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New things to do in London suggestions?

I have been to London 3 times over the past 30 years and will go again soon for a week in late May.
I've done all the standard tourist sites over the years so looking for something new. I've been to the Churchill War rooms when it was new back in 200X to give you a time frame. My children and I have visited Platform 9 ¾ at Kings Cross way back when it was new (pre-2012), but I understand there's a souvenir shop there now also. Might be worth a visit- since we're staying near Euston Station. So looking for suggestions for new things you may have done or heard about since that time.
Another example, we'll probably take the Heathrow Express into London, only because its new to us and we've never done it. (yes, I know it's more expensive than the Tube.) But We've always taken the Tube from Heathrow into Central London.
So far, I've found several new things: I am looking to visit Bletchley Park, Harry Potter Studios, Sky Garden for the view and maybe lunch, (because these things weren't around during my last visit). Also going to visit the Chelsea Flower show, take in some theatre (new shows, of course) and the updated British Museum. Spouse wants to have high tea at Lady Dinah's Cat emporium. (because it's new and different.) Thinking about visiting the Abbey Road crosswalk or finding a tour that visits it plus other sites. I always love the free (pay what it's worth afterwards) walking tours, but it needs to be something different or off-beat.
All suggestions welcome. Thanks!

If you’re coming in late May then you might have to rule out the Harry Potter studios. They are pre-booked ticket entry only, and sell out months ahead. Travel forums are full of disappointed visitors asking where they can get tickets.

You might want to visit the new improved Design Museum, which recently moved into a stunning building on Kensington High Street. Currently there’s an exhibition on the design of Stanley Kubrick films. Museum is free to enter but you pay for the special exhibition (and pre-booking is recommended.)

Have you been to Canary Wharf and the docklands developments? It’s fun taking the DLR as it travels amongst the glass skyscrapers, and I highly recommend the free Museum of London Docklands.

The areas of Shoreditch and Spitalfields near Liverpool Street Station have changed quite dramatically in recent years and are well worth exploring, perhaps on a guided walk.

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96 posts

My recent visit (Nov) to London was a first, so if I suggest activities you've done previously, please forgive me. I went on a tour of Stonehenge that included Windsor Castle, Bath and lunch in a town called Lacock. Was a great day, Harry and Meghan's wedding clothes were on display at Windsor Castle. Some scenes from Harry Potter were shot in Lacock. It is quaint and beautiful. I booked it through London Toolkit. They seem to have a wide selection of tours. I went to the theater almost every night. I was even able to see Hamilton (although it felt a little disloyal to watch an American story in London). I could never justify the expense here at home. I went on three London Walks. What a treasure they are. Since I am a senior, they were just 8 GBP. One of the tour guides made sure we were in a good location to see the Royals as their entourage made its way back to Buckingham Palace from a ceremony at Winchester Cathedral. My little photograph of the queen (even if she was in a car) is one of my most treasured souvenirs. Since you mentioned Abbey Road, London Walks has a "Beatles, "In My Life" walk. I wish I could have crammed it in!! I also booked a tour with a history professor on Airbnb. His tour was great, inexpensive and very informative. Obviously, I think London is a great place to visit, with activities I was not able to include. How I envy your coming trip!

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7146 posts

Since you are looking for new and interesting and haven’t yet done the British Library Treasure Room definitely do that then stroll over to Granary Square and the Coal Drops Yard which is behind St Pancras Station. Very interesting area to explore and you can then stroll along the Canal Path. You can also visit the nearby Old St Pancras church and view the Hardy Tree.

If looking for a stunning place to enjoy a meal, cocktail, tea or coffee then walk into St Pancras Renaissance ( it’s part of the Station) and partake at the gorgeous Booking Office Bar and Restaurant . Not cheap but worth every penny in my humble opinion.

For your Harry Potter fix head to the glass covered Leadenhall Market which HP fans will recognize as Diagon Alley and then search for the entrance to the Leakey Cauldron. From here walk up past The Gherkin and over to Old Spitafields Market and Brick Lane. Lots of eye candy and shops, vendors that the family will enjoy.

