From abseiling down a work of art to jumping in a giant adults-only cocktail ball pit, some things can only be done in the capital.
All the amazing, unique and downright weird things that you can do in London are easy to reach. Hop on a train and you’re just 2 hours and 16 minutes away from the capital, where you’ll find plenty of things to do that are far from the ordinary – these are one-of-a-kind experiences that will stay with you forever. A conveyor belt cheese restaurant? A Magic Circle magician giving you your own close-up show? A hot tub that you can drive? What fresh madness is this – get that ticket to London booked pronto – fun awaits!
Kayak your way to a waterside brewery
Jumping in a canoe or kayak on your trip to London might sound like hard work, but it gets a lot easier when there’s an acclaimed brewery waiting for you at journey’s end. The Northern Line and Docklands Light Railway will whisk you from King’s Cross to Limehouse Basin in just 28 minutes, ready to put on your lifejacket and grab your paddles. It’s adults-only, but perfect for beginners as you follow a 3-mile route along the Limehouse Cut and River Lea, past local wildlife and boathouses moored up. It will take around 90 minutes to get to the brewery, where their fab beers and pizzas await your celebrations.
Tackle puzzles with Sherlock and co.
The first puzzle is easy enough – navigate your way from King’s Cross to Shepherd’s Bush on the Circle Line in about 35 minutes. After that, it gets tougher. The Game is Now is the official live Sherlock game, written by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, the writers behind the popular TV show. You and your group will enter what looks like your average shopping centre optician’s, but that’s just the start of a unique escape room adventure that will keep you on your toes. There are in-game messages from Holmes himself (Benedict Cumberbatch) and The Mind Palace speakeasy bar awaits all escapees.
Get a dazzling close-up show at The Magic Circle
The Magic Circle is the most famous magical society in the world, with members such as Dynamo and David Copperfield spanning the globe. Their Centre for the Magic Arts headquarters is in London, just 12 minutes from King’s Cross on the Victoria Line, and you can join them for a close-up magic show. If you sit near the front, there’s a good chance you’ll be involved, as their renowned magicians dazzle you and maybe your kids (over-10s can attend) with sleight of hand. After the show, have a look around the building, you’ll find artefacts both modern and ancient, dating all the way back to Egyptian times.
Dine in style on a gourmet bus tour
Restaurants in London come and go – but none quite as literally as this one. Bustronome takes you on a ‘voyage gourmand’ on board a double-decker bus, dishing up a six-course menu as you tour the capital. Forget huddling on a hop-on, hop-off tourist bus with a Gregg’s, this is a fully tricked-out bus – including a glass ceiling – and food worth writing home about. Pass over Tower Bridge, past The Shard and St Paul’s Cathedral as you enjoy salmon in tataki, herb-crusted cod and beef tenderloin. There are lunch and dinner options, with different routes, and even wine pairing. You won’t need a bus pass!
Hop in a HotTug on Regent’s Canal
No, that’s not a typo – a HotTug. The nation’s love for all things filled with water and bubbling finds its ultimate expression in the Skuna Boats at Canary Wharf. Climb into your wood-fired, self-drive hot tub, heated to a toasty 38 degrees – perfect for even the chilliest months – and steer through the water while the rest of your party kick back and have a drink. You’ll be on the water for 75 minutes, and only the captain can’t have any booze. Get yourself there in just 34 minutes from King’s Cross, taking the Northern Line then the DLR, and make sure you don’t forget your trunks or swimming costume!
Sleep with the dinosaurs at Dino Snores
The Natural History Museum is one of the jewels in London’s crown. Even better, you can sleep there! Dino Snores is available for both kids – they’ll stay over with activity leaders – and grown-ups. While the kids explore the museum by torchlight and enjoy educational workshops, adults have it even better. There’s a pub quiz, an all-night monster movie marathon, stand-up comedy, a science show and the chance to explore the museum before you sleep under the famed blue whale. All this plus drinks, nibbles and a fry-up in the morning – well worth the 30 minute Piccadilly Line trip from King’s Cross.
Unearth the weird and wonderful at the Viktor Wynd Museum
Take a trip into the macabre and otherworldly courtesy of The Last Tuesday Society. The Viktor Wynd Museum, which is about 30 mins from King’s Cross on the tube, is dedicated to curiosities. You’ll find strange birds, two-headed beasts and numerous exhibits that you have to take with a pinch – no, a bucket – of salt. You can tour it in the unnerving company of Wynd himself, who’ll share stories both believable and far-fetched as you sip on an absinthe. Part-installation, part-glimpse into a truly unique brain, the museum is a one-off, and you can debate exactly what you’ve seen in the Absinthe Parlour afterwards.
Abseil the ArcelorMittal Orbit
Kings Cross is just 25 minutes from the splendour of Stratford’s Olympic Park, which means you’re less than half-an-hour away from a challenge that only the brave will want to take on. Sir Anish Kapoor’s ArcelorMittal Orbit opened for the Olympics in 2012, then had the world’s longest slide added to it in 2016. With 12 twists and turns, the slide is a hugely fun experience, but it’s not the one that true adrenaline junkies will want to tick off. Nope, that’s the UK’s tallest freefall abseil, which will treat you to incredible London views as you head downwards from 262 feet! Where else can you abseil from the top of a piece of modern art?
Party in the pit at Ballie Ballerson
Thought ball pits were simply for kids? Think again! Far from the your usual dumping ground for toddlers, the ball pit at Ballie Ballerson is a playground for grown-ups. Just 18 minutes from King’s Cross on the Northern Line, this is a fabulous place for hen and stag do’s, nights out with friends and brunches. You’ll get a two hour slot to lounge about and play about in the ball pit, but there’s also a bar and booths for when you want to chill out. That’s where you can tuck into pizzas – the Spiced Girl with nduja is a winner – and signature cocktails such as the Dibbie Dabberson. Wait, we’re spotting a pattern here…
Discover the future of food at Pick & Cheese
You might have eaten from a conveyor belt before, but have you ever been to a conveyor belt restaurant dedicated to cheese? Pick & Cheese is the only one of its kind in the world. You’ll find it in the heart of Covent Garden, in the stylish streets of Seven Dials, just 14 minutes from King’s Cross on the Piccadilly Line. Put a date in your diary and prepare to get dairy, as the belt whisks well-sourced cheeses past you, including tasty morsels like smoked Kirkham’s Lancashire, rich truffled Baron Bigod, and charcuterie delights like spiced salami and black pepper belly pork. It’s how you’ll want to eat cheese forever after.
Inject some fun with a science-inspired afternoon tea
The Victoria and District lines will transport you from King’s Cross to The Ampersand Hotel in just 20 minutes, long enough to give the kitchen boffins time to get your afternoon tea ready. They’ve drawn inspiration from their near-neighbours at The Science Museum to concoct a tea that’s far from the norm. Expect macarons injected with flavour using pipettes, dry ice cascading over space-age snacks and mad-scientist concoctions. And scones, of course. You’ve still got to have scones. There’s a kid’s version too, making it the perfect pitstop if you’re heading to the mighty museum row of South Kensington.
Shoot down to the capital from just £30 each way!
London is just 2 hours and 16 minutes away by train. That’s the equivalent of a hit West End show (which, by the way, is a great reason to go). So what are you waiting for? Book now and enjoy:
- Wi-Fi and power sockets at every seat
- Order food and drinks directly to your seat
- Space to spread out and enjoy the ride
- No booking fees, if you book direct!