Big Ben boring you? Three Unusual Places to Visit in London – The Ditsy Explorer

It’s time for another guest post, but not just any guest post – The Ditsy Explorer a.k.a. Peta Bradwell is back! She’s brought together three of her more ‘off the beaten track’ London sights for those who have ‘been there, done that’ when it comes to the capital. But now, here’s Peta:

So, you’re in London. But… you’ve done all the usual stuff you see all over Instagram and the glossy travel magazines: Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye. Yawn, yawn whatever. You’re not here for that rubbish. You’re an adventure seeker and you’re looking for somewhere to go that’s a little more unusual.

I have been in this position for such a long time: from visiting my dad as a child, to living here now in my early adulthood for the last nine months. I am always creeping around looking for somewhere new to visit to feed my wanderlust without breaking the bank and without a mad train journey.

If you too are looking for a little bit of inspiration, look no further as here are my favourite three to get you started on your more unusual London adventure.

1. Saint Dunstan in the East Church and Garden, Monument/Bank

This little find actually blew me away. Not only because it is so stunning, but because I use to literally go past this area TWICE A DAY on my commute to the city of London where I worked earlier in the year.

London 1.JPG

Saint Dunstan in the East is a small church first built around 1100. It has a rich history, having been damaged and patched up again a number of times, including during the great fire of London in 1666, and remained working throughout. But, after being badly damaged in the Blitz in 1941, it was decided that the church was not to be rebuilt again.

In 1971, it was reopened to the public, but as a garden and it is this you can still visit today.

Located just around the corner from Monument and Bank tube stations, it really is a little hub of unusual peace and tranquillity in one of the busiest centres in the world, despite it’s loud history, and this is why I really believe it is a must see.

2. The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Bethnal Green

When thinking of three of the more unusual places I have visited in London, this was definitely the first place that I thought of.

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© thelasttuesdaysociety.org

The person who invented the phrase “weird and wonderful” definitely visited this little corner of east London. Forget any museums you’ve visited before; from Fiji Mermaids to Dodo bones, the museum has everything you never imagined so it’s an excellent escape from the normality of the day to day.

Ran by The Last Tuesday Society, the museum is also home to “The World’s Most Curious Cocktail Bar” to quench your thirst as well as expanding your mind. It’s always so busy though, so it’s definitely worth booking before hand.

You can find more information on their website here.

3. Abney Park Cemetery, Stoke Newington

Now my third pick is a little different. I was actually recommended Abney Park Cemetery as a “nice but unusual walk” by someone I worked with while talking about things to do in the city. It’s a little further out of the city than some people dare to venture, but since I frequently visited Stoke Newington to see my dad I though I might see what he was raving about and it was definitely worth it.

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© abneypark.org

Many have heard of the famous Highgate Cemetery, which (don’t get me wrong) I love, but this one is much quieter and so easier to explore in your own time.

At every turn there is something beautiful to see – particularly if you are a fan of the Gothic. As you walk the leafy paths, you are met with stunning statues and memorials nestled into the wood that simply take your breath away and at the heart of all this is the derelict Abney Park Chapel.

The chapel is the oldest surviving non-denominational chapel in Europe, dating back to the 1800s. Once standing as a stunning statement of Gothic architecture in the district, the chapel has since been subject to fire and vandalism and was boarded off in October 2012 by Hackney Council.

Despite this, the chapel is still a building to be admired and it can still easily be seen from the ground, even if you’re 5’2” like me (honest).

Where are your favourite more unusual places to visit in London?

Want to know more about my time in London?

My life in London: City skin  •  Building confidence in the EFL classroom  •   Eat yourself cosy in the UK capital  •   Mercato Metropolitano, Elephant and Castle


If you’d like to read (even) more from The Ditsy Explorer, visit her blog here, and also follow her on TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.

If you have an idea for a guest blog on Holme & Away, let me know! Head over to my Guest Bloggers page for more information.

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