6 Pop ups & alternative things to do in London

Finding alternative things to do in London wasn’t always so easy, but the pop-up trend and increased popularity of immersive gaming has made things a little more interesting. If anything now there are so many pop ups and alternative things to do in London, it’s difficult to know where to start.  Well, we can’t have you going into a head spin and ending up down the local can we? Whether you just love a good pop up or just want to do something different for once, we have a list of 6 unusual things to do and quirky pop ups in London.    

1. Shape the revolution through immersive gaming at Vault Festival

The Vault Festival is one of London’s biggest arts festivals, held at The Vaults underneath Waterloo station until 18 March. While the festival is packed with so many epic things to do, Revolution was a show that caught our eye. On every evening from 6.30pm Revolution is a 90 minute roller coaster that forces you and the audience to “make moral and tactical decisions about the future”. A beautiful collision of political intrigue, gaming and interactive theatre that casts the audience as the protagonists of change in a city in turmoil. If that doesn’t float your boat you can peruse the other wonderful shows and events, including Neverland, an immersive musical about Peter Pan.

Find out more: vaultfestival.com/whats-on/revolution.

2. Parlez-vous hipster? Enjoy an artisan experience at French Corner

Ah Francais, home to the eiffel tower, pretentious art, eating animals which you find in your garden shed and worst of all, the French. Just kidding of course - we love the French. French baguettes, french kisses, french fancies… what’s not to love? Either way, if the idea of visiting Gay ol’ Paree tickles your fancy, this traditional french winter market might be a cheaper option. Might being the prime word; after all, this is London!

From French delicacies to lovingly hand-crafted trinkets, the French Corner will bring an Apres Ski twist to your standard winter market. Experience Jazz, drinks, a romantic stroll over London Bridge, more drinks and French Carnival performers. All in a cosy French artisan atmosphere that delivers a certain Je ne sais quoi to your night. Partly because of the drinks. Partly because it’s the only French we know.

The French Corner will only be open until the end of March, so get your Giorgio boots on and grab your Chanel bag for this one. Or wait until it’s inevitably on next year. Whatever.

Find out more: facebook.com/thefrenchcornerlondon

3. All the M’s: Mad Hatters Mar-tea-ni Masterclass

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There’s something about being able to brew a good cuppa tea that makes us Brits go wild. Nothing is sexier than a person who can correctly put a tea in a mug and fill it with the right level of water, milk and sugar. Apparently.

Luckily for those of us who were not blessed with natural tea making capabilities, the people behind Mad Hatters Mar-tea-ni Masterclass have you covered. Giving you a wide arrange of ingredients to dick about with, the Mar-tea-ni mixologists will guide you on your journey to creating two of your own special blends. Want seasoned fruits? You got it. Different syrups? They’ve got you covered. Golden Tea pots? Apparently they have them too. So where is this held you might ask? A secret location in N1 according to their website. Useful. But still a perfect evening for you tea connoisseurs. And if all else fails and you’re still a bit heavy handed with your tea baggery, they also use the world’s (apparently) only pure milk vodka. Almost as good a start to your day as...well, vodka. Not up your street? Other upcoming events include Pimp your pineapple, cocktail garden, designing coconuts… standard.

Find out more: christabels.co.uk/upcoming-events-shop

4. Hit the streets on an alternative London street-art tour.

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There’s no mistaking the fact that London has some of the most beautiful street art in the country. It also has a lot of 12 year old middle class kids tagging names that they christened themselves piss-poorly in an attempt to look edgy. To make sure you see more by the creatively endowed, check out Alternative London, who run street-tours around the walls of east London. No tour will ever be the same twice with these ever changing walls of urban expressionism. That and the fact someone will inevitably draw a giant dick on one of them.

Needless to say, booking is essential for these tours which run throughout the day, and they give an extremely insightful view on the history and culture of graffiti and street art. Tours do last around two hours however and do involve a lot of walking.

Not a person excited by the prospect of physical movement? Alternative London have also got you covered with - you guessed it - a pub tour around some of east London’s oldest drinking spots. Not to be confused with drinking spots such as that one bench over there and at that court hearing you have for your DUI. The pub tour includes all your favorite tipples.

Find out more: www.buzzfeed.com/danieldalton/alternative-london

5. The electric: COtch with Cocktails & Couches

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What’s the most annoying thing about going to the cinema? Uncomfortable seats, having to decide whether to push past people front or back in the isle? Accidentally rubbing arms with the dodgy looking biker who smells like beer? All reasons why you’d probably prefer to stay at home and catch the latest movie on DVD. But no matter how big your TV is some movies need the big screen and now you can have the best of both worlds.

Hidden away in historical Portobello Road is The Electric Cinema that screens independent fare, with a well stocked bar of drinks you can enjoy while you relax in the armchairs.  Not quite the right location for you? Check out The Screen on the Green in Islington, and the Everyman at Belsize Park for more cool indie cinemas.

While it may seem ironic to peel your ass of your sofa at home to spend an evening, well cotching on the sofa - this unique cinema might just make it worthwhile.

Find out more: electriccinema.co.uk/portobello

6. Escape the world with an escape room experience

Escape rooms are like Pringles, once you pop you can’t stop. Just as well London is packed with escape rooms to choose from. Not sure what it is? If you’ve ever watch Crystal Maze then you’re pretty much there, without the jumpsuits and random D list celebrities.  Every escape room is different, but the general gist is that you get locked in a room and have to solve the clues to escape. While they are a newer concept over here in the UK, they are becoming increasingly popular and many groups of friends and families now have escape room teams. Including a certain celeb who happened upon our Lady Chastity last year and has a tendency to rock up (or should we say wock up) spontaneously at escape rooms around London. 

We have several escape rooms in London with bizarre and twisted themes to tickle your wickedly warped senses. You can also discover more using these escape room directories:

  • playexitgames.com
  • escaperoomblackbook.com
  • escaperoomsdirectory.net
  • allescaperooms.co.uk

Now get busy with these alternative things to do in London

Don’t be tempted to do the same old crap this weekend. Surprise your mates with some quirky suggestions or take your Tinder date somewhere so cool they won’t notice that you look nothing like your picture. Whatever your crew, we hope there’s some quirky pop ups and alternative things to do in there to shake things up for you.