38 Hidden Gems In London To Escape The Crowds (+ Map)

You might think it is quite hard to discover true hidden gems in London in this day and age. But rest assured, being such a big city with oodles of history, culture and diversity, there are still a ton of hidden gems in London that don’t make it onto the main tourist maps.

We like to think we know London well. Ed was born and raised in London, I lived there for 15 years and our eldest son is a Cockney but even so, we still can’t claim to know every nook and cranny.

New hidden gems are coming to light all the time too, so we enlisted the help of some fellow travel bloggers to come up with their favorite hidden gems in London to add to our list.

These places to visit in London are all about London off the beaten track to help get you away from the crowds.

We created a mix of London’s hidden gems to include historical buildings, some lesser known green spaces for when you want to escape the concrete jungle and a few quirky things to do in London.

We’re not saying that you should skip the big hitters like Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London or Big Ben, but these less well-known places in London will defintely add to your overall London experience.

Hidden gems in London – North London

1. Kenwood House

Kenwood House is a gorgeous English Heritage managed Georgian property on the edge of Hampstead Heath. It is home to a world-class art collection, including Rembrandt’s ‘Portrait with Two Circles’, and is often the setting for some fabulous open air concerts in the summer.

Marvel at the beautiful architecture of Robert Adam and the parkland surrounding Kenwood House that was designed by Humphry Repton. Amazingly, Kenwood House is free to visit (although concerts are not free).

Nearby: Alexandra Palace, Hampstead Heath, Fenton House

Kenwood House

Kenwood House

2. Fenton House

This is such a hidden gem in London that I had never heard of it and was amazed to find out that it used to belong to my ancestor, Philip Fenton. It was built in around 1686 but only came into the Fenton’s possession in 1793. The house takes the Fenton name and it remained in the family until 1871.

Although there were several owners after the Fentons, the house has always remained Fenton House. It was bequeathed to the National Trust in 1952 by the last owner of the house, Lady Binning, and is a lovely National Trust property in London to visit.

The house itself is beautiful and the views from the upstairs balcony out across the City of London are spectacular. The gardens are also beautifully kept, with a walled garden and kitchen garden.

Nearby: Hampstead Ponds, Parliament Hill, Kenwood House

The gardens at Fenton House.

The gardens at Fenton House

3. Alexandra Palace

Alexandra Palace (affectionately known as Ally Pally) is a Victorian Grade II listed building that was built in 1875 as a palace for the people. It was (and is now) a centre for events and entertainment. It’s worth checking out what there is going on at Alexandra Palace if you’re in North London.

If you fancy trying a bit of ice skating in London, no matter what time of year, there is a skating rink at Alexandra Palace as well as children’s playgrounds, Go Ape, a boating lake and a skate park.

The grounds around Alexandra Palace are extensive and it is a lovely place to come for a picnic or a walk.

Nearby: Highgate Cemetery, Kenwood House, Highgate Woods

Alexandra Palace.

Alexandra Palace

4. Highgate Wood

Highgate Wood is a large area of woodland in North London that was originally part of the enormous Forest of Middlesex that covered much of London, Hertfordshire and Essex.

Being an ancient woodland, it is the perfect habitat for bluebells and if you’re visiting London in the Spring, Highgate Wood is one of the best places to see bluebells in London.

It is a lovely place for a walk and you will feel like you are a million miles from the city centre. There is a great playground for kids and a café. You might even catch a game of cricket in the summer months on the sports field.

Nearby: Highgate Village, Highgage Cemetery, Kenwood House

Bluebells in Highgate Woods.

Bluebells in Highgate Woods

5. Highgate Cemetery

Understandably, cemeteries aren’t on everyone’s list of things to do when visiting a city but if this is the case for you, we would recommend making an exception for Highgate Cemetery.

It is one of the Magnificent Seven Victorian cemeteries  (the others being Abney Park, Brompton, Nunhead, Tower Hamlets, West Norwood and Kensal Green).

