For example did you know this about the London Eye?
Between 3am and 4am (usually, weather permitting), the London Eye is put in to a self-cleaning cycle and rotates at about 6RPM. That doesn't sound like a lot, but that's one revolution every 10 seconds! It gets all the rain, dust, grime etc off, all the mud etc ends up in the thames.
They don't "offically" allow you to ride it in this time, but slipping the cleaners (who aren't the normal ride operators) £20 will get you on one of the pods.
It's a hell of a rush but tbh only a matter of time until someone gets hurt and they stop this.
Or how Celebrity Spotting works?
Celebrity Spotting in London is a fun hobby, but the first and only rule is DO NOT ACKNOWLEDGE THEM OR POINT, it's rude and intrudes on their day, and then we won't get to see them again.
Boy George hangs out at Cargo in Shoreditch quite often for example. Go out and hang around the pubs and clubs and see how many celebs you can spot in one night.
Each celeb has a card punching tool which verifies you have seen them. Ask politely when they're not busy and they'll punch a card for you. Once you have a card with ten punches on, the City of London police will let you have a go on their taser gun (in the safety of their training course).
I tasered an owl out of a tree on my go, and it was fucking hilarious.
Want to look like a real London pro? Make sure you do the following in front of a big crowd
It's a little known fact that the guards at Buckingham Palace (other than having to be very straight faced) are legally obliged to give you a Werther's Original upon request.
Can make you look very knowledgable if you do this in front of a tourist who doesn't know this!
If visiting the aquarium keep this mind:
The London Aquarium is pretty neat, and all the tanks are open-topped - even the shark tanks - and sharks go absolutely NUTS for Bonio biscuits. Use this information as you wish.
Transportation nerds such as myself knew about the following but hoped the wider public wouldn't find out:
Do you know about Mail Rail? Have a search online about it. It's pretty interesting!
Anyway, the claims that it's obselete / non-functional are mostly bullshit to stop people from asking the Royal Mail to have a go on it; they were spending stupid amounts of money just running tourists around. They don't run post through it any more but they do still allow people to ride it using special carts (not the mail carts) - but you have to know how to ask.
To get a ride, just ask your postman, who will bring a form next time he's on his rounds. It costs under £30 a person and you have to book well in advance.
Similar thing applies for the Big Ben by the way - tours are only available through your MP.
Keeping on the transportation theme, did you know your Oyster could do this?
There's a secret mode on most Oyster Top-Up machines. Not the ones on National Rail stations which also sell rail tickets - only the ones London Underground operate, which have the blue starting screen and are always flat on the front.
If you swipe your card, select "Top Up, Cash", then hold your card on the reader for 15+ seconds, it will unlock a small game of pong which plays for 30 seconds. You tap the screen's top or bottom corners to move the paddle up and down.
If there's another person on the network, you'll be paired against them. If you're the only person on the network playing at the time, you'll play against simple A.I.
Your high-score is recorded on your Oyster card when you transact after the game. One game won = 10 points. 100 points can be redeemed for £1 off any fare.
Don't do this when there's a queue though for fucks sake, everyone will hate you.
As a former rickshaw runner in Toronto I can confirm the following one is 100% accurate:
"Best" is subjective but for relatively little money, you can find two or more pedicabs and have them race between locations with your friend(s).
Oxford St to Victoria works well.
Make it clear to all pedicabs that the winner gets a £10 tip. Follow through on that.
Then just sit back and enjoy a mad dash through London.
As a huge tube fan, I was hoping this one wouldn't come to light:
Bank Station is a bit of a maze, and there's a lot of "dead space" between platforms due to this.
TFL staff will deny this for safety reasons, but it's quite well known among city goers that there is a hidden drop slide between the higher levels and the Central Line platforms. Both the start and the end are hidden behind access doors which are locked - most of the time.
Try each door on the way in the station which has some light showing behind it - they're the vented doors not the solid doors - give it a tug. If it opens, there'll be some mats with handles on and you can go for it. You can't get locked in at the bottom as there's a green push-button to release the lower door.
And hey, the Central Line has some pretty cool places to go now you're there, too!
Finally, at the end of your day you'll probably be in need of a drink:
Note this was never a promotion and should not be taken seriously.
Keep it to yourself, but you can get a free cocktail at the bar at the top of the OXO tower if you take ten wrappers from OXO cubes with you. OXO cubes are about £3 a pack and are useful in cooking anyway; everyone's a winner! You get a different cocktail depending on the wrapper type - beef is different to vegetable stock for example. They rotate these choices weekly but they're all pretty cheap cocktails, don't expect too much.
These are just a few of the secret/hidden things locals don't want you to know about. Use them wisely! For more serious ideas you might want to check out my: Things to Do in London: An Incomplete Guide
Also check out these books:
- Secret London - an Unusual Guide
- City Secrets London: The Essential Insider's Guide
- London Under: The Secret History Beneath the Streets
Found via Reddit.