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In honour of English Tourism Week, we have hand-picked our favourite unusual tourist attractions in the UK, which showcase this country’s fascinating history and heritage and are a fun way to spend a day out.
We all know the classic English landmarks: Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, Windsor Castle. They’re what attract tourists from all over the world to visit England’s capital city. But we’ve gone further than that by picking out some of the most fun and unusual things to do in the UK that hopefully will inspire your next UK holiday.
Experience 12 unusual UK attractions below…
What could be more enticing to adults and children alike than the opportunity to have a sleepover at London Zoo, one of England’s best attractions?
Use night vision goggles to spot the lions in their natural habitat through the trees during the special after-hours tours of the zoo.
Gather around the self-made fire and toast those marshmallows like it’s a real camping experience, before settling down in your cosy lodge cabin for the evening tucked under a multitude of blankets.
With your daily meals, parking and accommodation all rolled into one exclusive price, what’s not to love about this mind-blowing opportunity to sleep amongst the lions?
Address: Outer Cir, London NW1 4RY
Opening times: Mon – Sun 10am – 5pm
Contact: 020 7449 6200
We all know the famous English writer J R. R. Tolkien, but did you know his inspiration for the forests of Middle Earth in the iconic book series and film franchise, Lord of the Rings was inspired by this England attraction?
If you’re looking for one of the best attractions in England, then Puzzlewood may just be the kind of thing you’ve been looking for. Located in the Forest of Dean, this enchanted forest has been used as the filming location of many popular movies and TV series in recent years, some of which include Merlin, Doctor Who, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Huntsman: Winter’s War.
You can follow in the footsteps of so many famous faces and see if you can spot the iconic backdrops used for scenes.
Puzzlewood also has its own interesting background having begun in Roman times and used as the mining site for iron ore before being left to allow its natural landscape to grow for many centuries.
During the early 19th century a landowner planted a myriad of pathways through its unruly trees and shrubbery, making Puzzlewood the bewitching forest we know it as today.
Interested in all things Tolkein? You can follow in his footsteps by walking the Tolkein Trail.
Address: Perrygrove Rd, Coleford GL16 8QB
Opening times: Mon 12 – 3:30pm; Tue – Sun 10am-3:30pm
Contact: 01594 833187
Though classed as resting within North Yorkshire, the White Scar Caves can be found on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales and is a fun and unusual UK attraction that is well-worth visiting.
Boasting the longest cave show in England, reaching a total of one mile, its guided tour lasts approximately 80 minutes and details the formation of the cave over 200,000 years ago and its beautiful stalactites.
A short while after entering, you’ll find the first waterfall, which cascades down into a rocky pool, first discovered in 1923. With eight other surprises as you make your way through the cave, keep an eye out for the witch’s fingers, the judge’s head and the devil’s tongue, to name a few.
Friendly staff on hand to answer any questions, this would be an excellent Yorkshire Dales attraction for those interested in its rich history and heritage.
For further outdoor activities in the Yorkshire, discover our selection of things to do on a rainy day in Yorkshire.
Address: White Scar Cave, Carnforth LA6 3AW
Opening times: Mon – Sun 10am-4pm
Contact: 015242 41244
It all started in Liverpool in 1957. A journey which spanned decades and reached millions of people across the world. A band once so popular, Liverpool has turned part of its city into a ‘Living History’ dedicated to this talented group of men decades after their split.
If you’re a Beatles fan and don’t know about The Beatles Story – where have you been?
Join this magical tour of the band’s journey through their childhood beginnings, right through to its shocking end. See how they got started and became one of the most influential bands in the world.
If you’re looking for some bonus spots in Liverpool, visit:
If you’re looking for quirky and unusual UK days out, it doesn’t get more interesting than discovering the ins and outs of the Beatles illustrious career.
Address: Britannia Vaults Royal Albert Dock, Liverpool L3 4AD
Opening times: Mon-Sun 9am-6pm
Contact: 0151 709 1963
You might be looking for the best unusual places to visit in the UK, and if so, we have a suggestion, tucked away in the picturesque countryside of Lancashire.
Designed by Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu, the Singing Ringing Tree is a musical structure, constructed with galvanised steel pipes and is a wind-powered sculpture which produces a tuneful song that carries across the vast landscape of the Forest of Burney.
This award-winning unusual attraction comes highly recommended for its unusual presence in the unspoilt countryside and adds to the sense of tranquillity with its delightful music. Given the National Award for architectural excellence in 2007 by the Royal Institute of British Architects, this unorthodox attraction is just the type of place the whole family would delight in visiting.
It is probably the only attraction where the more wind gust, the better.
Are you new to British culture? Browse through our illustrated guide to weird British expressions to better understand how we British communicate.
Address: Crown Point Rd, Burnley BB11 3QZ
Opening times: 24 hours
Ever wondered what it would be like to live in the Viking era? Now you don’t have to. York plays host to the annual JORVIK Viking Festival every February, where you can celebrate just like the Norse once did during the 9th century.
An annual celebration that’s been established for nearly 40 years, the entire city of York pays tribute to this festival and attracts visitors from all over to join the festivities.
Hold up your shields, poise your spears and secure those helmets for the Viking Costume Competition or the Have-a-Go Sword Workshops, both of which are sure to bring memories that will last a lifetime.
Learn all about the Viking voyages in their Saga Storytelling sessions and make sure to take advantage of York’s fascinating history by exploring its rich city centre, once all the celebrations have finished.
An unusual day out in England must include this highly sought-after attraction; with dramatic combat performances, captivating historic tales and so many fun-filled events over the weekend, it’s not to be missed.
