5 Strange and Unusual Things To Do in London

London England Westminster

Indulge in these five strange and unusual things to do in London, England, to make your vacation unforgettable.

 

You’ve made it to London!  As one of the most recognized cities in the world, London has a lot to offer travelers.  So many sights to see and experiences to have, it can be overwhelming. Let’s forget about the standard sightseeing for a moment.  For my holiday, I wanted a more unique vacation. That meant finding strange and unusual things to do in London, England.  No gory super scary stuff.   I just wanted to find some strange and unusual things to do in London rather than stand in front of Big Ben like everyone else.

So I did my research and decided exactly what to do in London for a day that’s totally off the beaten path.

 

Strange and unusual things to do in London

Watch naked boys read

Books and birthday suits come together in a titillating combination when you Watch Naked Boys Read.  This could be the best thing to see in London on your vacation. Literature is read aloud by – you guessed it – real live naked men.

Strange and Unusual Things to do in London

Photo by Zbigniew Tomasz Kotkiewicz

Literature meets lovers of the male physique.  Hear passages of your favorite text read by live men standing on stage wearing nothing but a smile.  The audience is required to be fully dressed as you admire the variety of male flesh on display for all to see.

It’s a touring event that hosts in different areas.  There are no rehearsals.  It’s an honest-to-goodness on-the-spot reading of poems, monologues, and other curated texts.  Check their events calendar for dates and locations to visit this sexy library of talent.

 

 

 

 

 

Sherlock Holmes Museum

When I traveled to London a few years ago, I searched the area around my hotel and found this. I had to put it on my list of cool and unusual things to do in London.   Everyone knows about the great Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Dr. Watson.

But did you know that at 221b Baker Street, you can step back in time and visit the house where Sherlock and Watson solved their greatest mysteries?  It’s quaint, charming, and so cool to turn back the clock and imagine yourself examining clues and solving those unsolvable mysteries.

It’s probably the world’s most famous address, and showcases the recreated living area that Sherlock and Watson occupied.  Sherlock’s famous violin and book collection of beekeeping are delicately placed near Watson’s notes he jotted down before dashing out to gather more clues.

A welcoming gift shop is next door for souvenir purchases.  The museum is open every day except Christmas.  Don’t forget your camera.  Posted at the front door is a police detective who gladly stands tall if you’d like to snap a photo with him.   Strange and Unusual Things to do in London

 After the museum, enjoy a drink at the Sherlock Holmes Pub on Northumberland Ave.  The upstairs has been converted to a life-size replica of the rooms that Sherlock and Holmes shared around 1894.  The details are amazing and go into more depth than the museum.

If you’re wondering what to do in London in a day and feel like playing detective, I recommend combining the two to get the true Sherlock Holmes experience.

 

Weird and unusual things to do in London

Made from the Dead Taxidermy Workshop

Try your hand in a taxidermy workshop and stuff your dead animal under the guidance of Tonja Grung.  Choose a course you’d like to take – Mouse anthropomorphic, Black Plague, Corvidae family bird head, or bird taxidermy course.  Bring some friends (six or more) and get a 10% discount.

While it seems strange, it’s also a truly unique thing to do in London.  The Mouse anthropomorphic course, for example, is four hours long and takes you through the entire process.  strange and unusual things to do in london

Start with a complimentary dead mouse, learn how to skin it, tan it, and mount it.  Props such as miniature clothing and accessories are available to bring your mouse to life, so to say.

Refreshments are served as you work.  You leave with your very own mounted Stuart Little and a complimentary beginners taxidermy kit.

If you enjoy it, add to your taxidermy kit.

 

Trapped in a Room with a Zombie

It’s scary. It’s creepy.  It’s one of the most fun things to do in London at night. You’re locked in a room with a group of 11 people and a zombie who’s chained to a wall.  Your job is to find the key to unlock the door and escape before the zombie gets free.  Strange and Unusual Things to do in London

Through a series of clues and riddles, you have to perform under pressure to gain your freedom and protect your brain from the hungry zombie.  As time ticks by, the chain restraining the zombie loosens.

