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3 Unusual Sights You Should See In London

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If you have already been on a London sightseeing tour, and have seen all the landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London and Madame Tussauds, then why not explore some of the more unusual attractions in London? The following are three unusual destinations for a unique visit to England’s capital.

1. Leadenhall Market

Leadenhall Market, London
Leadenhall Market by Diliff/Wikimedia

This ornate 19th century market dates back to the Victorian era and if you are a Harry Potter fan, you might have had a glimpse of the marketplace before. Located in the financial district of the city, Leadenhall Market is a quaint and unusual place to do a little shopping and to make it more magical, the covered market starred as the Leaky Cauldron and Diagon Alley in some of the Harry Potter movies.

The covered market has been around since the 14th century, but was prettied up with its red and green roof in 1881. The market is now a popular shopping destination. As you wander around, window shopping or enjoying a little retail therapy, look out for certain places. One is Bull’s Head Passage where a blue door marks the entrance to an optics shop (see photo below). This shop front was used as the entry to the Leaky Cauldron in the 2005 film “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.” Other areas of the market were used as the set for Diagon Alley, where Hogwarts students stocked up on their magical school supplies. 
London's smallest police station
Photo Leadenhall Market by Dtobias/Wikimedia

2. Highgate Cemetery

Next stop on our weird and wonderful tour of London is the Highgate Cemetery. This spooky and eerie place was the scene of dueling magicians and vampire hunters in the past.
 
Highgate Cemetery, London
Photo Highgate Cemetery by Panyd/Wikimedia

The cemetery was opened in 1839 and was originally dubbed one of London’s “Magnificent Seven” cemeteries. This was from a time when burials were moved out of the city itself due to overcrowded churchyard cemeteries.

However these days the tombstones and surroundings are somewhat overgrown and shabby. Some famous people lie here, including that of Karl Marx and a photo of his tomb is included below. Douglas Adams, the science fiction author, also lies in the cemetery. 
Tomb of Karl Marx in Highgate Cemetery, London
Photo Karl Marx tomb by Paasikivi/Wikimedia

Due to its eerie appearance, Highgate Cemetery also starred in films, especially the Hammer horror films of the 70s. This led to a increase in interest in the cemetery with stories appearing in the news of grave desecration, robbing and vampires.

Atlas Obscura quotes from the book “Beyond the Grave,” where it talks of a “particular creature hovering over the graves. The story goes on to tell of “vampire hunters” who regularly appeared in the cemetery late at night. They were said to have broken open tombs and mutilated corpses with wooden stakes driven through their hearts. The story tells of two magicians who were said to have dueled in the eerie spot.

3. God’s Own Junkyard

God’s Own Junkyard is located in the newly gentrified Walthamstow. This improvement to the drab area of London attracted hipsters and young creatives to the area. Part of this resulted in a kaleidoscopic warehouse full of handmade neon signs.
God's Own Junkyard, London
Photo God's Own Junkyard by G Travels/Flickr

Marcus Bracey, a neon artisan, is responsible for God’s Own Junkyard, which serves several different functions. One is a recycling spot for business signage, another as the perfect prop shop for photo and film shoots and also a free art gallery.  It is also ideal for those who want to post really great shots to their Instagram and other social media accounts.

Every wall is covered in multi-coloured signs, advertising everything from karaoke, casinos to cocktails. The warehouse is only open to the public over weekends. The official God’s Own Junkyard website gives detailed directions on how to find this colourful sight.
God's Own Junkyard, London
Photo God's Own Junkyard by Martin Deutsch/Flickr

Enjoy your next visit to London and try to fit in one of these weird and wonderful attractions during your stay in the city.

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Latest update: August 21, 2018