10+ Secret London Ontario Things to Do

Uncover the secrets of Eldon House, London's oldest residence. Who walked these halls? Find out the chilling tales hidden within…
Date Published
March 8, 2024

Table of Contents

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Think you know all there is to see and do in London, Ontario? Think again! Beyond the regular tourist traps, this gem of Southwestern Ontario is a jackpot of cultural, historical, and natural hotspots that'll have you rethinking everything you thought you knew about this Canadian city. Sure, you might have breezed through Victoria Park during festival season or taken the mandatory snap by the iconic Eldon House, but have you really experienced all the local vibe?

You're in for a treat because we are about to go on an explorative spree that’s as diverse as the crowd at Trails End Farmers Market on a sunny Saturday. From strolling through the hushed beauty of the secret gardens at Western University to casting a line like a local at Fanshawe Conservation Area, we've got the inside scope on the truly captivating things to do in London, Ontario. Let’s kickstart this journey and uncover the city's heart, one eclectic experience at a time!

Unearth Local History at Eldon House

Imagine stepping back into the 19th century, where every room tells a story and every artifact holds a secret. That's what you'll experience at the Eldon House, the oldest residence in London, Ontario. It's not just a historical site; it's a time capsule where you can literally walk through local history.

So, what makes Eldon House unique?

  • It's living history: Eldon House is impeccably preserved, giving you an authentic glimpse of life in Ontario from the 1800s.
  • Gorgeous gardens: The grounds are free to explore and offer a peaceful retreat with beautiful gardens that will make you feel like London nobility.
  • Special events: They host Victorian-themed events, truly bringing history to life.

It's perfect for history buffs, curious kids, and anyone looking to escape the modern world for a bit. Give yourself a good hour or two to soak in the elegance, and don't forget to check out the stunning river view!

Nearby, you'll find beautiful trails and parks, ideal for continuing your day in the fresh air. And whether you're a solo adventurer or with your family, Eldon House has a charm that appeals to all.

Ready to add a touch of class and curiosity to your London adventure? Just step through the doors of Eldon House and let the past enchant you. Trust me, you'll leave feeling a deeper connection to this vibrant city's roots.

Attend a Festive Gathering at Victoria Park

Imagine yourself smack in the middle of London, Ontario, surrounded by laughter, twinkling lights, and the smell of delicious food wafting through the air. That's Victoria Park for you, a festive playground that brings together families, friends, and the joy of celebration!

Now, why should you, your kids, or maybe that fun-loving inner child of yours jet over to Victoria Park? Because it's the spot where local culture pops like popcorn! Victoria Park isn't just a park; it's a festival haven with more than 10+ events throughout the year that are nothing short of delightful. It's the kind of place where you can experience something new every time you visit. From the Winter Wonderland with its twinkling holiday lights to the sizzling grills of Ribfest, there's something special going on regardless of the season.

Let's break down what makes Victoria Park an ultimate family hangout:

  • Accessibility: Right in the heart of downtown London, you can't miss it. You're a stone's throw away from other local attractions, making it the perfect pit-stop or a full-day adventure spot.
  • Entertainment for all: Whether you're here with toddlers fascinated by clowns or teens after the concert scene, there's joy to be found for every age group.
  • Time to spend: You'll want to hang out for at least a couple of hours – there's so much to see, do, and eat!
  • Vibrant atmosphere: You'll feel like you've stepped into the epicenter of London's buzz. It's a social hotspot where the community's pulse is felt strongest.

What's nearby? Loads! Pop into any of the adorable coffee shops that frame the park, or if retail therapy beckons, the stores are a short walk away.

Pro-tip for the social savants – check out the local lineup of events at Victoria Park before you go to make sure you're stepping right into the fiesta of your choice.

So, pack your picnic blanket, round up the troops, and dive headfirst into the heartwarming hubbub that is Victoria Park. It's truly a place where London's spirit shines, where every laugh feels homegrown, and each bite of that corn on the cob tastes like pure summer joy.