You have only 60 short minutes to locate clues, solve riddles, and obtain the key that unlocks the door standing between you and survival before the undead zombie reaches you.

 

Take the Muggles Tour (Harry Potter)

I mentioned this tour in one of my other blog posts, but it deserves another because it’s getting five-star ratings as one of the best London attractions for families. This tour brings the books to life and throws muggles into the heart of the world of wizardry.

Only 20 muggles per tour, so grab your wand,(amazon link)  and book early.  A 2.5 hour tour, you blast your way through the Harry Potter series to visit the Leaky Cauldron, Knockturn Alley and Diagon Alley, the visitor’s entrance to the Ministry of Magic, No. 12 Grimmauld Place, and multiple locations where death eaters terrorized, well, everyone.  This tour wasn’t around when I visited London, but it is definitely on my to-do list.Strange and Unusual Things to do in London

Another Harry Potter tour you can check into in case the Muggles Tour is sold out is the Harry Potter London Landmarks Tour .  While it goes to a few of the same locations that the Muggle Tour does, it takes you to a few places the Muggle’s misses. Strange and Unusual Things to do in London

During the 2.5 hour adventure, you’ll board the “Hogwart’s Express” at Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross Station. Thus begins your journey to Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  Stop at Diagon Alley, the Leaky Cauldron, and Leadenhall market to name a few.

Brush up on all the Harry Potter facts, adventures, and important places so you’re prepared for the tour.  Find the complete book set here.

 

 

 

No matter how much time you have, there’s always a variety of unusual things to do in London.  Leave the standard tourist spots behind.  Grab your camera and SD card.  Find the strange and unusual things to do in London that set your vacation apart from the rest.  Play detective for a day, stuff a dead animal, or trying to regulate your breathing as you watch a hunk read Little Women.  Throw normality to the wind and enjoy some strange and unusual things to do in London that make you smile for years to come.

 

Have you been to London and done weird stuff? Share your comments below and tell us all about it!

Need more of the unusual?  Read 5 Unusual and Creepy Things to Do in London, England.

 

 

5 Things To Know Before Traveling To Paris

things to know before traveling to paris

things to know before traveling to paris

 

These five important things to know before traveling to Paris could save you time and money while making your vacation stress free. 

Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world, ranking at #3 by Forbes magazine.  The lights, culture, food, and designer clothing are everywhere.  It’s the perfect blend of old world romance with new world progress.  What to know about Paris before you go is that some things differ greatly compared to America. For my vacation, I took an escorted tour that allowed me to focus on being a tourist. While they gave me some good advice, no one told me the simple yet important things to know before traveling to Paris.  I’m sharing these five tips that I learned about the hard way.  Hopefully, they will make your time in France much more enjoyable.

1. Before traveling to Paris, bring a power converter with you (aka, travel adapter)

 Laptops, cell phones, iPods, blow dryers, curling irons all require the same thing.  Electricity.  The outlets in Europe don’t support 110v appliances.  France runs on 220 volts, so your American electronics will fry if you plug them in.  Thus, the need for a voltage converter. adapter for European vacations.things to know before traveling to paris

 They’re relatively small, easy to pack, and are a necessity if you plan on using anything that requires power.  They are less expensive if you buy them in the U.S.  They can a bit difficult to find on vacation and always cost more.

My blow dryer spit sparks and shot a small series of flames at me before it died on my first day in Paris.  I was left with partially wet hair in my hotel room with no idea of how to finish doing my hair.

Eventually, I found a tiny store that sold them to unprepared tourists such as myself for a copious amount.  I couldn’t let my vacation turn into one long bad hair day, so of course I bought it.

Tip: This is probably the most important of all the things to do before going to Paris. Before heading to the land of wine and cheese, purchase a converter.  Your hair will thank you.

 

2. Walking around Paris Travel tip

There are a million things to do in Paris at night.  The city comes alive at night and astounds you with its beauty.  Strolling through the city taking in the sights and sounds can be mesmerizing.  Walking around a foreign city late at night can be dangerous.

