Activities & Adventure 12 MINS READ

The 21 Most Amazing Hidden Gems In London

The 21 Most Amazing Hidden Gems In London

Activities & Adventure 12 MINS READ
Hidden Gems In London

London is full to the brim with instantly recognizable attractions like Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey. But these popular London landmarks are not all there is to see in the city. Throughout the English capital, there’s a plethora of secret spots that travelers and even locals don’t know about. From a secret lush garden hidden inside a skyscraper to the tiniest police station in Britain, we’ve rounded up the 21 best-hidden gems in London that’ll leave you in awe.

The 21 Best Hidden Gems In London

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Leadenhall Market

Hidden Gems In London - Leadenhall Market, London, England.
📌 LocationGracechurch St, London EC3V 1LT. Find on map
🚉 Getting ThereThe nearest tube station is Monument
🛏️ Stay NearbyPremier Inn London City Tower Hill | Check Availability

Leadenhall Market dates back to 1321 and is situated in what was the center of Roman London. Originally a meat, poultry, and game market, it is now home to a number of boutique retailers, restaurants, cafes, wine bars, and an award-winning pub.

Located in what was the heart of Roman London, the Leadenhall Market was founded in 1321 as a meat, poultry, and game market. This history-filled market is set within a Grade II listed building, which was designed by Horace Jones and features a spectacular wrought iron and glass structure.

The market’s current airy and light structure was created in 1881 to replace the stone market previously created by Lord Mayor of London, Dick Whittington in the 15th Century. 

At this covered market in London, located on Gracechurch Street, you’ll come across a delightful selection of boutique retailers, restaurants, cafes, wine bars, and an award-winning pub — The Lamb Tavern.

Fun Fact: Part of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was filmed at Leadenhall Market.

Chelsea Physic Garden

Hidden Gems In London - Chelsea Physic Garden, London, England.
📌 Location66 Royal Hospital Rd, London SW3 4HS. Find on map
🚉 Getting ThereThe nearest tube station is Sloane Square
🛏️ Stay NearbyChelsea Cloisters | Check Availability

If you are itching to uncover hidden gems in London, make sure to visit Chelsea Physic Garden. Located on the edge of the Thames Embankment, this lesser-known green space was founded in 1673 (it’s the oldest botanical garden in London), by The Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of London for its apprentices to study medicinal plants and their uses.

Here, you’ll find a unique living collection of around 4,000 edible, medicinal and historical plants. Some of the dazzling species you’ll find while exploring the garden include the UK’s largest fruiting olive tree, the world’s most northerly outdoor grapefruit tree, and the impressive Echium Pininiana with its 8-foot blue flower spikes.

Maltby Street Market

Hidden Gems In London - Maltby Street Market, London, England.
📌 LocationArch 46, Ropewalk, Maltby St, London SE1 3PA. Find on map
🚉 Getting ThereThe nearest tube station is Bermondsey
🛏️ Stay NearbySt Christopher’s Inn London Bridge | Check Availability

Maltby Street Market is one of the must-visit hidden gems in London. Located near Tower Bridge, this quirky outdoor market occupies a narrow private yard and reunites an array of vendors selling fresh produce, and mouthwatering food.

You’ll find a much smaller selection than the iconic Borough Market here. But you won’t be disappointed. Some of the highlights are La Pepia, famous for their lip-smacking Venezuelan arepas, Duck Frites, known for serving innovative duck dishes, and Amen, praised for making lip-smacking Ethiopian sautéed meat with vegetables.

Sir John Soane’s Museum

Hidden Gems In London - Sir John Soane's Museum, London, UK.
📌 Location13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A 3BP. Find on map
🚉 Getting ThereThe nearest tube station is Holborn
🛏️ Stay NearbyAstor Museum Hostel | Check Availability

Sir John Soane’s Museum is a lovely house museum located in the building that was formerly the home of neo-classical architect and avid book collector, John Soane.

The museum is home to a precious collection of antiquities, furniture, sculptures, and architectural models, as well as jaw-dropping paintings by artists like Hogarth, Turner, and Canaletto.

You’ll also find 30,000 architectural drawings, which can be seen by appointment at the Research Library.

Holland Park & The Kyoto Garden

Hidden Gems In London - The Kyoto Garden, in Holland Park, London, England.
📌 LocationIlchester Pl, London W8 6LU. Find on map
🚉 Getting ThereThe nearest tube station is Holland Park Station
🛏️ Stay NearbyNotting Hill Gate Hotel | Check Availability

London is embellished with ver 3,000 idyllic parks sought after by those seeking to escape the city’s hustle and bustle.

Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, and Regent’s Park are some of the most visited in the city, but there’s a range of lesser-known parks that provide an alluring backdrop for idle strolls, picnics, and other fun activities.

