Looking for hidden gems in London? Will you be visiting London and longing to visit places missed by the hoards of tourists that flock to London?
If this is your first time in London, you have come to the right spot. I adore the city and have some favorite hidden gems in London to share with you.
20 Hidden Gems In London Not To Miss
Neal’s Yard Is A Hidden Gem In London You Might Pass Right By
Many people are not even aware of Neal’s Yard. A stylish little courtyard adjacent to Covent Garden, Neal’s Yard is one of the hidden gems in London to stop and take a picture or two. And admire the colorful buildings
Until recently, it was full of garbage. Now it has been reinvented into the popular location it is today. It is worth the visit to see the flowers and ivy-covered walls of the colorful shops. and buildings.
Full of independent boutiques and shops this stylish enclave has enough to interest anyone. There are chic eateries and pubs to discover. World-famous Neal’s Yard Remedies offers all things organic for the body and skin.
Do not miss out on visiting one of the hidden gems of London in Neal’s Yard. It is great for lunch or dinner, a stroll, or to people watch especially if you only have a short time in London!
Sir John Soan’s House
This hidden gems in London is a national museum. Here you will find an outstanding collection of works amassed by Sir John Soan, the well-recognized British architect.
This national museum does not charge any admission fees. It is open from Wednesday through Sunday from 10 AM to 5 PM. A wide variety of tours are available to enhance your visit.
Due to the architectural character of the building guests needing wheelchairs are asked to contact the museum beforehand. The staff will make sure navigating the small rooms will not be a problem.
Exhibits include furniture, sculpture, models, drawing and some famous paintings. Not all of Sir Sloan’s work is displayed all of the time. Some are on permanent display while others can be seen by appointment, and still others can be seen online!
Sir John Soan Museum is one of the most interesting and historical hidden gems in London.
Maybe you might be interested in this as well: Tower of London and Crown Jewels Exhibition Ticket
Or how about this: London Explorer Pass
Leadenhall Market Is Very Enchanting
Leadenhall Market is a covered market in the financial district of central London. Many tourists may not venture here.
Its fancy roof, painted green, cream and maroon, along with its cobbled streets will make for a magical visit to one of the most beautiful places in London!
Leadenhall Market has been the backdrop for several movies, most notably Harry Potte. There is even a marathon that runs through it. So you can see why it has made the list of hidden gems in London.
You might decide to visit for lunch or a snack because the market sells fresh foods of all kinds along with fresh flowers to brighten up your day!
In case you are interested: Magical London: Harry Potter Guided Walking Tour
One Of The Tranquil Hidden Gems In London Is Kyoto Garden
Established in the early 1990’s, the tranquil Japanese-inspired Kyoto Gardens is found in the middle of Holland Park, in the Borough of Kensington.
A gift from the people of Japan commemorating the relationship between the Japanese and people of Great Britain, this hidden gems in London is really worth seeking out. Especially if you will be in London for several days!
Perhaps you will see peacocks wandering by, or sit and relax by the waterfalls and ponds filled with the traditional koi carp. If you happen to be visiting London in May, you may be fortunate enough to see the cherry blossoms blooming!
The park is free and open from dawn to 30 minutes before dusk.
Look here: Tower Bridge Exhibition Tickets
Another option: Buckingham Palace: The State Rooms Entrance Ticket
Look here too: WWII Westminster Walking Tour & Churchill’s War Rooms
Visit Saint Dunstan-In-The-East Church Grounds
Saint Dunstan-In-The-East parish church is located on St Dunstan’s Hill, halfway between London Bridge and the Tower of London. This Church of England/Roman Catholic church was destroyed during World War II and in 1967 it was decided to restore the grounds and turn the ruins into a public garden which opened shortly thereafter.
A fountain and beautiful landscaping were installed to add to the charm of the Gothic-inspired building and its grounds. Occasionally open-air services and weddings are conducted there.
Visiting Saint Dunstan-in-the-East parish church is really one of the hidden gems in London you certainly want to visit!