There are some beautiful parts of the cemetery, in particular the Egyptian Avenue, Lebanon Circle and Terrace Catacombs. Of the 170,000 ‘residents’, the most famous is Karl Marx.

There is a small entry fee and you can wander around freely or you can take a guided tour. Check here for opening times.

If you’re looking for somewhere to eat nearby, we can highly recommend The Wrestlers, a 16th century pub that serves a particularly good Sunday roast.

Nearby: Hampstead Heath Ponds, Kenwood House, Alexandra Palace

Entrance to the Egyptian Avenue at Highgate Cemetery Photo Credit Highgate Cemetery.

Entrance to the Egyptian Avenue at Highgate Cemetery Photo Credit | Highgate Cemetery

6. Hampstead Heath Ponds

For over 100 years, people have been wild swimming at Hampstead Heath Ponds. If you are not familiar with wild swimming, you need to be aware before you go that there will be mud and ducks and it will be cold!

The ponds were originally created as fresh water reserves in the 17th and 18th centuries to supply London with water, but this is no longer the case.

There are three swimming ponds on the heath; Highgate Men’s Pond, Kenwood Ladies’ Pond and the Hampstead Mixed Pond.

Nearby: Kenwood House, Parliament Hill

Hampstead Heath Ponds.

Hampstead Heath Ponds

7. Parliament Hill Fields Lido

If you don’t fancy a dip in the ponds, you could try Parliament Hill Lido instead. It is located in Hampstead Heath next to one of the most famous viewpoints in London, Parliament Hill.

It has been open to the public since 1938 and offers open air swimming in an unheated pool. You don’t have to be visiting London just in the summer to visit. It is open all year round, but if you’re not used to swimming in near freezing conditions, you might want to give it a miss in the winter.

There’s a lovely café serving vegan food which is open to swimmers as well as passers by out for a walk on the heath.

Nearby: Highgate Cemetery, Kenwood House, Hampstead Ponds, Camden Market

Parliament Hill Lido.

Parliament Hill Lido

8. Primrose Hill

Primrose Hill is a lovely little area of North London that is popular with London-based celebrities such as Kate Moss and Jude Law. Colourful little Victorian houses line the streets of Primrose Hill and you’ll typically find upmarket eateries and boutique shops.

This area of London takes its name from the hill it sits below, Primrose Hill. It’s a bit of a climb to the top of the hill but the views from the top over London are worth it. It’s a particularly lovely spot to visit in the spring when the flowers are out.

Like the colourful houses? You might also want to check out Bywater Street in Chelsea, possibly the most colourful street in London.

Nearby: Regent’s Park, London Zoo and Camden Market

Colourful Regency houses of Primrose Hill.

Colourful Regency houses of Primrose Hill

9. Coal Drops Yard

Coal Drops Yard is located behind Kings Cross Station and is an area that has been totally redeveloped in recent years. There is now an excellent selection of restaurants, street food shacks and shops.

Some of the best Coal Drops Yard restaurants are Dishoom, German Gymnasium, Coal Office, Casa Pastor and Barrafina.

At Christmas, the whole area is transformed with lots of beautiful Christmas lights.

Nearby: Granary Square, Platform 9 3/4 Kings Cross St Pancras, London Canal Museum, The British Library

Coal Drops Yard, a hidden gem in London.

Coal Drops Yard

10. Granary Square Fountains

Granary Square is one of the hidden gems in London that is good to know about on a summer’s day in the city. The big draw for families visiting London with little ones in the summer months is the splash zone in the middle of the square.

It’s a great place to take the kids on a hot day if they’ve had enough of sightseeing in London. Remember to bring their swimmers, a towel and sunscreen and let them run in and out of the jets of water. They will love it!

Nearby: Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross St Pancras, The British Library, Coal Drops Yard, The London Canal Museum

The fountains at Granary Square.

The fountains at Granary Square

Hidden gems in London – South London

11. Crystal Palace Park

Submitted by Matt from No Hassle Travel

Located in South East London, Crystal Palace Park is one of the biggest parks in the area, covering more than 200 acres. Offering a wide range of activities and attractions, it is the perfect place to spend a day with the family and escape the London crowds.

