If you’re the type who’d rather free-fall 160 feet than browse through a museum, London has what you’re looking for. This centre of culture and history turns out to have quite a few options for the more adventurous, unconventional tourist.
Kayak on the River Thames
Paddle along one of the world’s most famous stretches of water by renting a kayak on the River Thames. Kayaking London offers tours from two to four hours that will have you floating by Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, Albert Bridge, and more. The guides at Kayaking London are extremely knowledgeable about the powerful river, its tides and its traffic, so you don’t have to worry about navigating this watery thoroughfare.
This is a great activity for visitors to London who are tired of pounding the pavement and want to have great views of famous landmarks without dealing with the masses. Glide smoothly through the hassle and crowds in a stable, comfortable two-person or single kayak and experience London from a new angle.
Contact Kayaking London:
Address: Cremorne Riverside Cremorne Gardens, Lots Road, London SW10 0QH
Phone: 0208 968 4500
Hours: Office hours are 10:00-5:00 Monday-Friday, but tour times vary with the tides.
Ice Climb at Vertical Chill
With today’s technology, you don’t have to go to the Arctic Circle or the Alps to have your own frozen adventure. Vertical Chill, located in Covent Garden at the Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports flagship store, advertises “real ice climbing in Central London”.
The super-refrigerated facility, which also has a location in Manchester, is an 8-metre frosty training ground for beginners and experienced climbers alike. Instructors brief all climbers with important health and safety points, and the facility provides appropriate clothing, footwear, and equipment to those who do not have their own.
The ice wall ranges in steepness from an easy slab to dramatic overhangs, so both newcomers and old hands can find plenty of icy terrain with which to challenge themselves. If you want to have a go at this glacial activity, book online at Vertical Chill’s website or call them at 0207 395 1010 to arrange a session on the wall.
Contact Vertical Chill:
Address: Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports, Tower House, 10-12 Southampton St, Covent Garden, London WC2E 7HA
Phone: 0207 395 1010
Hours: Tuesday to Friday: 11:30 – 18:30
Saturday: 10:00 – 18:00
Sunday: 12:00 – 17:00
Bungee Jump at the O2 Arena
If the ice wall at Vertical Chill doesn’t satisfy your adrenaline needs, you can ascend to 160 feet and jump from a platform at the O2 Arena. The jump from a crane parked next to the Arena provides amazing views of the River Thames, Canary Wharf and Central London – assuming the jumper in question isn’t in a fit of blind terror.
Tandem jumps are also available if you want to make a date of it, and you can even purchase a digital video of your free-fall once you’re safely back on the ground. Jumpers are advised to dress in comfortable and casual clothes (the UK Bungee club notes that “skirts are not recommended”) and to wear trainers or other securely fasted shoes.
How to Get to London
London is home to six international airports, so there are plenty of options for flights to this capital city. Once you’ve arrived at your chosen London airport, there are a number of ways to get into the city proper. At Heathrow Airport, the Heathrow Express travels directly to Paddington Station. At Stansted, a similar train links the airport with Liverpool Street Station. Whether you’re flying into Heathrow, London City, or Gatwick Airport, taxi services can be arranged so that you can get quickly and comfortably to your final destination.
If you’re coming from Europe and are not planning to fly, the efficient Eurostar is a fast and easy way to get to London from many major European cities. There are also plenty of bus routes to London all over the United Kingdom as well as the rest of Europe and most major British highways pass through London.
Where to Stay
Garth Hotel – This 18th-century Georgian townhouse located in Bloomsbury is a step back in time, from the framed portraits on the wall to the chandeliers hanging in the entryway. The rooms, though small, are comfortable and furnished traditionally and have shared shower and toilet facilities. Only a three-minute walk from Goodge Street Underground Station, the Garth Hotel is a fantastic and affordable jumping-off point for Central London, after you’ve indulged in the hotel’s full English breakfast.
The Captain Cook – Situated above a pub of the same name, this boutique hotel offers a cosy and quaint stay in Hammersmith and Fulham. Both the pub and the hotel are outfitted with a slightly nautical flair (think ship’s wheels and ocean charts) in deference to the Captain. With only eight guest rooms, we recommend booking at The Captain Cook far in advance!
Beaufort House – These luxury serviced apartments are a stone’s throw from Harrods in the exclusive Knightsbridge area. With its pristine facade and lush, tree-lined terraces, Beaufort House is a luxurious treat for the London traveller in the heart of the city.