Experience Nature at Sifton Bog

Alright, you green-thumbed nature enthusiasts and fresh-air fiends, let's talk about a place that'll knock your synthetic socks off and replace them with mossy slippers: Sifton Bog. This is not your average walk in the park; it's an eco-adventure in the midst of London, Ontario, where you'll feel like you’ve stepped into a fantasy novel, minus the trolls, of course (or so we hope).

Imagine a place where you can unravel the layers of nature's artistry, step by humble step. Sifton Bog is where you'll find yourself encircled by rare plants that are as picky about where they grow as a toddler in a veggie patch. Your olfactory senses are in for a treat because this place smells like earth hugged by dewy leaves.

Bring along your binoculars, your keen eyes might catch the secretive scuttle of a spotted salamander or the flit of a jewel-toned dragonfly. And for the love of feathered things, the bird-watching is sublime! It's ideal for:

  • Solo explorers looking for tranquility.
  • Families teaching kiddos about ecosystems.
  • Couples who’d swear they've wandered into Narnia.

You don’t need a full-day here; a couple of hours will suffice to get lost (metaphorically, we hope) in the boardwalk trails that seem to hover like magic carpets over the marsh. This little gem is nestled away enough to make you feel like an intrepid explorer yet accessible enough that you’ll be back in time for dinner – or to continue your London adventure.

Plus, after getting your dose of photosynthesis-fueled joy, there's more nearby. You can swing by other London Ontario parks and nature spots to keep the outdoor vibes going. Oh, and it's the perfect palette cleanser from the buzz of the city—a green sanctuary waiting to embrace you with its leafy arms. So, lace up those hiking boots, and let's hit the boardwalks, shall we?

Imagine yourself wandering through a vibrant collection of ceramic masterpieces, each piece telling its own unique story. That's the Jonathon Bancroft-Snell Gallery for you—London Ontario's hub for the art-loving soul, nestled cozily in the city's dynamic core. It's where creativity meets clay, and trust me, it's far from your ordinary art gallery.

This place is a haven for those of you craving a visual feast. Here's why you should drop everything and visit:

  • Discover an array of exceptional ceramic art: From whimsical figures to sophisticated vessels, the gallery showcases an eclectic mix sure to resonate with anyone who appreciates artistry in its tangible form.
  • Meet the artisans: Strike up a conversation with the local talent. These artists pour their hearts into their creations, and they're the backbone of this cultural gem in London.
  • Become part of the art scene: Whether you're a pottery enthusiast or a newbie, the warmth of this community space will envelop you like the cozy hug we all sometimes need.

Now, you might be wondering how long you should dedicate to this artistic sanctuary. Give yourself a good hour or two to fully soak up the ambiance. Walk around, sip some coffee, and just let the art do the talking.

It's a hit for date nights, solo explorations, or an artsy outing with friends. And while the gallery is indeed a treasure for adults, kids with a knack for art will find it as mesmerizing as any mysterious world hidden inside their favorite storybooks. It's laid-back, unstuffy, and absolutely brimming with creative energy.

Once you've had your fill of ceramic splendor, step out and continue your art journey—many of London's other cultural attractions are just a heartbeat away. And if you fall head over heels for a piece? Many works are for sale, so you can bring a slice of this artistic utopia home with you.

Tap into your inner art connoisseur and immerse yourself in the Jonathon Bancroft-Snell Gallery's ocean of ceramics. Let each piece whisper its story to you, enriching your London escapade with every color and curve.

Stroll Through the Western University's Secret Garden

Imagine yourself wandering through an enchanting secret garden, where every path leads to a new discovery and every corner whispers a different story. Welcome to the hidden gem nestled within the grounds of Western University—a place where serenity and academia blend seamlessly.