For a quieter park experience away from the tourists, visit Holland Park. This lush green space encompasses 22.5 hectares of gardens, including the dreamy Kyoto Garden, which is beautifully decorated with a bridge, stone lanterns, red Japanese maple trees, and a koi pond.

Eltham Palace

Hidden Gems In London - Eltham Palace, London, England.
📌 LocationCourt Yard, London SE9 5QE. Find on map
🚉 Getting ThereThe nearest tube station is Mottingham
🛏️ Stay NearbyPremier Inn London Eltham | Check Availability

Eltham Palace is a lavish estate with a fascinating history. Often regarded as “one of the best hidden gems in London” the house is located in the southeast, within the Royal Borough of Greenwich, and was once one of the largest and most frequented royal residences in England.

Edward III spent much of his youth in Eltham and frequently visited the mansion as king. The property was also a favored hunting spot of Henry VIII.

The royal palace fell into decline until the 1930s but still managed to dazzle and inspire thanks to its rich history and architectural grandeur. This former medieval palace was transformed into a lavish Art Deco mansion by eccentric millionaires Stephen and Virginia Courtauld.

Inside, visitors can discover a series of rooms dramatically decorated with gold mosaics and onyx tiles, black and silver doors depicting London Zoo animals, and a statue of the goddess Psuche.

Despite the renewed interiors, the mansion still preserves the magnificent great hall built for Edward IV in the 1470s for court dining, entertaining, and receptions.

Eltham is beautifully surrounded by 19 acres of well-manicured award-winning gardens.

London Silver Vaults

Hidden Gems In London - Silver tableware.
📌 Location53-64 Chancery Ln, London WC2A 1QS. Find on map
🚉 Getting ThereThe nearest tube station is Chancery Lane
🛏️ Stay NearbyDoubleTree by Hilton London West End | Check Availability

Located in central London, beneath Chancery Lane, London Silver Vaults is a large subterranean market dating back to the 1880s. This historic market features 29 shops selling antique and modern silver, and jewelry from the early 1600s to the present day.

Hampstead Hill Garden and Pergola

Hidden Gems In London - Hampstead Pergola, in London, England.
📌 LocationInverforth Cl, London NW3 7EX. Find on map
🚉 Getting ThereThe closest station is Golders Green on the Northern Line
🛏️ Stay NearbyThe Hide London | Check Availability

Hampstead Hill Garden and The Pergola are some of the most eye-popping hidden gems in London. They were part of an early 19th-century villa that was rebuilt and extended by Sir William Lever, Viscount Leverhulme.

The dreamy and artfully landscaped garden is dominated by an 800-foot-long pergola that rises magisterially 15 feet above the land and is entwined with gorgeous climbing plants such as wisteria, clematis, roses, and hops. This raised walkway overground with vines and exotic flowers offers showstopping views over the Hampstead Hill Gardens.

The Smallest Police Station in Britain

Hidden Gems In London - The Smallest Police Station in Britain, in London, England.
📌 Location44 Trafalgar Sq, London WC2N 5DP. Find on map
🚉 Getting ThereMake your way to the south-east corner of Trafalgar Square
🛏️ Stay NearbyTravelodge London Covent Garden | Check Availability

Britain’s smallest police station is a picturesque treasure hidden at the southeast corner of Trafalgar Square, in central London. The statue was built in 1926 inside an ornamental light fitting so that the Metropolitan Police could keep an eye on the more troublesome demonstrators.

This hidden-gem police station can accommodate up to two prisoners at a time!

Charles Dickens Museum

Hidden Gems In London - Charles Dickens Museum, London, UK.
📌 Location48-49 Doughty Street, London. Find on map
🚉 Getting ThereThe nearest tube station is Russell Square
🛏️ Stay NearbyCrowne Plaza London Kings Cross | Check Availability

The fascinating Charles Dickens Museum will give you a glimpse into the life of the greatest novelist of the Victorian era.

Located at 48 Doughty Street, Dickens’s London home from 1837-1839 and the place in which he wrote Oliver Twist, the museum is fully set up as though Dickens himself had just left.

In this fairly typical middle-class Victorian home, visitors will get the chance to see precious relics, including a portrait of Dickens, known as Dickens’s Dream by R. W. Buss, several first editions, original manuscripts, original letters by Dickens, and many personal items owned by Dickens and his family.

The only known item of clothing worn by Dickens still in existence is also displayed at the museum.

Leake Street Arches

Hidden Gems In London - London's longest legal graffiti wall.
📌 LocationLeake St, London. Find on map
🚉 Getting ThereThe nearest Railway Station is Waterloo
🛏️ Stay NearbyTravelodge London Central Southwark | Check Availability

Neighborhoods like Camden Town and Shoreditch are usually the go-to destinations for seeing street art in London. But there are hidden gems in London where you can see irreverent murals by worldwide famous artists.