Once you’ve finished, enjoy a refreshing beverage with your furry companion by your side and choose from one of the many dog-friendly pubs in York.
Address: Parliament St, York YO1 8RL
Opening times: Mon – Fri 9am-4pm; Sat-Sun 9am – 2pm
Contact: 01904 615505
Constructed from a 200-year-old disused slate mine, this adventure-seeking unusual attraction encourages the whole family to get involved with six different adventures.
Race your loved ones to the other side of the thrilling zip wire, experience net climbing from 60ft in the air, or take a seat in The Coaster and let the car take you on a twisting journey through the trees.
If you’ve ever thought of skydiving but have been afraid to take the leap, you can try a smaller version from their 100ft as a trap door opens plummeting you to the ground.
Sounds fun right? Make it your next quirky day out in the UK if you agree!
Address: Llechwedd Slate Caverns, Blaenau Ffestiniog LL41 3NB
Opening times: Tue – Thurs 9am – 5pm; Fri – Mon 10am – 4pm
Contact: 01248 601444
Who knew something like llama trekking existed? Funnily enough, it’s actually become a hugely popular, albeit unusual activity, with one experience tucked away in the Newlands Valley of Cumbria.
Surrounded by the beauty of the Lake District World Heritage Site, you can get to know these friendly animals up close by trekking across this picturesque landscape. The llamas aren’t the only animals you can see up close; meet a range of other mammals, reptiles and birds along the way.
Prepare to be inspired for some other excellent walking opportunities with our guide to the best walks in the Lake District.
Address: Llama Karma Kafe Lords House, Brougham, Penrith CA10 2AB
Contact: 07930 453288
If you’re visiting Brighton and are looking for unusual days out for couples, then the Upside Down House may just be the perfect spot for you.
Take a snapshot in front of this quirky structure inside and out, with an open-plan layout inside to maximise your selfie potential.
Located on Brighton’s seafront, you enter the house through the roof, before ascending into the living space, where all the furniture is glued to the ceiling.
Here, you can do what you like to make the most out of your experience. Take as many photos as you want and flip them upside down on your phone to create the illusion of walking on the ceiling. With a Jukebox inside, you can follow in the footsteps of Lionel Richie by dancing on the ceiling.
When the CEO Tom Dirse was asked why he created the Upside Down House, his reply was “why not?” Why not indeed.
Address: Kings Road Arches, 42-43, Brighton BN1 2LN
Opening times: Sun-Fri 10am-8pm; Sat 10am-9pm
Contact: 07761 802281
Do you have the nerve to enter this deadly garden?
Set on the fringes of Alnwick town centre, you can enjoy a thrilling adventure exploring the beauty of the Alnwick Poison Garden. Run by the Duchess of Northumberland, Jane Percy, this garden rests behind large black iron gates, and acts as the perfect opportunity for an unusual day out in England.
Stunning to the eye but deadly to the touch, each of the plants inhabiting this space are incredibly intoxicating and poisonous. Visitors are strongly forbidden from touching, smelling or tasting any of its 100 toxic species.
Interestingly, this Northumbrian attraction was a filming location for Harry Potter’s first two films. Encompassing the surrounding lands of Alnwick Castle, this medieval structure was used to represent Hogwarts. Yes, that’s right, Hogwarts Castle can be found in Northumberland.
Address: Denwick Lane, Alnwick NE66 1YU
Opening times: Mon-Sun 10am-6pm
Contact: 01665 511350
What’s more English than a cup of tea? Nothing.
If you’re tea lover, or simply curious about English culture, then stop off at Twinings Tea Shop, located in the city of London. Perched opposite the Court of Justice, this hidden gem spans 300 years’ worth of history and friendly staff are on-hand to provide expert advice.
Venture towards the bar where you can sample some of the rich flavours, and fill a box with their pick & mix sachets to take home all your favourite blends.
This quirky attraction is a tea lover’s haven, with endless shelves of flavoured teas and something to suit everyone’s tastes.
Bet you never thought you could get involved with a tea tasting masterclass event? The staff at Twinings don’t just want to sell you tea, but create a quintessential British experience to make your visit as memorable as possible.
Are you interested in finding other hidden gems? Browse through our unusual and unique days out in the UK guide for further inspiration.
Address: 216 Strand, Temple, London WC2R 1AP
Opening times: Mon – Fri 9:30am-7pm; Sat-Sun 11am-6pm
Contact: 020 7353 3511
Located in the Wirral Peninsula, in the quiet seaside village of Thurstaston, you will find this historic monument, Thor’s Stone.
Hidden in the wild natural landscape among the Thurstaston Common stands an enigmatic sandstone landmark, which can be completely unnoticed by passers-by, unless you know what you’re looking for.
The stone itself stands as tall as the average house and local legend states it was believed to have been the origin of a Viking worship festival to celebrate the Nordic god, Thor. Other legends speculate that the colour of its red sandstone was due to the sacrifices made atop.
Wirral is a well-known Viking habitation spot, especially during the 9th century, so it is entirely possible this sandstone structure was once an important place of worship.
If you decide to visit, the popular seaside village of West Kirby is a short drive away and is home to a large white sandy beach and circular pier which is often used as a walking spot for the locals.
Address: 5 School Ln, Thurstaston, Wirral CH61 0HH
Opening times: 24 hours
Now you’ve learnt all about the unusual things to do in the UK, have we inspired you to book your next UK cottage holiday? Browse through our England Travel Guide for more unusual things to see and do.
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