What's so special about this place? You've just stumbled upon a slice of paradise, my friend. This isn't your typical college campus spot. It's a tranquil haven where students, professors, and visitors can take a breath, enjoy the vibrant blooms, and let the soft hum of nature's soundtrack wash over them.

Tucked away, this garden is a free activity that offers just the right mix of peace and quiet, without leaving London, Ontario's lively heartbeat too far behind. It's not just a pretty face either—packed with lush greenery and seasonal flowers, it's a living classroom for botany enthusiasts and a picturesque study spot for stressed-out students.

How long should you spend here? Give yourself at least an hour—trust me, you'll want to soak up every serene moment. Whether you're a solo wanderer seeking reflection or a family looking for a cost-free escape, the gardens will allure you with their understated charm.

Who will enjoy it? If your soul craves a quiet retreat or if you're a bit of a romantic at heart, you're in for a treat. Couples, behold the perfect backdrop for a cozy moment together! And if you're all about snapping that perfect Instagram shot, the garden's natural splendor provides an idyllic canvas.

Nearby, what's good? When you're ready to return from your tranquil trance, the vibrant campus life is just steps away. Pop into a café, debate philosophy with a student or simply people-watch—whatever floats your boat.

Get ready to fall in love with the Western University's Secret Garden, where moments of tranquility are as bountiful as the flora that thrives there. It's a quintessential slice of London, Ontario that locals cherish and visitors envy. Now go ahead, indulge in nature's embrace and let this secret space refresh your spirit!

Discover Unique Finds at Trails End Farmers Market

Alright, treasure hunters and foodie enthusiasts, get ready to experience the charm and bounty of Trails End Farmers Market. Nestled on the outskirts of London, Ontario, this local gem is where community comes to life among fresh produce and one-of-a-kind artisanal goods.

Step into a world where each stall is a kaleidoscope of colors and scents. The market is not just a place; it's a Saturday morning ritual for Londoners, who flock here faster than kids to an ice cream truck. Bursting with locally-grown fruits and vegetables, you can feel the farm's freshness with every crunch of an apple or sniff of aromatic herbs.

But that's just the appetizer. The main course? How about house-made sausages that sing with flavor, or fresh-baked bread that's so good, it might just bring a tear to your eye. Take your pick from delicate pastries, or for the adventurous, dive into the dizzying array of international cuisines, from pierogies to samosas, all made with a local twist.

The market's not just for the foodies though. Scour through antiques that whisper tales of bygone eras, or snag that quirky handcrafted jewelry that screams 'unique'. And if you're into chatting up locals and learning their secrets to the perfect strawberry jam, this is your nirvana.

As you wander the aisles, the sounds of laughter and live music fill the air, adding rhythm to your exploration. With family-friendly vibes all around, spend a good half-day here to truly soak it all in, leaving you enriched—and perhaps a tad fuller—by the end of it.

So, why not turn an ordinary weekend into an extraordinary adventure? Check out the Trails End Farmers Market and infuse your life with a little local love, and maybe, just maybe, find that perfect something you didn't even know you were looking for.

Savor Local Flavors at a Downtown Food Tour

Picture this: you're meandering through the vibrant downtown streets of London, Ontario, with the alluring scents of freshly baked pastries, sizzling delicacies, and rich coffee wafting through the air. Welcome to the Downtown Food Tour, an absolute must-do for any self-professed foodie or anyone who just loves to eat!

This is no ordinary food crawl. As you hop from one mouth-watering spot to another, you'll soon realize why eating out in London Ontario is an experience unto itself. Each restaurant and café oozes uniqueness with a dash of local charm, offering a smorgasbord of flavors that will tantalize your taste buds. It’s a culinary adventure where each bite tells a story of local heritage and culinary craftsmanship. So, what's on the menu? Here’s the scoop:

  • Scrumptious pastries that are basically happiness wrapped in flaky dough.
  • Artisanal sandwiches with ingredients so fresh, you’d think they were still in the garden this morning.
  • Gourmet chocolates that could easily be mistaken for little nuggets of pure joy.

