London is one of the leading destinations in Europe and the world and a lot of people visited the city and ended up doing exactly what everybody else did before. Since our idea with Fotostrasse was always to bring cool people to fantastic places, we decided to come up with this list of unusual things to do in London.
Also, this list of unusual things to do in London is populated with places to visit for free or almost for free. London can be a pretty expensive city so we wanted to show you that you can still have fun and entertain yourself without spending too much.
Enough with this introduction, let’s start with five unusual things to do in London
Our list of unusual things to do in London
- Looking for the first Public Drinking Fountain in London
- Britain’s smallest police station
- The Only Statue of Lenin in London
- A visit to Joseph Grimaldi Park
- London Canal Museum and it’s Ice Well
The Only Statue of Lenin in London
Not many people know London almost had a housing project named after Lenin. It was supposed to be called Lenin Court and was a product of the 1940s. When it was completed in 1954, the political scenario was different, and the Cold War made this project something impossible.
But the statue of Lenin that was part of a memorial built in a square nearby can still be found in London. Since 1996, the Lenin statue can be seen inside the Islington Museum, a small local museum focused on telling the history of this part of London.
The Islington Museum is free for all, and its main focal point is this Lenin statue.
Looking for the first Public Drinking Fountain in London
It’s hard to think about how complicated was to have access to clean drinking water in the 19th century. Freshwater wasn’t available to the masses until 1859 when the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association was established in London. They are responsible for something that nobody had done before: the First Public Drinking Fountain in the world, and you can still visit it today.
The first public drinking fountain in London is a unique place to visit, and most people that watched us take a picture of it were probably wondering about why were we taking pictures of it. There are cups attached to chains, and no water comes out of it anymore. At least we didn’t see any when we visited the fountain back in February 2017.
Looking for Britain’s smallest police station
Most people at Trafalgar Square don’t even know what is on the corner. But it wasn’t always like that. Back in 1926, Britain’s smallest police station was built so the Metropolitan Police could keep an eye on everything that was happening around. This police station was designed to be somewhat hidden to avoid attracting any unintended attention. There is even an ornamental light fitting on the top.
The smallest police station in Great Britain looks small from outside, but it could accommodate up to two prisoners at a time. But, today, this little building is no longer used by the police, so you won’t be able to find any trace of what it used to be. Right now, it’s used by the Westminster Council cleaners as broom storage but, when we were there, we couldn’t see anything inside. It’s still definitely worth visiting, though, and you can even stay close by if you book one of London’s short stay rentals.
A visit to Joseph Grimaldi Park
Joseph Grimaldi Park is a small park close to King’s Cross that capture our eye the first time we walked by due to the presence of gravestones next to a basketball court. This weird site made us enter the park, trying to find a reason for this unique decoration.
After some research, we found out that Joseph Grimaldi Park used to be the former burial grounds for St James’s Episcopal Chapel. The park used to be a cemetery and, today, there is a weird combination of life and death that everyone can see while they play basketball or just sit down to have lunch in this green area in Islington.
While we walked around the park, we found an enclosed grave that had a name that sounded familiar, but we didn’t know what it was. Joseph Grimaldi used to be the most popular English entertainer of the Regency era. He was an actor, a comedian, and a dancer but he was more than all these things. Joseph Grimaldi is the person that most people consider to be the responsible for creating the clown that we know nowadays.
London Canal Museum and its Ice Well
The London Canal Museum tells the rich story of the UK waterways, the people who lived and worked around the waterways, the horses that helped pull the boats and everything else related to it. The museum was opened in 1992 in an old building close to King’s Cross that has a unique story.
The building was a central part of Carlo Gatti ice cream empire of the 1860’s in London. It was there that he used to store the ice he imported from Norway. The ice was stored in two huge ice wells that are still located inside the building. One of them has even a web controlled camera inside it!
If you are looking for some unusual things to do in London, this museum needs to be on your list! And if you want more cool exhibitions, try the Turner Prize at Tate.
Besides these five places that are outside of the main tourist books about London, we have some other tips for you. The first one is the amazing burgers at MeatLiquor King’s Cross so you don’t starve in the British capital. Close to it, you can find one of the oldest sites of Christian worship in England: St Pancras Old Church.
Five Unusual things to do in London
If you are interested in street art, you should try to visit the insane looking Leake Street Tunnel. There is a Texas Embassy Memorial Plaque for those interested in North American history and the tomb of Karl Marx in the High Gate Cemetery. All of them are a bit unusual but perfect for those who have seen London more than once.
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