A cheap way to travel in Paris is to use the Metro (train).  You can print a free map, or download the app.  It’s cheap, convenient, and a fast way to travel.

It doesn’t run 24/7 like it does in the U.S.  The Metro closes at night. The Paris Metro hours of service are roughly between 5:30 a.m. and shuts down shortly after midnight.  Don’t get stuck at the station after closing hours.

The alternative is to take a cab.  Taxi’s always cost a bit more regardless of which city you’re in.  In Paris, the taxi rates have a daytime cost, then increase at night.

Here’s my only walking around Paris travel tip for you: Plan ahead of time to catch the Metro before it closes, or bring extra money for an evening cab.

Read my other article 6 Must Know Phrases for Tourists in Paris to prepare yourself to blend with the locals.

 

3. What is the legal drinking age in Paris?

Wine is to France what apple pie is to America.  The French drink wine to enjoy themselves, not to get drunk.  For that reason, having a regular glass of wine is normal, even for the very young. things to know before traveling to paris

What to know about Paris before you go is that the legal drinking age in France is 16 years old for beer and wine.  To purchase and drink liquor, you must be 18 years old.

If your teen makes some friends on your family vacation, don’t be surprised if they order a glass a wine or offer your daughter a beer.  This is commonplace for French teens, so don’t be offended.

 

 

4. Public restrooms are not always free 

Public restrooms are something that we take for granted.  They’re free and come equipped with the basics (paper, soap, hand dryers).  But in Europe, things are slightly different.  While there are some free public restrooms, I encountered a slew of them that were not.

On a vacation with my mother, she commented to our tour guide that French people must things to know before traveling to parisnever pee.  She couldn’t find one public restroom sign. That’s because they are called water closets, not restrooms.

So look for a sign that says “WC”.  Add this to your list of things to know before traveling to Paris.  French people do indeed use the restroom.

Bring money with you.  You’ll need to buy a restroom admission ticket.  I purchased my ticket at a gas station/diner/souvenir shop we stopped at.  It cost me about one American dollar.

It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.  When I flushed, the toilet came alive!  They are automated to wash, rinse, and clean themselves after every use.  It was amazing to me.  I’d love to have one of those at home.

 

5. August in Paris is prime vacation time for Parisians

Parisians go on vacation, too.  August in Paris finds the city empty.  It’s great for tourists because it means shorter lines and less traffic.  It also means that a lot of businesses are closed.

Vacationing during August in Paris may limit your tourist activities.   If you’re planning on a low-key restful time to do a lot of nothing, this is the perfect time to go. things to know before traveling to paris

With fewer people in the city, you’ll be able to take some stunning photos.  This camera is easy to use and produces some brilliant pictures. It’s nothing too expensive, but I have one and I love my pictures.

There are certain things to know before traveling to Paris that can make your holiday so much fun.  Prepare to be exposed to a different way of life.  That includes food, transport, clothes, manners, lifestyles, everything!

 

It’s a magnificent city jam-packed with things to do for couples, families, and singles.  There is a plethora of things to do in Paris at night or during the day.  Grab your VISA, travel adapter, and go have fun.

 

Have you been to Paris and have some advice?  Post your comments below and share your experience!

 


 

 

6 Must Know French Phrases for Tourists in Paris

must know french phrases for tourists in paris

 must know french phrases for tourists in paris

Learn these six must-know French phrases for tourists in Paris to help you navigate the city and impress the locals.

 

You’re taking the plunge and visiting one of the most astounding cities in the world.  Culture. Beauty. Food. Shopping.  It’s all there.  And you’re in the center of it all.  But it’s all in a foreign language.  How do you get around in a foreign country without speaking the language? Learning a few must know French phrases for tourists in Paris can be a big help.

Don’t worry.  It’s not as hard as you think. Paris is a metropolis with multiple languages being spoken. French is the main language with English coming in second. Going to Paris without speaking French is common for most travelers.  Having a translator by your side would be ideal. But for those of us who brave the independent form of travel, we need to make a little extra effort.

