London's Most Thrilling Adventures

Harry Rosehill
By Harry Rosehill Last edited 24 months ago
London's Most Thrilling Adventures

Tired of the same old, same old? We've found a selection of thrilling London adventures, no matter how you define the term (one man's thrilling is another's ridiculous...).

Vertical Chill

Ice Climbing

Dress up like Nana and Popo and scale some (indoor) treacherous icy climbs. The appropriately named Vertical Chill in Covent Garden gives punters the chance to feel like they're climbing Everest, without the risk or logistical effort of actually climbing Everest. It's a win-win situation, really.

Fringes of London pub crawls

One member of Team Londonist had a unique way of getting to know the city when he first got here. He'd travel to a random area with a few mates and they'd make up their own pub crawl. We love and highly recommend this adventurous approach. Even if you've lived in this city your entire life, there must still be places on the fringes you've never been to. We checked out some of London's frontier pubs, if you're looking for a starting point.

White water rafting

Lea Valley's white water rafting centre was the course used in the London 2012 Olympics. It was thrilling back then when there were olympic medals and a lifetime of fame at stake for top-notch athletes, but now it's your turn.

We've got some bad (or possibly good) news. You're going in the water no matter what. You might be an supreme paddler, but you have to jump into the freezing cold water to see if you can handle the shock. After that, it's just a matter of skill to see how many more times you fall in.

Find the true night time sky

We all know that in most parts of the city, there's too much light pollution to see the stars in the sky above us. However, if you're in a big park at night on the outskirts of London, with no man-made light sources around, you can spot the stunning constellations millions of miles away. Morden Hall Park and Grove Park are both good shouts for this.

The night sky from Alperton. Photo: Nigel Bewley

Kennington Loop

Did you know about the Kennington Loop? The most illicit of our thrilling adventures, you'll feel you heart rate spike as you break TfL's sacred rules and travel on the secret Kennington Loop.

No idea what we're talking about? The Kennington Loop is how southbound Northern line trains that terminate at Kennington, re-emerge only a few minutes later heading north. You're not technically allowed on the train while it's on the loop, so make sure you're in the rear carriage where the tube driver can't see you. Now isn't that naughty and thrilling?

Watch everyone's favourite misbehaver Geoff Marshall travel the loop:

Mudlarking on the Thames

Mudlarking is the act of scouring the mud on a river bank for pieces of history. It's an eye-opening experience to discover parts of London's past, washed up on the banks of the Thames, some of which have been sitting there for centuries. We found clay pipes, rubble from the Blitz and prehistoric flint. If you're looking to get involved, try a walk with the Thames Discovery Programme.

Abseil the Orbit

The ArcelorMittal Orbit is technically London's largest sculpture and is best known for housing the world's tallest and longest slide. There's more than one bonkers fun way to get down from the top though. You can rappel yourself off the structure and abseil to the bottom (like we did). You'll see stunning views of London as you go, with the city's skyscrapers poking their heads out in the distance. It's only on very select dates; find details on the website.

The Orbit. Photo: Sean Batten

Man vs Food

No, not that ridiculous American TV show. There's a restaurant in Hounslow which is ready and waiting to challenge you with insane amounts of food. Can you eat the enormous meals within the strict time limit? If you beat the challenge while doing something crazy, you can bask in the glory of being one of the legends (you get a spot on the website). So go on and get that metre long hot dog you've always dreamed of, or destroy the banana split belly filler with only a teaspoon.

A lot of the other offerings on this list aim to get your blood pumping, but this place might clog up your arteries so much it makes that rather difficult. Oh well, it's still worth it.

Highgate Hill the fast way

Dust off your trusty old skateboard and head to north London. Go to the top of Highgate Hill and look at the drop beneath you. Just breathe the view and the adrenaline as you prepare to channel your inner Evel Knievel. Now roll all the way down to Archway. No turning or slowing allowed, lest you be branded a coward. Google Maps says it takes 15 minutes to walk. We think you can do it two. Good luck and godspeed.*

*There is a tad of sarcasm in this suggestion. Londonist in no way advocates doing this. Please, for the love of God, don't do it.

Last Updated 22 December 2016