And that's just for starters! There's so much more waiting for you. You'll spend an afternoon meandering through eateries, rubbing elbows with locals, and learning why each dish or treat is a point of pride for this community.

Now, who's good company for such an escapade, you ask? Whether you’re flying solo, dragging along your food-loving friends, or making it a family affair, this food tour will hit the spot. You’ll join kindred spirits who believe that good food is the secret spice of life.

Just make sure to wear your comfy shoes because this is one feast that's enjoyed on your feet. Dedicate at least a good few hours if you want to savor each taste and story behind London's hidden gastronomic gems. It’s not just about eating; it’s about falling in love with a place, one bite at a time.

Ready to eat your heart out? Check out the Downtown Food Tour and make sure you bring your appetite – you're going to need it!

Go Antique Hunting on Dundas Street

Imagine you're strolling down Dundas Street. The crisp air fills your lungs as you meander through the heart of London, Ontario's antique district. It's a place where the past and the present lock eyes across a crowded room and decide to slow dance. Hold on to your wallets because honey, you're about to uncover some hidden treasures that scream with stories of yesteryear.

Dundas Street is where antique shopping in London Ontario becomes less of a hunt and more of an enchanting journey through time. Wanna snag a vintage vinyl that whispers sweet nothings of the old days? Or perhaps a classic teapot that's steeped in history and perfect for brewing your Sunday Earl Grey? This is your go-to street for those one-of-a-kind finds that just ooze character.

Now, let's get down to brass tacks:

  • Time Spent: Give yourself a solid half-day if you're serious about digging for those diamonds in the rough.
  • Who's It For?: Perfect for history buffs, vintage fashionistas, and anyone with an eye for old-world charm.
  • Kid-friendly?: Older kids with an appreciation for the quirky and quaint might dig it, but toddlers might just see it as a long day of old stuff.
  • What's Nearby?: Coffee shops to fuel your adventure, and sweet eateries to toast your victorious finds.

Before you embark on this antiquated escapade, swot up on some choice spots by visiting the enchanting world behind the Dundas Street shopping. It's not just about what you're buying; it's the thrill of the hunt, it's the stories behind the objects. Maybe that art deco lamp you've eyed is more than just a light source; maybe it's the beacon that's led you to your new favorite nook of London.

Between the browsing, bargaining, and basking in the history of it all, you'll find that Dundas Street isn't just a place, it's an experience – a whirlwind of nostalgia where every item has a tale to tell. Will you be the next character in its story?

Enjoy Tranquil Moments at St. John the Divine Orthodox Church

Imagine stepping into a quiet sanctuary, where the walls echo with centuries-old traditions and the air is thick with a sense of serenity. This isn't just any place; it's St. John the Divine Orthodox Church, a hidden gem in London, Ontario, offering an escape into a world of cultural richness.

For those in need of spiritual solace or a cultural experience, St. John the Divine Orthodox Church is spot-on. It serves as a grounding retreat amidst the buzz of modern life. But what makes this church unique? Well, it's not just a place of worship; it embodies London Ontario's diverse cultural tapestry.

This church is perfect for:

  • Solitude seekers
  • Cultural enthusiasts
  • History buffs
  • Anyone looking to reflect and meditate

Nestled among the cityscape, this Orthodox oasis is ripe with striking iconography and Byzantine architecture. It breathes history and whispers tales of the faithful who have passed through its doors.

Now, don't think it's all quiet contemplation here. The church's grounds are an excellent place to explore, especially if you appreciate artistry in religious architecture. And when you step outside, you're just moments away from other cultural experiences. So, plan to spend at least an hour here, soaking in the tranquil vibes and ornate surroundings.

