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Updated by Joanna James on Feb 11, 2018
Headline for Top 5 list of unique things to do in London – there's always a quirky underside
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Joanna James Joanna James
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Top 5 list of unique things to do in London – there's always a quirky underside

London is a paradox, both eclectic and traditional, old and new, conservative and liberal. Unsurprising, therefore, is its wondrous assortment of eccentric, hidden attractions! Here are 5 must-sees.

1

The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art and Natural History

Situated on Mare Street is a real-world equivalent of the eerie locale the protagonist of almost every fictional tale eventually finds their way into. Complete with Fiji mermaids, dodo bones, ancient fossils, shrunken heads and tribal skulls and art, the museum is a treasure trove of the weird and wonderful. It also holds an extensive collection of artwork from artists like Austin Osman Spare and Leonora Carrington, while also hosting regular exhibitions of several more renowned artists like Alasdair Gray. This 'Wunderkammer' is run by the artist Viktor Wynd and is part of the Last Tuesday Society which is famous for hosting a number of surreal literary and artistic events at the venue. Amidst its oddities and peculiarities is also a recently established bar!

2

Mini London

The New London Architecture's model of London is a perfect replica of the grand city. See every major landmark, every small building and street corner between King's Cross in the north, the Royal Docks in the east, Battersea in the South and Paddington in the west, in miniature! The meticulously detailed model showcases not only the current buildings and landmarks but proposed ones as well. Of course, no miniature, no matter how good, can ever really replace the real thing, so if you're still looking to explore London and want a great place to stay, "The Old Smoke" (old term for the city) has plenty to offer! A Belgravia hotel, London, for instance, the likes of COMO The Halkin, London, is ideally located and in close proximity to both New London Architecture and many of the city's major attractions.

3

Sydenham Hill Wood

Surrounded by the towering buildings and busy streets of London is an enchanting, very Lord of the Rings-esque, woodland respite. The 9 hectares of woodland is the largest remaining stretch of the ancient Great North Wood – an expansive natural oak forest that is thought to have once covered an area of over 830 hectares. The wood is home to over 200 different species of trees and plants along with several species of birds and woodland mammals! Adding to its fantastical charm are the ruins of an olden railway track and tunnel, overrun by nature, and a crumbling Victorian folly.

4

Chislehurst Caves

Dwell deep into British history, 30m deep in fact, through man-made caves. Located in Chislehurst, are the Chislehurst Caves carved by Druids, Saxons and Romans. The underground labyrinth has been used throughout British history all the way to modern times as WWI ammunition dumps, a mushroom farm, a WWII bomb shelter and, more recently, as an underground venue for concerts; it has hosted the likes of Led Zeppelin, David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix. It's also the location where most of the underground cave scenes in the BBC TV drama 'Merlin' were filmed! 45-minute long, lamp-lit tours are offered that guide visitors through the haunting tunnels of chalk to see fascinating features like the Cave Church, the Druid's Altar and the Haunted Pool.

5

Terrace Catacombs

Although visiting a cemetery when exploring London might not sound all too appealing, the Highgate Cemetery is definitely an exception! The large and ancient graveyard, first established in 1839, is the final resting place of more than one significant historical figure, such as the architect Sir Lawrence Weaver, the Poet Christina Rossetti, the novelist George Eliot and the revered philosopher Karl Marx! The west wing of the cemetery, where you'll discover many a famous name etched in stone, is free for all, but the east wing can only be accessed via guided tours where one can learn about the cemetery's rich history and beautiful architecture.

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    A travel writer who has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.

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