Or here as well: Westminster to Greenwich River Thames Cruise
Here is another: River Thames Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Cruise
Stunning Views of London Are At Sky Garden
Sky Garden is one of the unbelievable hidden gems in London. It is a very exceptional public space that is well-known to locals but not necessarily to tourists. It is three stories tall and offers 360-degrees of uninterrupted and stunning views of London.
The Sky Garden is free to enter, but you do have to sign up for tickets in advance online. A limited number of tickets are issued for each day, and there is lag time online, so make sure to sign up early. You can try your luck without tickets, but the line is long for admittance and there is no guarantee you can get inside at all.
If you do make it inside, you will find scrupulously manicured and tended to botanical gardens on all three stories at Sky Garden. And of course, the absolute finest views of London all the way around! There are three upscale restaurants to dine at and two bars for cocktails.
This is one of the hidden gems in London to add to your itinerary.
Tickets here: London by Night: 90-Minute Open Top Bus Tour
Tickets here: Westminster Abbey Entry Ticket and Multi-Media Guide
Visit The Royal Exchange For Some History
Located in the heart of London’s financial district, the Royal Exchange building is trapezoidal in shape. It was twice destroyed by fire, and the current building was designed in the 1840s.
Today, the Royal Exchange is a shopping and dining destination and one of the more unusual places in London to visit. With boutique shops and dining, visiting this historic location should be a consideration when visiting London. It is one of the best historical hidden gems in London.
Look here: Coca-Cola London Eye
Visit The Greenwich Meridian Where You Can Be In The Same Place But At Different Times
How cool would that be, but what exactly is this? The Greenwich Meridian is the actual line of the earth that separates east from west. This is the same way that the Equator differentiates north from the south.
It is an imaginary line that marks zero degrees longitude. It is significant because Greenwich Meridian is the starting point of every time zone in the world!
The Greenwich Meridian is located at the London Royal Conservatory in Greenwich Park and one of the more interesting hidden gems in London to pursue.
Tickets here: Windsor Castle Admission Ticket
And here: The Changing of the Guard Experience
For Some Wow Factor Visit The Painted Hall
Located in the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, is the magnificent Painted Hall with its exquisite ceiling.
Originally painted over 300 years ago by James Thornhill, it was very recently restored and reopened to the public at a cost of over eleven million US dollars!
There is an admission fee of $11.00 US, and free for children. You can also rent audio or video guides as well. There are reclining cushioned seats to use to admire the opulent Baroque-inspired ceiling! A gift shop and cafe are nearby for a souvenir and refreshments.
Look here: St Paul’s Cathedral: Fast-Track Entrance
Walk Under The Thames River!
One of the more interesting hidden gems in London to visit is the Greenwich Foot Tunnel and actually walk under the River Thames! How cool is that?
It was completed in 1902 and last renovated in 2012. The Greenwich Foot Tunnel was constructed originally to replace the unreliable and expensive ferry service at the time. Its original use was to transport workers to their jobs.
Today entrances on both sides of the River Thames have glass domes and spiral staircases making climbing into and out of it more manageable. And easier to locate since it is one of the coolest hidden gems in London.
Tickets are here: London’s Palaces and Parliament Walking Tour
Grab An Unforgettable Picture On The Tulip Stairs
One of the hidden gems in London is really only a few tube stops away from central London.
Located in the Queen’s Palace in Greenwich, you will find the Tulip Stairs. Hailing from the seventeenth century, visiting the Queen’s Palace is like stepping back in time. And admission is free.
The ornate blue Tulip Stairs are an architectural wonder. They have the distinction of being the first geometrical self-supporting spiral staircase built in Great Britain. The Tulip Stairs are one of the most instagrammable locations in London!
Grab An Insta Photo At Churchhill Arms
What makes this hidden gems in London so spectacular is that the building housing this eclectic pub and restaurant is literally dripping with flowers (depending on the season, of course!) and houses lots of Winston Churchill memorabilia.
