Europe, Travel, UK

7 Unusual Ways To See London

Whether you're combining iconic London sights with traditional British activities or getting a fresh perspective, here are 7 unusual ways to see London. The Full-Time Tourist, 2017 ©

London is a city on the top of everyone’s bucket list. Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, London Eye- the list of iconic sights goes on and on. Although there’s nothing wrong with hopping the tube and popping up to take photos of the city, why not make it more interesting? (After all, your friends and family back home will have 101 questions for you about your trip when you get back!)

With unusual combinations of iconic London sights and traditional British activities, spice up your London experience with a fresh perspective, here are…

 7 Unusual Ways To See London

Whether you're combining iconic London sights with traditional British activities or getting a fresh perspective, here are 7 unusual ways to see London. The Full-Time Tourist, 2017 ©

Photo courtesy of Stephen Percival via FLICKR. All rights reserved.

Try a Pedal Bus

Book With: Pedibus

Hours: 11 am – 8 pm daily

Address: Monday-Friday & Sunday: The Anchor, 34 Park ST. SE1 9EF
Saturday: The Hung Drawn and Quartered, Great Tower St, EC3r 5AQ

Nearest tube stop: London Bridge (Monday-Friday & Sunday); Tower Hill / Monument (Saturday)

Approximate length: 65-75 minutes

Fee: £25 per person

Taking a Pedibus across Tower Bridge was possibly one of my favourite ways to see London. It was the last day of my internship, the last day at the bureau for one of my co-workers and another co-worker’s birthday. Needless to say, it was an unforgettable experience.

We crossed the Thames into South London and hopped on one of the reserved pedal busses. Each pedal bus has 8 seats for pedalling, but can hold up to 12 people. Beyonce and Jay-Z blasting and a can of cider in front of me, we were off! The pedalling itself isn’t too strenuous- the main difficulty came from the slight incline leading to Tower Bridge. At the top of the hill, our guide had us stop at a local pub where we had 15 minutes to grab a pint and use the rest rooms. Then we were off again, pedalling toward Tower Bridge.

The music, drinks, company and encouraging cheers from Londoners on the street made it an incredibly fun way to see the city! And if you’re not too fussed about pedalling over Tower Bridge, they also have routes through Shoreditch, the Borough Market and to the iconic St. Paul’s Cathedral. So grab a couple of mates (or people you just met at the hostel), and give it a go!

To book a Pedibus for your group, click here

Whether you're combining iconic London sights with traditional British activities or getting a fresh perspective, here are 7 unusual ways to see London. The Full-Time Tourist, 2017 ©

Sing-A-Long in the Singing Cab

Book With: The Singing Cabbie

Pick-up/drop off: Within Central London

Hours: TBD

Length: Starting at 20 minutes

Fee: Starting at £99

The Singing Cabbie is definitely one of the most expensive ways to see London- but it’s one of the most memorable. Aiden Kent has been a taxi driver for over 20 years. He’s also a professional singer and cabaret performer. Naturally, his business as ‘The Singing Cabbie’ combines his two passions and makes for one incredible cab ride!

Arriving in a tuxedo and his iconic black cab, Aiden doesn’t skimp on the lavish experience. With red Italian leather seats and a bottle of champagne ready, Aiden will sing songs from a bygone era as he brings you to your destination. Imagine driving around Buckingham Palace toward Westminster Abbey to a sultry rendition of Fly Me To The Moon by Frank Sinatra. It’s truly an unforgettable experience.

The Singing Cabbie is perfect for birthday surprises, anniversaries or even a ‘treat yourself’ moment on your London adventures.

To book with The Singing Cabbie, click here

Whether you're combining iconic London sights with traditional British activities or getting a fresh perspective, here are 7 unusual ways to see London. The Full-Time Tourist, 2017 ©

Photo courtesy of Côte d’Azur via FLICKR. All rights reserved.

High Tea Bus Around The City

Book With: Afternoon Tea Bus Tour

Hours: 12:30 & 15:00 daily (Northumberland Avenue); 12:00, 13:00, 14:30, 15:30 & 17:00 daily (Victoria Coach Station)

Address: 8 Northumberland Ave, Central London WC2N 5BY (Outside the Grand Hotel); 164 Buckingham Palace Rd, London SW1W 9TP (Victoria Coach Station)

Nearest tube stop: Charing Cross (Northumberland Ave.) & Victoria (Victoria Coach Station)

Approximate length: 80-90 minutes

Fee: £43+ per person

Why not combine the sights with the most traditional British activity: afternoon tea! With gluten-free and vegetarian options galore, you can eat to your posh heart’s content! The Afternoon Tea Bus Tour starts either at the Victoria Coach station or just outside Trafalgar Square and takes you around to the most iconic London spots. From Big Ben to Buckingham Palace and much more, you can have your cake and eat it too!