Also check out what London Walks your family might enjoy. I’ve never been disappointed by taking at least one when I visit.

Another fun spot is Portobello Road Market. Go early on Saturday (by 9am). Gets jammed to be certain but a fun way to start a weekend.

You can take paddle boats out on the lake in Regents Park, watch the Pelicans being fed in St James Park,
check the Tower Bridge lift schedule

Days out from London:
Hampton Court Palace

Definitely make use of the half price ticket office at Leicester Square for tickets. Can now look on line to see availability.

I recommend you see the venerable Mouse Trap or The Woman in Black. And any musical that the family can agree on. If tickets can be secured for Witness for The Prosecution get them. Play is set in the County Hall adding to the ambience of the well known play.

Nothing like London Theatre, always a lovely night out!

And read Time Out London on line to see if there are other events occurring during your visit.

ALWAYS something new and different to experience in London.


Posted by
10453 posts

The London Transportation Museum is excellent and I am looking forward to a return to Kew Gardens in late May as last time I went was in the autumn.

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2697 posts

Look up Postman Park, it’s short distance from St Paul’s, we found it interesting.

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8293 posts

And then there is the Sir John Soane’s Museum. Google it to see if it appeals. Another possibility is that the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts on Gower Street sometimes offers free shows of a play they are preparing. If you are Canadian, you can go to the Canadian Embassy, use the toilets and read the latest Canadian newspapers. Not a lot of fun, but any port in a storm when you need a WC. Probably the American Embassy will offer you the same convenience, but with a lot more security involved. The church, I think named St. James Piccadilly, has a dear, small cemetery attached, where a former Rector’s cat is among the interred.

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68 posts

If you're a history buff, you might consider the RAF museum in Colindale. Just take the tube as directed on their website. The museum is free and they have a rich collection of aircraft, uniforms, etc.

Posted by
31 posts

We’re also looking for some new-to-us things to do on our upcoming London trip. I’ve added these to our itinerary:

London Film Museum: a James Bond permanent exhibit complete with quite a few of his cars.

Shoreditch: the ‘hipster’ (but already gentrifying) neighborhood with great food, including the pop ups at BoxPark (made out of sea containers) and interesting street art. There are even street art walking tours.

A ‘themed’ tea: there are so many now! Pick an interest and they probably have a tea for it.

I’ve also found the Sky Garden and it looks interesting.

I also second the Leadenhall Market suggestion.

I’m looking forward to reading more replies as well. Happy planning!

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389 posts

For something a bit different you could spend an afternoon in Battersea Park - lots of things to entertain including a high ropes course Go Ape and boating lake. Could combine with Aa visit to the Saatchi Gallery of modern art and Chelsea Physic Garden.

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17 posts

I would also book Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium ahead of time. While it doesn't have the waiting list it had when it was brand new, it can still be pretty busy.

Someone suggested the RAF Museum in Colindale (originally my bit of London!) . If you're up that way and it's nice weather, why not have breakfast/lunch at the Yemeni Jewish cafe in Sunny Hill Park and then hop across to the museum in an Uber?

Posted by
1987 posts

hey derek
what's up neighbor. don't know the ages of your kids but here's some things to check out (a boat ride up the canal) (lunch in a crypt)
rake a train to brighton ( beach and boardwalk, fun shops, restaurants/cafes
we took a cab to abbey road and walked the "crosswalk", found some other people there to take our picture. it was a good day
regent's park ( boats and pedalos to rent, gardens, monuments, statues, and fountains.
lots of things to do with the kids, enjoy

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17 posts

Just a note-we call them piers not boardwalks. No Brit will understand what you mean if you call it that. Other nearish seaside towns you could check out are Hastings (esp if you're interested in history) or perhaps Margate to see what a traditional (if faded) UK coastal resort looks like. Jaywick would provide an interesting experience for a first time American tourist too.