Word has it that this Churchill’s grandparents themselves visited this pub frequently. Today you can feast on a variety of ale and Thai cuisine.
Tickets here: Westminster Abbey Entry Ticket and Multi-Media Guide
Tickets here: Royal London Half-Day Bike Tour
Tickets here: Historic London: Tower of London and Cruise
Visit Little Venice And Walk The Canals
Would you believe Venice in London? Well, kind of. The quirky residential neighborhood referred to as “Little Venice” is located where the Regent’s Canal meets the Grand Union Canal.
At that location, a small group of waterways is formed and called Little Venice. This area is one of the hidden gems in London because it is not widely known by most tourists.
There is lots to do and see in London’s Little Venice. You can take a boat ride down the canals from April to November. Or walk along the waterways exploring Regent’s Park or the London Zoo.
Rembrandt’s Gardens is also one of the unusual places to visit in London and can be accessed from the strolling canals in Little Venice.
Do Souvenir Shopping At The London Silver Vaults
One of the enticing hidden gems of London is the London Silver Vaults.
Doing business since the late 1880s this large subterranean market has 40 shops that sell everything silver. Incredibly, all of the forty shops are owned by the same families for the past 40 years!
Located directly under Chancery Lane the vaults have never been broken into and even withstood a direct bomb during World War II without being damaged.
A visit to the London Silver Vault is truly an unforgettable experience and a chance to bring home an exciting souvenir.
The Hide Bar Serves Locally Sourced Food And Drink
Open since 2007, The Hide Bar is proud to offer locals and tourists alike sustainably sourced and locally produced cocktails and brews. This hidden gems of London uses some of the best ingredients from around the world. And this local hangout is chic and comfy at the same time.
Just about every drink’s ingredients on the Hide’s menu is produced within London and that is an amazing feat! Their menu is a step above traditional ‘bar’ food, and I especially appreciated there were vegan and vegetarian options to choose from.
Having a pint or a cocktail, and maybe some lunch or dinner at The Hide Bar, one of the hidden gems in London, is a real treat.
Tickets here: Buckingham Palace: The State Rooms Entrance Ticket
See the UK’s Smallest Police Station Hidden In Plain View!
Located in the southeast corner of Trafalgar Square, this once police station is now decommissioned, holding cleaning supplies for the workers in the area. But it is worth seeking out as its history is quite interesting.
It was once instrumental in observing the comings and goings of London folk who assembled in Trafalgar Square to protest using their freedom of speech rights.
Narrow slits were put into the bottom of a light post in the 1920s, so a police officer could observe the crowds’ activities. And should he want to call for reinforcements, the tiny station was connected to a nearby station by telephone.
This hidden gems in London, hidden is plain sight, is worth seeking out next during your trip to London.
Postman’s Park Has Interesting History
Located in central London, this public garden is today one of the largest green spaces in the city of London. It is where the former headquarters of the General Post Office was located.
It was also used as a burial ground in London of the past when space was really at a minimum.
Opened in the late 1800s, Postman Park is home to the Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice. This is a place honoring brave people who died while putting themselves at risk by saving the lives of others, and would ordinarily be forgotten.
Visit The Old Curiosity Shop For Some Literary History
It is still unclear if this literary landmark and 16th-century shop was the inspiration for Charles Dickens’ novel. However, it has been around since the 1600s withstanding many tumultuous events. One was the Great Fire of 1666 and another the ravages of World War II.
It is said that Charles Dickens was said to pay a visit to this little wood-timbered shop a number of times and perhaps he DID receive inspirations for his writings. But the shop did not receive its name until AFTER the book was printed.
Originally this little wooden shop was a dairy farm. At one point in the 1970s, it did sell Charles Dickens’ books. And today it sells upscale men and women’s shoes. It is over five hundred years old and still open for business! Seeking out the Old Curiosity Shop and seeing one of the oldest hidden gems in London is worth the effort!