Whether you're flying solo, with your family, or a friend, this church welcomes all. It's an experience that's as soul-filling for children as it is for adults. No need to rev up for adrenaline-fueled exploits; the real thrill here is the peace you'll find within.

What are you waiting for? A slice of spiritual serenity and cultural wonder awaits at St. John the Divine Orthodox Church. And guess what, you can enjoy it without the noisy crowds—a true secret spot in London's heart.

Let the tranquility envelop you; it's a moment just for you, right here in London, Ontario.

Explore Architectural Wonders at London Roundhouse

Picture yourself stepping into a scene bristling with innovation and history—welcome to the London Roundhouse. What's that now? Oh, just a steam-era locomotive repair shop that's been marvelously transformed into a jaw-dropping office space. It's like time travel with a modern twist.

This isn't just any old brick building. The Roundhouse is a stellar example of historic buildings in London, Ontario, with its 19th-century charm buttressed by swanky 21st-century design. It's the kind of place that catches your eye and refuses to let go. Its enormous curved doors are like the portal to a secret historical universe—except it's not a secret anymore!

So, who hangs out here? This gem is a hit among architecture buffs and folks who can't resist a good origin story. Here's what's cool—you can mosey around the exterior and snap some epic pics that'll have your Instagram friends green with envy. Oh, and did I mention the vibes? This place truly gives off an 'if these walls could talk' kind of vibe. You can almost hear the clinks and clatters of trains from yesteryears.

If you're into historic buildings in London Ontario, then brace yourself to spend at least a good hour here, soaking in the industrial grandeur and thinking, "Wow, they really don't make 'em like this anymore!" It's just outside the downtown core, which makes it a perfect pit stop before you dive into some more urban adventures.

Whether you're flying solo or dragging the family along for some solid edutainment, the London Roundhouse is like a magnet for anyone who's got a thing for places that tell a story. Oh, and just so you know, this place is also a pretty snazzy spot for events—so maybe you'll get lucky and stroll into some exclusive shebang.

Now, go on, get over there and witness this architectural splendor in person. You'll walk away feeling a bit more connected to London's past, and hey, you might just get inspired to create something new yourself!

Unleash Creativity at East Village Arts Co-op

Imagine yourself wandering into a space where creativity bursts from every corner, where colorful palettes and inspired minds come alive. Welcome to the East Village Arts Co-op, a hidden gem that's all about getting those creative juices flowing!

This isn't your average art store; it's a community hub where imaginations run wild. Whether you're a seasoned artist or someone who can barely draw a stick figure, this place welcomes you with open arms and a paintbrush for your masterpiece-in-waiting.

Why should you spend your precious time here? Here's the canvas laid out for you:

  • Art Workshops: Get hands-on with pottery, painting, or maybe some jewelry making. Unleash your inner Picasso!
  • Local Art: Support local artists by admiring and purchasing unique artwork. It's like a treasure hunt for your living room wall.
  • Community Vibe: Meet fellow art enthusiasts. Great for singles, couples, or the whole fam!

The vibes here cater to freeing the mind and expression in tangible forms. Set aside an afternoon; you'll want to embrace the art scene fully and perhaps strike up a conversation with London’s local talent. This spot is perfect for every kind of crowd, from the soulful solo adventurer to the creative family looking to make some memories together.

After you've freed your inner artist, take a leisurely stroll in the neighborhood and discover eclectic shops that might just sell the quirky souvenir you've been looking for. The East Village Arts Co-op is more than just a place—it's an experience that connects you to the vibrant heartbeat of London, Ontario's artistic community.

Art is an adventure, and your next colorful escapade awaits right at the East Village Arts Co-op—the place where magic happens and you're part of it. Don't just take my word for it, check it out and paint some memories in your own hues of happiness!

Cast a Line at the Fanshawe Conservation Area

Imagine yourself surrounded by the lush greenery of Fanshawe Conservation Area - the gentle hum of nature in the background and the promise of a big catch just awaiting your line. There's a reason why locals and those with a fishing pole in tow rave about the thrills of casting a line here.

