As many of us know, London boasts some of the most popular attractions in the world and there’s certainly no shortage of things to see & do in the wonderful city. However today I wanted to share some places that are off the beaten path. Here’s 15 secret spots in London you might not know about!
1. Strawberry Hill House
Strawberry Hill House — often called simply Strawberry Hill — is the Gothic Revival villa that was built in Twickenham by Horace Walpole from 1749. It is internationally famous as Britain’s finest example of Georgian Gothic revival architecture. Visiting is quite a theatrical experience with its renaissance glass, gloomy castle-like hall, and grey Gothic staircase leading to the magnificent gallery.
2. Dennis Severs’ House
Dennis Severs’ House is a time capsule attraction in which visitors are immersed in a unique form of theatre. The ten rooms of this original Huguenot house have been decked out to recreate snapshots of life in Spitalfields between 1724 and 1914. You’re able to book a tour of the house that takes you through the entire house, and it feels as though the inhabitants had deserted the rooms only moments before.
3. Britain’s smallest police station
In the southeast corner of Trafalgar Square, unnoticed by most visitors, is what many have called the world’s smallest police station. Made from a hollowed-out lamp post, it was installed in 1926 so policemen could keep a close eye on demonstrators at the popular protest site. Nowadays, it’s used for storage by the council.
4. Wilton’s Music Hall
Experience the world’s oldest and last surviving grand music hall. Pretty amazing, if you ask me! It’s now used as a multi-arts performance space, there are guided tours offering a fascinating insight into the history and heritage of Wilton’s itself, music halls in general and London’s East End.
5. Tea Room at the V&A Museum
Although the Victoria & Albert museum is quite well known, many people don’t know about their tea room. It’s decked out in incredible Victorian decor that makes it a museum all on it’s own. It’s also the first museum restaurant in the world! Sit back with an English tea after exploring the magical grounds.
6. Postman’s Park
Postman’s Park gained its name due to its popularity as a lunch spot with workers from the nearby old General Post Office. Now it’s home to the unique Watts memorial, a gallery of glazed tablets commemorating tragic acts of bravery.
7. St Dunstan’s in the East
The Church of St Dunstan was originally built around 1100 but was severely damaged several times after, which left the City of London deciding to turn it into a public garden, which opened in 1970. You really will feel secluded in this gem of a City Garden.
8. St. Martin’s Window
The East window of St Martin’s church was designed by the Iranian artist Shirazeh Houshiary in collaboration with architect Pip Horne and was unveiled in 2008. The art piece was inspired by the way water reflects and changes images.
9. The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town
If the name doesn’t entice you enough, perhaps the fact you enter through a fridge door from a restaurant might! Enjoy a cocktail in the tiny, dimly lit basement bar. It’s located beneath the Breakfast Club in Spitalfields and you can find out more here.
10. Secret Cinema
you buy a ticket, you don’t know what the film is, you just turn up where the organisers tell you. Previous locations include chapels, empty schools and underground tunnels! Find out more here.
11. Underground tube bar
Cahoots is a 1940s-underground-themed cocktail bar. The bar is inspired by the idea of an imagined tube station used as an air raid shelter finding new life in post-Blitz London. The owners even scoured the country to track down 1940-era train signs and decor. Oh and the cocktails are just splendid, too.
12. Neal’s Yard
Tucked away between Covent Garden and the busy streets of Seven Dials, Neal’s Yard stays completely unnoticed if you don’t know it’s there. It’s the perfect place for lunch in the summer!
13. John Snow’s water pump
Almost directly behind Oxford street, on Broadwick street sits John Snow’s Water Pump. A cholera epidemic swept Soho in 1854, killing 500 people in a few months. John Snow figured out that the water pump was the source of the outbreak, so had the handle removed. The cases of cholera declined and the outbreak ended.
14. Isabella Plantation
Located in Richmond Park, this 40 acre woodland garden set within a Victorian woodland plantation planted in the 1830’s. First opened to the public in 1953, it is known for its large collections of Rhododendrons and Camellias and I can tell you, it is rather magical. It also gives you a lovely view of St Paul’s Cathedral.
15. Sunborn Yacht Hotel
Ever feel like staying in a luxury yacht but not at sea? Well, London has that covered. Sunborn Yacht Hotel is a huge superyacht permanently moored in Royal Victoria Dock, near the O2, that’s been turned into a hotel – and there’s absolutely no movement. For reservations or more information, visit their website.
Have you got any secret London spots to share?