Look here: Princess Diana Private 2-Hour Walking Tour
The unusual Warped Window in St Martin’s Church
A unique and thought-provoking window exhibit is at St Martin in the Fields church. The church is located at Trafalgar Square, and the east window houses a piece that is extraordinary.
The current window display replaces one that was destroyed during World War II bombs. Its austere and contemporary flair seems a bit out of place next to the opulent Baroque architecture of the church, and that is what makes it all the more striking.
Looking closely, one can notice the vertical and horizontal likes forming what looks like a cross, with an opening in the center that permits light to flood in and light up the interior.
This is definitely one of the more extraordinary hidden gems in London.
Tickets here: The Crown Walking Tour of London
Visit Eltham Palace for Medieval And Art Deco Influences
Once a popular medieval palace, then owned by eccentric millionaires a visit to this hidden gems in London will not disappoint!
The home of Henry VIII when he was a child, Eltham Palace was renovated into an art deco mansion, Eltham Palace is located in Greenwich in South East London. Walking through the halls of the house you will get a glimpse of the indulgent lifestyle of Stephen and Virginia Courtauld.
Afterward, explore nineteen acres of manicured gardens that have won numerous awards! You will notice that the Avant Gard of the art deco and the opulence of the medieval have both been carried out into the gardens. There is even London’s oldest working bridge over the moat!
Look here: Full-Day London Bus Tour with Lunch
Packing Tips For Your Trip To London
Using these useful packing tips will enhance your experiences while hopefully keeping you organized while searching for unusual places to visit in London. You will want to remain healthy while you travel to London and pack lightly to make your travels easier.
A concealed travel pouch may be one of the most important items you bring with you on your 3 days in London trip. This unisex RFID blocking concealed travel pouch is lightweight and comes in several colors. It has lots of organization to give you peace of mind. You can keep your most valuable documents safe and secure next to your body.
If you have a pouch already you may not want to or need to invest in a new one, like me. If it does not come with the RFID protection, these RFID sleeves would be handy to prevent identity theft. This configuration comes with enough passport and credit card sleeves that the entire family would be protected.
They are slim too, so they will easily fit into your current pouch or wallet. These are the kind my family and I use not only when traveling but at home as well.
If you are planning on taking a lot of pictures with your phone you will definitely want to consider an external charging battery. This Anker high-speed phone charging battery is the exact one I carry with
me on all of my trips. It can be used on a variety of phones, not just an iPhone like I have. And wow is it fast! I like that it holds its charging capabilities for several uses so I do not have to worry about it while out and about. And if I forget to recharge it at night, it will still be good to go the next day.
My daughter gifted me with this FugeTek Selfie Stick and Tripod for my birthday. It has Bloothtooth connectivity so it is very easy to use. It is made of durable aluminum and is very lightweight and easy to carry. I love mine and I think you will enjoy it too!
I was never a fan of packing cubes until I tried them out! Now I am sold. These Bagail packing cubes are the exact ones I use whenever I travel. I cannot believe how much more organized I am now! And I never leave without them anymore.
Don’t forget to bring along a universal power adapter on your 3 days in London, this worldwide power plug is a great example and will charge your phone at the end of your busy days. And this world traveler adapter kit can charge several devices at the same time.
This is what you will need when there are several people traveling in your group, or if you bring several electronic devices on your trip that require charging at the same time.
Hydration is so important. You want to remain hydrated to support your immune system which in turn will be stronger to fight off any germs you will encounter during your travels. You will want to bring your own refillable water bottle with you.
I never leave home on a trip without my Bobble filtration bottle. The 18.5-ounce size is perfect for travel and it fits nicely in the pocket of a backpack or your purse. Also when filled with water, it is not too heavy to carry. And the charcoal filter ensures fresh clean water whenever you fill the Bobble. You can find filter replacements here.
Perhaps you are traveling a long distance and packing space is a premium. Then this set of collapsible silicone foldable water bottles would work well for you. Would not take up much space in your suitcase at all.