To book your seat on the Afternoon Tea Bus Tour, click here

Whether you're combining iconic London sights with traditional British activities or getting a fresh perspective, here are 7 unusual ways to see London. The Full-Time Tourist, 2017 ©

Venture Through London’s Canals

Go with: London Waterbus

Hours: April/ May/June 10 am, 11 am, 12 pm, 1:15 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm, 4 pm & one-way at 5 pm

Pick-up: Opposite 34 Blomfield Road, London W9 2PF

Drop-off: Camden Market, London

Nearest tube stop: Paddington & Warwick Avenue

Approximate length: One-way – 50 minutes; return- 110 minutes

Fee: One-way adult £9; Adult return £14 (**Payment by card only)

Whenever I think of European canals, my mind always thinks of the beautiful, iconic Venice canals. But you don’t need to go all the way to Italy to experience the magic of exploring a city from water-level! London Waterbus starts in Little Venice, London’s former country side and former key pier at what once were the outer limits of Central London. In the 1840s, canal boats would cruise along the house-lined canal to deliver their cargo into the city.

Continuing through Grand Union Canal, the narrowboat turns onto the Regent’s Canal that runs adjacent to Regent’s Park. John Nash, a famous London architect, created the canal while designing the park for Prince Regent in the early 1800s. Along the canal is one of the most famous canal locations in London, Blow Up Bridge, where a boat exploded apparently due to gunpowder and petrol mixing in the hold. The bridge and boat were destroyed, but it was rebuilt using the original cast iron columns.

Past Blow Up Bridge lies the London Zoo, which you can catch a quick look at from the water front before continuing to your final destination of the Camden Market! I’d recommend doing this tour on the weekend, as Camden Market is a foodie’s paradise!

For more information about the London Waterbus, click here

Whether you're combining iconic London sights with traditional British activities or getting a fresh perspective, here are 7 unusual ways to see London. The Full-Time Tourist, 2017 ©

Photo courtesy of Antonio Acuña via FLICKR. All rights reserved.

Sky Gardens

Address: 20 Fenchurch St, London EC3M

Hours: Monday-Friday 10-6pm; Saturday & Sunday 11-9pm

Nearest tube stop: Monument

Approximate length: 1 hour

Fee: Free (booking only)

Part of the charm of visiting a massive city like London is to see it from a bird’s eye view. Although the Shard is known globally for its incredible view of the British capitol, the view from Sky Gardens is virtually the exact same (it’s just across the river)- and free.

Sky Gardens is London’s highest public garden. It’s at the top of the ‘walkie talkie’ building about 30 floors up. Spanning over three storeys, it offers a 360 view of the city. There’s also a cafe inside the gardens where you can grab a cuppa tea inside the large-scale terrarium.

As mentioned in my 21 Tips for First-Timers in London post, tickets sell out quickly. Book your spot at least 1-2 weeks before you go. It’s generally easier to book a weekday, as Friday through Sunday are nearly impossible to book tickets.

To book at the Sky Gardens, click here

Whether you're combining iconic London sights with traditional British activities or getting a fresh perspective, here are 7 unusual ways to see London. The Full-Time Tourist, 2017 ©

Photo courtesy of Fabrizio Pece via FLICKR. All rights reserved.

Rock ‘n Walk

Go with: London Rock Music Tours

Hours: Every Friday at 2 pm

Starts: Tottenham Court Station

Nearest tube stop: Tottenham Court Station

Approximate length: 2 hours

Fee: £10 (Tipping optional)

London and its rock ‘n roll history are inextricably intertwined. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, The Sex Pistols, The Clash, Blur, Oasis and many more have paid tribute to London in their music and have played in the city’s venues. Rock and Roll London Walk takes you around to all the important landmarks of rock n roll history. They also have the option to follow the footsteps of one specific group, if you’d like a more in depth tour.

For more information on your rock n roll tour, click here.

Whether you're combining iconic London sights with traditional British activities or getting a fresh perspective, here are 7 unusual ways to see London. The Full-Time Tourist, 2017 ©

Photo courtesy of Maureen Barlin via FLICKR. All rights reserved.

Hit the street (art)

Go with: Alternative London Walking Tour

Hours: April/ May/June 10 am, 11 am, 12 pm, 1:15 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm, 4 pm & one-way at 5 pm

Starts: Liverpool Street Station

Finishes: Varies (will be confirmed via email)

Nearest tube stop: Liverpool Street Station

Approximate length: 1.5-2 hours

Fee: £8 (Tipping optional)

From Banksy to more contemporary street artists like Bambi, Stik and Sweet Toof, London’s street art has garnered global recognition over the years. Some see it as vandalism indicative of urban decay and crime. Others see it as public art that beautifies our streets. I strongly believe it’s the latter. But in either case, it’s a forever changing medium and an incredible insight into London’s history and culture.

Alternative London Walking Tour offers an in-depth 1.5-2 hour walking tour around the East End showcasing the incredibly creative street art and decrypting the important historical and cultural events that have shaped the area. This is in large part due to the fact that they’re the only London tour company to hire well-known street artists and creatives as guides. Much of the tour happens within Shoreditch and Hackney- two of my favourite London neighbourhoods. They also have a biking street art tour starting at £22 per person.

To book your street art tour, click here

Whether you're combining iconic London sights with traditional British activities or getting a fresh perspective, here are 7 unusual ways to see London. The Full-Time Tourist, 2017 ©

What is the most unusual or memorable way that you’ve seen London? Share your story in the comments below!

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** DISCLAIMER: This post is NOT sponsored. These are companies that I have experience myself or have heard from through trusted friends and colleagues. 

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Whether you're combining iconic London sights with traditional British activities or getting a fresh perspective, here are 7 unusual ways to see London. The Full-Time Tourist, 2017 ©