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Quirky London

Monday 29 January 2018

You might be shocked in London, but you'll never be bored – the capital is a city of surprises. Here some of the weirdest and most wonderful sights to see.

Experience ancient London in the London Mithraeum, a Roman temple excavated after World War II, where over 600 Roman artefacts including the earliest writing tablets were discovered by archaeologists. Built along one of London’s lost rivers, the Walbrook, it was earmarked for a new location, but has been returned to its original site and is now open to the public in Bloomberg's European headquarters.

Alternatively, transport yourself back to wartime London with a visit to Churchill's War Rooms, the underground bunker from where Winston Churchill coordinated the Allied forces during World War II, eventually leading them to victory.

And if you thought museums were boring, think again. London has the Natural History Museum, home to 80 million specimens from a 9,000-year-old human skeleton to a 4.5 billion-year-old meteorite, while the Museum of London tells the entire story of this great city from 450,000 BC to the present day. And for a slice of the darker side of Victorian life, the Jack the Ripper Museum has recreated scenes in the heart of Whitechapel during the reign of the still-unidentified serial killer.

You'll find all manner of animal oddities at the Grant Museum of Zoology where some 68,000 specimens cover the whole Animal Kingdom from the skeleton of a quagga - a long-extinct species of zebra – to the bones of a dodo and a jar of preserved moles.

There’s living, breathing wildlife too. While lush wetlands may be the last thing you expect to see in the suburbs of northwest London, that's what you'll find at Woodberry Wetlands. Originally the Stoke Newington East Reservoir, the wetlands have been reclaimed by wildlife, including waterbirds, newts, bats and butterflies.

Over in Highgate, you’ll find the final resting place of Karl Marx and George Michael (his grave is closed to the public) at Highgate Cemetery. Built in Victorian times, it’s famous for its grand memorials and elaborate style - you can explore the newer East Cemetery independently or take a guided tour of the original (more architecturally impressive) West Cemetery.

For something truly peculiar, head to House of Dreams, a delightfully odd collection of items found by artist Stephen Wright; his personal memories and scavenged curios, from dolls' heads and bottle tops to false teeth and wigs are all displayed in his East Dulwich home. In God’s Own Junkyard in Walthamstow, you’ll find an eye-assaulting collection of neon art, created and curated by late designer Chris Bracey, from salvaged neon signs, old movie props and retro film sets. Open to the public as a homage to his life's work, it’s free to visit, and you can buy, rent or simply ogle the glittering kaleidoscope before you.

Eating out needn't be a unadventerous affair in London. Grab a coffee at Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium in trendy east London, and you might be joined by a furry tablemate – this is where you can relax with the three C's: coffee, cake, and cats. If you prefer your food cold and crunchy, visit the Cereal Killer Café, where every meal is of the breakfast bowl variety from Coco Pops to Lucky Charms. And while we’d love to tell you about the Chambers of Flavour, we don’t have a clue.. What we DO know is you arrive at a secret location for an evening of gastro and theatrical treats…  So embrace the eccentric, and start exploring!

For more information contact:

VisitBritain Media Team

pressandpr@visitbritain.com

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House of Dreams interior
In God’s Own Junkyard
In God’s Own Junkyard
Blue Whale Skeleton at the Natural History Museum
Woodberry Wetlands panorama landscape
Woodberry Wetlands panorama landscape
Natural History Museum, London
Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium
House of Dreams interior