You will want a backpack or daypack with you to store snacks, your water bottle, phone, extra clothes, etc.. This foldable water-resistant backpack would be great. It is very affordable and is available in many color options for you to choose from. The fact that it folds down into a zippered pouch will make it easy to pack.
Perhaps you need a more substantial backpack for your international travel. This antitheft backpack has a charging port, is water-resistant and can comfortably carry up to a 15.6″ laptop.
You will be walking more than usual looking for hidden gems in London itinerary. A sturdy and comfortable walking shoes are a must-have. These waterproof all-season shoes are extremely affordable and yet fashionable.
Mostly everyone is familiar with the Skechers brand, and these Air Run high fashion sneakers come in a lot of colors to match your outfits and are still affordable.
If you are visiting London in warmer weather, maybe you want a pair of sandals to wear to dinner or to the local cafe, I highly recommend these Vionics adjustable strap orthotic sandals.
I have several pairs of Vionics that I bring with me *everywhere* I travel. They are very comfortable and have orthotic footbeds that cradle and support your feet.
Bring a lightweight scarf or shawl. Scarves and shawls are very popular in Europe and London is no exception. Both men and women wear scarves, both decoratively and as a layering piece to keep warm.
This cotton unisex lightweight scarf is versatile and can be worn in any season. And here’s another option to consider:
this lightweight sunscreen shawl scarf would do double duty to protect you from the British sun should you visit London in the warmer seasons as well as being a fashion accessory layering piece.
We all need to protect our eyes from the sun’s harmful UVA/UVB rays. These unisex polarized sunglasses come in a lot of lens colors and frame designs and are extremely affordable too.
Quick Tips When Visiting London
Here are some quick tips and tricks which hopefully will enhance your trip to London and make it less stressful and more enjoyable.
UPDATED: Stay vigilant! During our last trip to Paris, our family of four was robbed 3 times. We discussed at great length how we had to remain vigilant to protect ourselves against pickpocketers. However, we were not successful.
My daughter had her brand new Olympus camera stolen in the broad daylight in a McDonald’s Restaurant in the Montmartre District of Paris while we were having afternoon refreshments.
My thief was caught red-handed with her arm up to her elbow inside of my backpack. Luckily for me my daughter apprehended her, and I was carrying my passport and credit cards on my body. She wore better clothes, better shoes and more trendy sunglasses than I did.
She did not “fit” our idea of what a pickpocketer was. (I still do not understand how she could unzip my backpack while I was wearing it, without me knowing or feeling it.)
Finally, Terrence had his backpacked unzipped while on the very crowded Paris subway. The burglar had his hand inside an outer pocket but was foiled by a Good Samaritan seated nearby.
Please do not have any preconceptions about who can violate you by stealing your possessions. Stay vigilant and alert. Hope you have more success than we did.
Remember to always stay hydrated. Bring a nondisposable refillable water container and refill it often! Not only will you hedge the odds against getting sick, but you will also be saving a lot of water bottles from being sent to the British landfills.
Call your credit card company for two reasons: 1) to notify the bank that you will be out of the country and give them your exact travel dates.
2) to check to see if the bank charges foreign transaction fees every time you are out of the country and use your card. If it does, inquire about applying for a credit card that does NOT charge such fees.
When using an ATM in London, England, make sure it is in your bank’s network, so you do not incur a transaction fee every time you use a British ATM to withdraw money. Also, consider withdrawing larger amounts of money, fewer times, to limit the transaction fees by your bank.
Whenever you can, purchase advanced tickets to London attractions whenever possible when seeking out secret places in London. Tickets purchased online, in advance, are mostly always discounted, and many times come with a “skip the line” perk.
You will have more time to spend at the attraction since you will not be waiting in the entrance line. Also, you can better pace yourself during your busy days.
I hope these suggestions will maximize your planning making it possible to see as many hidden gems in London as your time permits.
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Have you ever been to London? Share one highlight that was your favorite thing to do, or place to visit. What would be your top London hidden gem to visit be?