Packed with serene beauty, Fanshawe Conservation Area is one of London Ontario's prime fishing spots, where both the solitude-seeking angler and the animated family groups find joy. Here's the bait: this picturesque location isn't just a top-tier fishing haven; it's a full-fledged escape from the city's hustle, all without straying too far from London's heart.

You could easily spend half a day here, basking in the bucolic bliss. Early mornings are especially magical when the mist rises off the water and the world seems still - trust me, it's a view that makes you forget to check your phone. And let's not sidestep the variety of fish waiting to greet you. From bass to pike, your fishing tales are about to get an upgrade!

Sure, you might come here for the tranquil fishing, but with over 20 kilometers of trails, picnicking spots, and a reservoir that's a playground for canoes and kayaks, this is no one-trick pony. Oh, and if you're the sporting type, why not turn your visit into a multi-activity extravaganza?

For those epic family outings, there are plenty of spots with room to spread out and let the kids roam free. And for that friend who wouldn't touch a worm with a ten-foot pole? They'll be pleased as punch with the hiking trails and wildlife photography ops.

It doesn't matter if you're here for the whisper of the reel or the echoes of laughter from a family hike - the Fanshawe Conservation Area is a purveyor of pure outdoor delight, inviting all who seek a natural escape and a sprinkle of angler's luck.

FAQ

Q: What are some unusual things to do in London, Ontario?

A: Hit up an escape room, explore Eldon House, or join a ghost tour for a quirky twist to your London adventure.

Q: What can you do in London, Ontario, this weekend?

A: Check out local farmers' markets, catch a live show at the Grand Theatre, or stroll through Victoria Park.

Q: What are fun activities for young adults in London, Ontario?

A: Young adults can enjoy the nightlife on Richmond Row, try indoor rock climbing, or attend a music festival.

Q: What things are there to do for adults in London, Ontario?

A: Adults can savor a wine tasting, tour the Labatt Brewery, or relax at the Springbank Park.

Q: What's happening in London, Ontario today?

A: Find today's events by visiting London's tourism website or checking out community bulletin boards for up-to-date happenings.

Q: What are some free things to do in London, Ontario?

A: Visit the Thames Valley Trail for a hike, explore public art, or enjoy a picnic at one of the city parks, all for zero bucks.

A: London is known for its vibrant arts scene, lively festivals, and as the birthplace of insulin.

Q: How to spend a day out in London?

A: Start with breakfast at a local café, hit the museums, have lunch downtown, then end with a walk by the river.

Q: What makes London Ontario special?

A: Its unique blend of historical sites, cultural festivals, and proximity to the Great Lakes makes it a standout.

Q: Is London Ontario an expensive city?

A: Compared to larger Canadian cities like Toronto and Vancouver, London is relatively affordable.

Final Words

Alright, so we've had quite the adventure, haven't we? From the historical whispers at Eldon House to the festive vibes at Victoria Park, and let's not forget the peaceful nature walks at Sifton Bog. We ogled some seriously cool art, tiptoed through secret gardens, and haggled at the farmers market. Hungry? That food tour downtown had our mouths watering.

We hunted for antiques, got our peace on at St. John the Divine, and marveled at the Roundhouse. Unleashing our inner artists at East Village Arts Co-op was a blast, and casting lines at Fanshawe Conservation Area? A perfect chill-out spot.

Listen, this is only a taste of all the amazing things to do in London, Ontario. Every nook and cranny here has something special—so go on, dive into these experiences, and make some memories!

Meet the Author
Aria Ohlsson
Aria Ohlsson, the Instagram storyteller extraordinaire, takes you on adventures through her enchanting narratives. An avid hiker, she scales peaks and weaves tales of mountaintop triumphs. When she's not conquering trails, you'll find her immersed in classic novels, finding inspiration for her next tale.
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