddball thing to go and visit. The entire tour is conducted in silence.

Cost: £15pp, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday evening. You can also book on Sundays during the day for the cheaper price of £10pp.

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3. Drink cocktails in a London loo

So here’s the question. Why would you want to go to a swanky bar in central London when you instead could enjoy a drink or two in a disused public toilet? The answer is clear – you wouldn’t, you’d always want to pick the public toilet, which is why doing this is firmly on my London bucket list.

London Bucket List

There are a few about, but I’m most keen to visit Ladies + Gentleman in Kentish Town which has transformed a rubbish strewn bog into a totally hip cocktail den, complete with a gin club.

If you like this, see also London Loo Tours which is also on my hit list!

4. Walk along Battersea Flower Station

I’m not hugely familiar with this part of town, but in a moment (read: day) where I fell down an internet rabbit hole, I stumbled across the Battersea Flower Station which made me immediately want to visit. It’s actually a garden centre based in a long outdoor corridor which was shut off to the public for 30 years. They’ve transformed into into a floral oasis where you can wander, buy plants and local products such as jam and art and basically switch off from London life.

London Bucket List

5. Explore Brixton’s windmill

I had no idea there was a windmill in Brixton, but now I know I definitely want to visit. I loved seeing windmills on my Norfolk Broads adventure last year, and the fact there is one right in the heart of London is extremely convenient and also, very quirky.

Brixton Windmill is open to the public for guided tours from March to October, usually on the second weekend of every month, but they tour groups are extremely small and get really booked up, so I’d definitely advise booking ahead.

Cost: Completely free!

London | City Break Guide | UK Travel | Travel Tips

London | City Break Guide | UK Travel | Travel Tips
London | City Break Guide | UK Travel | Travel Tips

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  • I had no idea you can climb Big Ben! x
    Sophie Cliff

    • I know! Gutted I have to wait until 2020 to do it now! xx

  • Sona Sethi

    I didnt know you could climb Big Ben and that walk the flower station is really beautiful!

    • I know it is such a surprise, but sadly I don’t get to climb it now until it reopens in 2020! Thanks for commenting 🙂

  • Lovely list! Did not know you could climb Big Ben. Once a year during Open House, they do allow visitors to enter buildings usually not open to public like 10 Downing Street. You should check the listing out for 2017 if you haven’t already.

    • I do love Open House and have actually been in 10 Downing Street for work – very lucky indeed! Thanks for commenting 🙂

  • Gokul Raj

    Is it possible to climb Big Ben? Then there is nothing else I want to do here.

  • Punita Malhotra

    I really like the stage when you have visited a city a few times and you start delving into the unusual and offbeat.

    • Absolutely – and as I live here I feel like I really need to make the most of all it offers. Thanks for commenting 🙂

  • Amanda O’Brien

    great post! Love seeing dennis sever’s house – one of my favourites and never covered. i will have to go to battersea flower station

    • I really do want to visit Dennis Severs House – I’m glad you reccommend it! Thanks for commenting 🙂

  • Anamika Ojha

    I didn’t know that we can climb Big Ben! Last weekend, I watched a documentary on Netflix about it and it was quite intriguing!

    • Ooooh didn’t realise there was something on Netflix – I’ll have to watch! Thanks for commenting 🙂

  • I wish I had known that I could climb the big Ben. I sure would have loved the view of the whole city from there. I also, would love to take a tour of the Dennis Sever’s house. It sounds quite interesting and intriguing

    • There is so much quirky stuff to do in London – I hope you get the chance to do these things! Thanks for commenting 🙂

  • That’s such a good idea! I think I’ll do that. Thanks for commenting 🙂

  • Ooooh Richmond has a Windmill? *quickly adds to my list!*. Thanks for commenting 🙂

  • Pingback: Bucket List London - Visit Battersea Flower Station! - Battersea Flower Station()

  • Zineb Saffron

    I went to London but wasn’t able to do any of the activities listed next time though I definitely will.

    Love always,


    • I hope you get to visit again soon! Thanks for commenting 🙂

  • christopher mitchell

    I thought I’d done a good job of exploring London, but evidently not! I’ve added a few things to the bucket-list!

  • Alexi R

    I never went to london before but I really dying and wanting to visit it the problem is a visa for me, but anyways thank you for your guide It’ll be very useful if ever I’ll be in london someday

  • I also didn’t know you could climb Big Ben – that’s in my to-do list for next time I’m in London!

  • Monika Fülöp

    I didn’t know you can climb Big Ben!! :-O I’ve been travelling to London on regular basis in the past six or seven years (before my sis left UK for Australia) and Big Ben has always been my favorite thing… but had no idea you could climb it.. Well, that calls for a return I guess! 😉