London can be praised for any number of things, and often is. It has an unparalleled pub and dining scene; its theatres are the envy of the world; there are historical sites, world-class sporting venues, and beautiful public gathering places; and lest we forget, it can also be a beautiful city to simply immerse oneself in.
All of these things make London noteworthy and are among the reasons it’s consistently among the world’s most visited cities. But what ultimately makes London special is the collection of wholly unique attractions and activities it has.
More than perhaps any other major world city save New York, London is full to the brim with charming, one-of-a-kind weirdness (which we say in the most positive way and is quintessentially British). There are things to do that you just won’t find in other places, or which are at least distinctly different in London.
To celebrate this side of the city, and to provide some ideas for anyone who may be planning a visit or for those of us who live here but want something different, we’re taking a look at a few unique things to do during a night out in London.
Sleep at London Zoo
Believe it or not, this one is exactly what it sounds like. You can spend a night at the zoo in London, making yourself comfortable in a sort of mock safari lodge near the lion enclosure. According to National Geographic, the total experience consists of after-hours animal viewing (during what happens to be some of their most active periods), drinks and dining at the Terrace Restaurant, and walks along charmingly lit trails within the facility. While it’s geared more toward family time than a night out with friends, it works either way and certainly makes for a unique experience.
Visit a Bingo Cathedral – Buzz Bingo Tooting
In a lot of big cities around the world, bingo isn’t even considered as an activity. But in London, and really a number of cities around the UK, it’s something entirely different. In fact, according to a Foxy Bingo’s ‘History of Bingo’ write-up on the game’s storied past, the UK is estimated to have some 100m bingo players — some online, but plenty in person. Accordingly, there are actually some very fun bingo venues to enjoy during a night out. And the best of the bunch is Buzz Bingo Tooting, which boasts an ornate, cathedral-style interior and provides a vibrant gaming experience unlike any you’ll ever have had.
Check Out a Shaka Zulu – London’s Largest South African Restaurant & Club
As you might expect, London has its fair share of fun and interesting nightclubs. But even among them, you’d be hard-pressed to find an experience as unique as the one you can enjoy at Shaka Zulu. This sprawling Camden Town venue is actually a massive South African restaurant filled with traditional décor, and even massive statues of ancient warriors. And while there is a focus on food, the club within the venue offers a great time and a fun-loving crowd.
Time Travel Through a Pub
Okay, you can’t literally time travel during your night out in London. But as you may have noticed in our write-up on the oldest pubs in the city, London is home to some truly ancient watering holes. Plenty of cities are proud of their older bars and restaurants, but the simple fact is that few can match the age of the London establishments. Stopping at a place like The Mayflower or Ye Olde Mitre, you can have the unforgettable experience of enjoying a pint where people have been doing the same since the 1500s.
Take a Ghost Tour
There can be something a little spooky about London as well — in more of an intriguing sense than an actually frightening one. Accordingly, the city has actually become fairly well known for its various spook-inspired nighttime tours. The Ghost Bus Tours are perhaps the most famous options, and are somewhat more lighthearted — described by What’s Good Or Not as offering a “brilliant and hilarious evening of fun” as you cruise through the city on a double-decker bus with a humour guide to haunted London. If you’re in for more of a scare though, there are some creepier city spook tours also, including one revolving around the dastardly legends of Jack the Ripper.
This list could go on further, but hopefully, these examples make it clear: London is a city full of unique activities. They are largely responsible for the fact that a night out in this city can be unlike a night out in any other.