Underneath the behemoth that is Waterloo Station, you’ll find Leak Street, a 300-meter tunnel that is considered London’s longest legal graffiti wall.

Also known as the Banksy Tunnel, the tunnel is the only place in London where graffiti is tolerated despite the fact that it is against the law.

St Bride’s Church

Hidden Gems In London - St Bride's Church, London, England.
📌 LocationFleet St, London EC4Y 8AU. Find on map
🚉 Getting ThereThe closest tube stations are St Paul’s and Blackfriars
🛏️ Stay NearbyPremier Inn London Blackfriars | Check Availability

With a rich history spanning 2000 years, St Bride’s Church is one of the most fascinating historic churches in London. Located near St Paul’s Cathedral, this parish church is one of the oldest religious sites in London.

First erected in the 6th century on the site of an ancient Roman building, the church was destroyed by the Great Fire of London and rebuilt (1672–4) by famous English architect Christopher Wren.

In 1940, St Bride’s was partially destroyed again by German incendiary bombs, but miraculously its famous spire and the outer walls survived. During a restoration process that lasted 17 years, several treasures were found in the church, including archaeological remains spanning several centuries.

In fact, when you the church’s crypt, you can still see the remains of a Roman pavement dating back to around AD 180 and a collection of Roman artifacts.

Old Operating Theater Museum

Hidden Gems In London - Old Operating Theater Museum, London, England.
📌 Location9a St Thomas St, London SE1 9RY. Find on map
🚉 Getting ThereThe nearest tube station is London Bridge
🛏️ Stay NearbyThe Tower Hotel | Check Availability

Housed in the attic of the 18th-century church of the old St Thomas’ Hospital, close to London Bridge metro station, this is the UK’s oldest operating theatre.

The operating theatre consists of a table surrounded by spectator galleries, where surgeries were performed during Victorian times.

Here, visitors will learn how surgeries happened in a time predating anesthetics and antiseptics and see the instruments used for amputations and other operations.

The museum also preserves its original timber-framed Herb Garret, once used to dry and store herbs for patients’ medicines.

Saint Dunstan-In-The-East

Hidden Gems In London - Saint Dunstan-In-The-East garden, London, England.
📌 LocationSt Dunstan’s Hill, London EC3R 5DD. Find on map
🚉 Getting ThereThe nearest tube station is Monument
🛏️ Stay NearbyTower Suits By Blue Orchid | Check Availability

Originally built around 1100, Saint Dunstan-In-The-East is a former church that was severely bombed in the Blitz of 1941.

After the bombing, only the tower and steeple survived. The Anglican Church did not rebuild St Dunstan’s, and all that remained were the bombed-out ruins, which were donated to the city of London, and turned into a public garden.

The gothic-style ruins of the former church, framed by lush vegetation create an oddly peaceful place that contrasts with London’s energetic atmosphere.

The Painted Hall At The Old Royal Naval College

Hidden Gems In London - The Painted Hall At The Old Royal Naval College, London, England.
📌 LocationKing William Walk, London SE10 9NN. Find on map
🚉 Getting ThereThe nearest tube station is North Greenwich
🛏️ Stay NearbyNovotel London Greenwich | Check Availability

Known for its architectural grandeur and historical significance, the Old Royal Naval College is one of the most prestigious buildings in Greenwich, London.

Inside this iconic riverside estate lies one of the most awe-inspiring treasures of London: the Painted Hall. Also known as the “UK’s Sistine Chapel”, this Baroque-style hall was designed in the early 18th century by Sir James Thornhill and flaunts 40,000 square feet of walls and ceilings.

These surfaces are artfully covered in images depicting 200 figures including kings, queens, and mythological creatures.

Brown Hart Gardens

Hidden Gems In London - Brown Hart Gardens, London, England.
📌 LocationBrown Hart Gardens, London W1K 6WP. Find on map
🚉 Getting ThereThe nearest tube station is Bond Street
🛏️ Stay NearbyNative Mayfair | Check Availability

Brown Hart Gardens is a raised terraced garden in Mayfair, immediately south of London’s Oxford Street.

Self-described as a “rejuvenated oasis in the heart of London”, Brown Hart Gardens were built in 1906 above the old Duke Street electricity substation. Architect Sir Stanley Peach covered the substation with a 950 sq m roof, a domed gazebo, and steps at either end.

This breezy terraced garden located near Oxford Street now boasts a 50-seater café, a water feature designed by Andrew Ewing, and a rather unique set of by-laws.