Must Know French Phrases for Tourists in Paris

Among all the things to know when visiting Paris, the most important is how to interact with good manners.  I came up with six of the easiest but important French phrases to know in Paris that I used the most when I visited France a couple of years ago.  Learn these phrases, and impress the locals as well as your friends.

 

 Do I Need to Know French in Paris?

Yes.  And no.  Before I vacationed in France, I took about six months of lessons from a professor at the local college.  She’d been an exchange student and had lived in Paris.  She stressed that Americans in Paris need to conform to French customs. How do we do this? We show our manners. French culture is based on formality and respect of one another.

When you walk into a store or restaurant, the staff will greet you.  You return the greeting.  When you leave, they say goodbye.  You return the farewell.  And voila!  You’ve made a good impression. Saying hello, goodbye, and please are extremely important words to know when visiting Paris.

Going to Paris without speaking French fluently is completely acceptable. Just throw in a few well-timed polite phrases, and you’ll make a great impression.

Read my article  5 Things to Know Before Traveling to Paris for essential tips on how to avoid common mistakes during a European vacation.

Must know French phrases

How much French do You Need to Know in Paris?

That depends.  If you’re escorted by a tour guide, going to Paris without speaking French isn’t a big deal.  Your guide will hold your hand and translate everything.

If you plan on venturing off on your own, then you may want to practice a few key French phrases to know in Paris as you mingle with the locals.  Order a cafe and a croissant on your own, and enjoy being a Parisian for a while (or at least look like one).

While English is the second-most spoken language in most of Europe, it pays to have an idea of some key French phrases to know in Paris.   Many Europeans speak a bit of English.  But why let them have all the fun?  Learn a bit of the language to show you’re at least making an effort, and the locals will be more inclined to be nicer to you.

Must Know French Phrases for Tourists in Paris

Remember, these are the most basic phrases.  Using them on a regular basis will show that you did your homework and have prepared for your vacation.  You’re not assuming the locals will cater to you by speaking English.

Here are six easy but oh-so-important must-know French phrases for tourists in Paris.

 

English French Pronunciation
Hello, Ma’am/Sir Bonjour  Madame Monsieur boh-joor, Mah dam/ Moh zyur
Goodbye Au revoir aw reh vwah
Thank you Merci mayr see
Please S’il vous plait seal voo play
Help me Aidez moi ay day mwa
Do you speak English? Parlez-vous anglais? pah lay voo unglay

 

And there you have it.  If you’re planning on going to Paris without speaking French, these six phrases will help get you through.  Practice, and use them often.

Don’t worry about your American accent.  It’s the thought that counts.  The locals will be much more receptive to you if they see you’re making a genuine effort to use basic etiquette in their language.

If you want to learn more French phrases for tourists before you go….

If you have the time and feel passionately about increasing your vocabulary, there are lots of resources available.  Try www.duolingo.com for elementary level learning.  It’s a great study tool at home with games, quizzes, pictures, and French speakers saying the words.  I still use it at home and have the app on my phone.  I also have Instant Immersion DVDs that I still use. Levels 1, 2, 3 are included for one price.

Taking photos with your phone is convenient.  But camera pics usually look so much better.  Get a camera that’s inexpensive (here’s a great deal) and takes high definition photos.  I used my camera since I left my phone in my luggage (it doesn’t have an international plan) and brought my Asus Chromebook (similar to this one) to upload them.  It takes up less packing room, and it’s be easy to transport in a small bag or purse.

A good rule of thumb is to bring a French English dictionary with you.  I did, and it made a word of difference.  If you can’t pronounce the French word, you can always show it to the person to whom you’re talking.

Must Know French Phrases for Tourists in Paris

There is a lot to do and see in Paris.  You’ll be amazed at the fun things to do in Paris for couples, singles, and families.  It’s easy to learn how to get around Paris without speaking French. Don’t let the language barrier stop you from planning a trip to one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Have you been to Paris?  How did you communicate with the local Parisians?  Leave a comment below and share your thoughts!