Okay, so it’s common knowledge that teenagers are notorious for finding monotony in even the most exciting of activities. But a visit to London provides visitors of every age with a myriad of things to do. And in London, there’s certainly no need to ever hear those dreaded words, “I’m bored!”
In fact, when visiting London the problem most people have is attempting to fit in all the amazing things to do. So to help whittle it down, and make the decisions a little easier, we’ve come up with a fabulous list of slightly off the wall activities that will captivate even the most unenthusiastic of teenager’s imagination. And naturally, there’s no age limit – so the adults can join in as well (that is, if the teenagers relent enough to allow you…).
A fairly new attraction in London, HintHunt is a group activity for 3-5 people. What it involves is being locked in a small room, and the only way out is to decipher a mountain of mysteries and puzzles. The group need to work together as a team to discover the answers, because this is the only way to be set free.
The location is based in North West London, near Euston Station. This makes it an easy destination to reach, using London Buses and the Tube.
This attraction is already proving super successful with gamers, geeks and anyone who enjoys a mental challenge.
2. Take a Street Art Walking Tour
Street Art, Graffiti, Urban Art… whatever you like to call it, London’s one of the top places in the world to spot it. There are some uber-cool street artists who’ve happily spray painted walls in the London (think Banksy, Invader and Rao, and that’s just for starters).
Alternative London offers a London sightseeing tour that will certainly whet a teenager’s appetite. Heading into the East of London either on foot or by bike, you’ll be accompanied by experts in the Street Art genre.
As an added extra, all the guides live locally so are the first to know about the ever-changing art that adorns walls, bridges and other surfaces in the area. As well as seeing some of the coolest art on offer, you’ll also discover in-depth information about the areas you pass through. This really is the sightseeing tour that most people don’t see, and gives a far more realistic view on life in London in the 21st century.
3. Young Driver
Remember when you were too young to drive and were just desperate to gain a few more years so you could get behind the wheel? Well, with Young Driver, that dream really can be a reality for teenagers in London. Based on the top floor of the multi-storey car park at Brent Cross Shopping Centre in Hendon, this attraction has the added advantage that you can drop off the drivers for their lesson, and hit the shops whilst they’re being taught.
The lessons are either 30 or 60 minutes in length. Drivers will go through basic control of the car. Then when ready, learn how to drive in two-way traffic, negotiate junctions, roundabout and traffic lights, as well as learning how to park. Prices start from £31.99 and are available for people aged 11-17 years.
4. Enjoy Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream
Everyone – absolutely everyone – loves ice cream. But at Chin Chin Labs, it really is ice cream with a difference. This location in trendy Camden will provide you with freshly made, liquid nitrogen ice cream, complete with all the icy freeze steam you’d expect from a product made with ‘dry ice’.
And you don’t just get a delicious tasting ice cream; you get to enjoy the complete experience. Funky music plays as you place your order, and you get to watch the whole process of your treat being created. The flavours change on a weekly basis, but you can expect such delights as Lychee and Sesame Brittle, Grilled White Chocolate and Rose Macaroon as well as Pondicherry Vanilla.
Chin Chin is open Tuesday to Sunday from midday to 19:00. N.B – go mid-week if possible as it’s incredibly popular, so expect to queue at the weekend.
5. Discover London on a Secret Bike Tour
Regular sightseeing tours are all very well, but there’s nothing like heading into the back streets and discovering ‘off the beaten track’ places. And that’s exactly what you’ll get on a bike tour with Brake Away Bike Tours. You’ll take advantage of a super enthusiastic tour guide and extra small groups as you straddle your saddle and head off on a discovery tour of the more quirky areas of London.
The company even run foreign language tours if your English isn’t great, and you can also book a private family tour if you’d like. Tours start from Waterloo Train station and everything is included; the bike, your tour guide and a half hour break in the middle to get refreshments. And if you’re worried about your fitness level, don’t be – as the tour guide will ensure that everyone in the group can happily keep up.
6. Watch a Real Live Criminal Court Case
No matter what your thoughts on justice and the criminal court system, there’s something morbidly fascinating about court cases. And the Old Bailey is probably one of the most famous in the world. Anyone over the age of 14 is allowed into the public gallery to watch a trial. For teenagers, this is probably the greatest insight into the justice system that they’re likely to get.
It’s possible to see the trials in session on weekdays from 10:30-13:00 and 14:00-16:00. Simply turn up and join the queue…
7. Climb the O2
Located in Greenwich, on the banks of the River Thames, it’s possible to enjoy a once in a lifetime experience that’ll see you clamber across one of the most famous buildings in the UK capital. The views from the top are amazing, and on a clear day you’ll enjoy a 360-degree view of the city. If you like you can climb during sunset, or even in twilight, for a completely different perspective of the British metropolis.
8. Attend a Film Premiere
The top box office movies in the UK always premier in the cinema at Leicester Square. For teenagers, this is their unique chance to be right at the front of the barriers to see Hollywood stars arrive to walk down the famed red carpet.
There are around 50 premieres each year, and all of these are announced on the Odeon website. Just be sure to get there early to claim your spot right at the front of the barriers…