It's my birthday and I'll mess about in London if I want to.
April 17, 2012 2:41 AM   Subscribe

London Mefites: Help! It's my birthday this Thursday, but my SO is away and my friends are all working. I want to do something fun in London for the day, but what - on a probably rainy day, and at such short notice?

For your consideration:
- I've done the big landmarks as I've lived here for years, I need something unusual and different
- I'm quite happy doing whatever it is on my own, so it needs to be something that isn't only do-able in a group
- I've got the whole day, but the weather's going to be bad so it shouldn't be anything which requires sunshine

An example which a friend suggested that I LOVED was to explore the ghost tube stations of London, but unfortunately I believe they are only viewable on special tours which happen irregularly due to security risks. But something cool and different like that, I would love.

Thanks in advance. I'll let you know what I end up doing, hopefully it won't be coming into work!
posted by greenish to Grab Bag (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Have you been to Highgate cemetery? I think that would actually be nice in the rain, as would Brompton.
posted by mippy at 2:47 AM on April 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

You could take a boat from Westminster to Richmond or Hampton Court:
posted by londonmark at 2:59 AM on April 17, 2012

Have you been to the Geffrye?
posted by phunniemee at 4:17 AM on April 17, 2012

What mippy said. Shame you said Thursday, 'cause on Sundays you can visit the catacombs.
posted by likeso at 4:18 AM on April 17, 2012

If you don't mind dividing your time between a number of small things, I have a few suggestions.

In the evening, there's a one-day-only tour of Quay House, which is architecturally interesting. Not as cool as ghost stations, I grant.

You can see the exterior of an old Tube station at York Road; it's been closed since the 1930s but looks so well-preserved that it's hard to believe it won't be opening in the morning for the commuter rush.

The Wellcome Collection has an exhibition entitled "Brains" at the moment, if you felt like pretending to be a window-shopping zombie for a bit.

The Halcyon Gallery's Chihuly exhibition closes at the end of the week; it's weird and captivating.

Underneath the Guildhall Art Gallery lie the remains of London's Roman amphitheatre, and they're open to the public.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 4:29 AM on April 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

Seek out Brian Wilson's amazing sidewalk art. I tried unsuccessfully to Google a current location listing, but you may have better luck.


posted by Quisp Lover at 7:39 AM on April 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

Missing links from above:
Franco Manca
Damian Hirst @ Tate Modern
posted by nickrussell at 9:22 AM on April 17, 2012

If you like biology or medicine, part of your day could include the Hunterian Museum at the royal college of surgeons.

I know you've probably been there before, but Borough Market is usually quieter on Thursdays and it's a great place to pick up some special cheese/sausage/olive oil/jam while you're exploring without the crowds.

You could try to track down one of the traditional pie and mash shops for lunch: - traditional, I think I went to one of these - probably a bit more modern

I used to love booking on for tickets to big musicals. If you can find a matinee they're sometimes quite cheap. Watch out because a lot of the tickets are just as cheap or cheaper from the theatre itself. Alternatively you could go to the theatres on the day itself as many sell cheaper tickets on the day if there are any left.

Personally, I think the British Museum could occupy me for weeks but it might not be your cup of tea.
posted by kadia_a at 10:12 AM on April 17, 2012

I saw a matinee of Matilda the musical on a Thursday. Best show I've seen in years. No link as I'm on my phone, but it's the Royal Shakespeare Company.
posted by goo at 1:50 PM on April 17, 2012

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