Once in a Lifetime: Five Extraordinary Things to Do in London

By: Katie Manning

January 9, 2013

Early morning sunlight over the City of London skyline with the iconic domed roof of St. Paul's Cathedral designed by Sir Christopher Wren in the 17th Century alongside modern skyscrapers Tower 42 and the Swiss Re Building

For us, London is all about getting your hands dirty when it comes to the unique, sometimes life-changing experiences that are on offer in the Big Smoke. There is perhaps no better example of a city steeped in history who’s eyes are set resolutely on the future, and these are five of our favourite experiences that give you a taste of both.


Circus Training at Circus Space

Circus Space London

Circus Space London © Louis Beren



You don’t have to run away to join the circus. When you’re in London just head to Circus Space to experience all the magic of the big top in an old Hoxton power station. Offering training in juggling, flying trapeze, tightrope walking and more, would-be clowns can choose from evening classes and half/full-days – complete beginners are more than welcome but you must be over 17 years old to get involved. (Classes for children are also available.)

Coronet Street, Hoxton, London, N1 6HD, +44 20 7613 4141, 9am-1pm Mon-Thurs; 9am-9pm Fri; 10am-6pm Sat/Sun.


The Italian Job Tour with Small Car Big City

The Italian Job Tour | London

The Italian Job Tour, London © Small Car Big City



We think there are few better ways to take in the sights of London than from the comfort of a classic Mini Cooper – blue boiler suits and tweed flat caps are provided. Navigating your way through the winding streets of the capital, you see everything from Big Ben to Buckingham Palace on a tour that takes just two hours out of your day. And for fans of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – or Will and Kate as they’re more colloquially known – there’s even a special tour that visits all the landmarks of their London life together.

23 Ivory House, Plantation Wharf, Battersea, London, SW11 3TN, +44 20 7585 0399,


Cocktail Making at Vinopolis

Cocktail Making at Vinopolis | London

Cocktail Making at Vinopolis, London © Vinopolis



Shake “˜em like Tom Cruise with a cocktail masterclass at Vinopolis, a shrine to sustenance of the liquid variety. This is a chance to create your own concoctions and brush up your bartending skills so you, too, can serve with slick style. You whip up some of the world’s most popular cocktails from scratch – our favourites are the Classic Dry Martini, Cosmopolitan and Caipirinha, in just a couple of shakes – if you’ll excuse the pun.

No. 1 Bank End, London, SW1 9BU, +44 20 7940 3000, midday-10pm Thurs-Sat, midday-6pm Sun.


Tour of Wembley Stadium

London Once in a Lifetime | Wembley Stadium Tour

Wembley Stadium, London © Lee Thomas/Flickr



From England’s 1966 World Cup triumph to the 1985 Live Aid concert, Wembley is London’s host with the most. Football fans put their best foot forward for the behind-the-scenes tour, which includes a sneak peak of the dressing room, a walk down the Players Tunnel, a visit to the Royal Box and a climb up the 107 sacred Trophy Winner’s steps. These photo opportunities will be the envy of any football fan.

Wembley, Middlesex, London, HA9 0WS, +44 84 4980 8001,


DJ Academy at Ministry of Sound

DJ Academy at Ministry of Sound | London

DJ Academy © Ministry of Sound



We love to mix things up (pardon the pun) and if you do, too, we’d recommend this chance to learn how to man the decks like a pro with a DJ course at Ministry of Sound. And what better place to learn than at one of London’s most iconic superclubs? Choose from one-, two-day and month-long courses.

103 Gaunt Street, Elephant & Castle, SE1 6DP, www.ministryofsound.comOpen: 10.30am-6pm Fri, 11am-7pm Sun.


Feature image © Jim Trodel/Flickr


Katie Manning

Katie is an author for the Virgin Atlantic blog. Despite her urban London residency, Katie can often be found exploring far-flung corners of the globe in search of exciting new experiences and stories. A self-confessed night-owl, she makes it her mission to search out the best cocktail bars and live music venues on each and every expedition. Follow Katie @kt_saramanning

Categories: Our Places