Horniman Museum and Gardens

Hidden Gems In London - Horniman Museum and Gardens, London, UK.
📌 Location100 London Road, Forest Hill, London. Find on map
🚉 Getting ThereThe nearest tube station is Forest Hill Station
🛏️ Stay NearbyThe Bromley Court Hotel | Check Availability

The Horniman Museum and Gardens is a lesser-known alternative to the famous Natural History Museum. Open since Victorian times, this off-the-beaten-path museum holds an award-winning collection of around 350,000 objects covering natural history, cultural artifacts, and musical instruments.

Here, visitors will stumble upon 80,000 objects from around the world, a massive collection of taxidermied animals, around 4,700 butterflies, and a pair of bone clappers in the form of human hands made in Egypt around 3,500 years ago.

Queen’s House In Greenwich

Hidden Gems In London - Queen's House In Greenwich, London, England.
📌 LocationRomney Rd, London SE10 9NF. Find on map
🚉 Getting ThereThe nearest tube station is North Greenwich
🛏️ Stay NearbySt Christopher’s Inn, Greenwich | Check Availability

Commissioned in 1619, the Queen’s House was originally created to be a lavish garden retreat for Anne of Denmark, the wife of King James I of England.

This former royal residence — a perfectly proportioned white cube of a villa — was masterfully designed by architect Inigo Jones and is considered one of the most important buildings in the history of British architecture.

Some of the house’s most prominent features are the graceful white exterior, the Great Hall with its original black and white marble flooring, and the striking Tulip Stairs, the first geometric self-supporting spiral stair in Britain.

Queen’s House is home to an acclaimed art gallery, comprising over 450 artworks and featuring pieces by Holbein, Canaletto, Kehinde Wiley, and Tania Kovats. 

Sky Garden

Hidden Gems In London - Sky Garden, in London, England.
📌 Location1, Sky Garden Walk, London EC3M 8AF. Find on map
🚉 Getting ThereThe nearest tube station is Monument
🛏️ Stay NearbyCanopy by Hilton London City | Check Availability

Perfectly hidden inside a towering skyscraper, Sky Garden is London’s highest public garden. From up there, visitors can soak in 360º views of the city, including big-name landmarks such as St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London, and Tower Bridge.

Little Venice

Hidden Gems In London - A leafy canal in Little Venice, London, England.
📌 LocationBlomfield Road, London, W9 2PF. Find on map
🚉 Getting ThereThe nearest tube station is Warwick Avenue
🛏️ Stay NearbyDays Inn by Wyndham London Hyde Park | Check Availability

Little Venice is a dreamy place that looks as if plucked from a whimsical fairytale. Located where Regent’s Canal and Grand Union Canal meet, this picture-perfect area comprises a lovely canal network beautifully framed by lush trees, Georgian buildings, pubs, and restaurants.

Serene and filled with charm, Little Venice is the ultimate escape for those seeking peace and quiet. Some of the best ways of experiencing this dreamy area are walking along the canals, going on a scenic boat tour, or having breezy drinks at local pubs.

Columbia Road Flower Market

Hidden Gems In London - Columbia Road Flower Market, in London, UK.
📌 LocationColumbia Rd, London E2 7RG. Find on map
🚉 Getting ThereThe nearest tube stations are Bethnal Green and Old Street Station
🛏️ Stay NearbyMama Shelter London Shoreditch | Check Availability

Established in 1869 as a Saturday trading fair, the Columbia Road Flower Market will entice you with its profusion of smells, colors, and sights. 

This vibrant flower market is the biggest in East London and gathers small and independent traders selling a variety of colorful flowers, houseplants, herbs, bulbs, and shrubs from around the world.

Top 30 Tourist Attractions In London Top 30 Tourist Attractions In London

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some historical hidden gems in London?

Explore the ruins of St Dunstan-in-the-East Church Garden, a peaceful oasis in the city, or venture below the streets on a walk through the Greenwich Foot Tunnel.

Are there any unique museums that are hidden gems in London?

Ditch the mainstream and head to the Wallace Collection for a treasure trove of art and artifacts, or delve into the fascinating world of branding at the Museum of Brands, showcasing packaging and advertising through the ages.

Are there any lesser-known parks that are hidden gems in London?

Escape the crowds and relax in the Kyoto Garden within Holland Park, or climb Primrose Hill for stunning panoramic views of the city.

Are there any interesting markets that are hidden gems in London?

Take a trip to Columbia Road Flower Market for a vibrant display of blooms, or wander through the Brick Lane Market, a hub for vintage finds and delicious street food.

What are some unusual things to do in London?

Catch a magic show at the historic The Magic Circle Theatre, or try your hand at solving puzzles at an escape room like Mission: Breakout.

Ritesh Raj

COO at CuddlyNest

Editorial Policy

Last update: 30 May 2024

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