The park’s most famous attraction is the Dinosaur court, displaying 30 large statues scattered around the lake area. Sculptured by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins in the 1850s, they were the first-ever artistic representation of dinosaurs in the world. These iconic statues were restored in 2002 and accepted as a Grade I monument. It is one of the best places to see dinosaurs in the UK.

Other features the park has to offer include a hedge maze, petting zoo and skate park. There are also small woods dotted around the park for nature walks and wide open fields for picnics.

Crystal Palace Park offers more than enough for a day out in London and is a hidden gem just waiting to be explored!

Nearby: West Norwood Cemetery, Horniman Museum

Dinosaurs in Crystal Palace Park.

Dinosaurs in Crystal Palace Park

12. Battersea Park and Children’s Zoo

Nestled between Battersea Bridge and Albert Bridge, Battersea Park in the Borough of Wandsworth is tucked away just across the river from the famous Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

It holds a special place in my heart because I lived next to Battersea Park for a few years. I’ve explored every inch of it and felt so lucky to live next to one of the loveliest parks in London.

There are so many different areas to this park. At the centre of it all is a traditional bandstand and as you work your way around, you will see the London Peace Pagoda sitting right next to the River Thames, a boating lake, beautiful fountains, a Children’s Zoo and Go Ape.

As well as the Sub-Tropical garden, Old English garden and huge variety of beautiful flower beds that are truly spectacular in the summer, there are also sculptures to admire including a Henry Moore.

Nearby: Battersea Power Station, The Kings Road, Chelsea Physic Garden

View of Albert Bridge from Battersea Park.

View of Albert Bridge from Battersea Park

13. Overnight on the Golden Hinde

Submitted by Cathy from MummyTravels

Tucked away on the South Bank, the first thing that strikes you about the Golden Hinde – a replica of the ship in which Sir Francis Drake circumnavigated the globe – is just how small it is.

And while you can visit in daytime, the chance to pretend to be part of the Elizabethan crew during a sleepover on the Golden Hinde is one of the most fun things you can do in London with kids, as well as one of the least well-known.

A trio of actors reveal the truth of life in Tudor times, from the latest medical techniques to manning the cannon against Spanish foe, as well as dishing up 16th century rations (veggie stew with bread, no weevils).

You might not get the best night’s sleep curled up below decks, but the Golden Hinde Night Voyage is an unforgettable experience.

Nearby: Shakespeare’s Globe, Borough Market, HMS Belfast, The Shard

The Golden Hinde in London.

The Golden Hinde in London

14. The Graffiti Tunnel

If street art if your thing, there is a fantastic spot near Waterloo Station. Leake Turner Street is a 200 metre long tunnel that runs under the tracks and platforms of Waterloo Station.

What would otherwise have been a dull, concrete tunnel has been transformed into a colourful street art gallery.

Although grafitti is against the law, it is tolerated here and is changing all the time as new artists come along to leave their mark.

Nearby: London Eye, London Dungeons, Big Ben

Graffiti Tunnel (Leake Street) near Waterloo Station.

Graffiti Tunnel (Leake Street) near Waterloo Station

15. Eating Pie and Mash

Submitted by Sarah from A Social Nomad

Back in the 18th century, London’s River Thames was a plentiful supplier of eels and potatoes were as cheap to grow then as they are now. And so, London’s original street food – Pie, Mash & Liquor was born.

Pies were made with eel as the centrepiece, potatoes were mashed and the liquor was the water in which the eel had been cooked. While originally this fast food was sold in carts on the streets, Pie and Mash shops soon became popular.

You can still visit one of London’s original pie and mash shops at Manzes, 87 Tower Bridge Road, Bermondsey – or they have a few other branches in Peckham, Deptford and Walthamstow.

Pies today contain minced beef or veggie mince and the liquor is made from chopped green parsley and secret family ingredients. They’re still a fascinating east end London experience to have. And if you want to eat it the proper way, then you should cover your pie with the green parsley liquor and liberally sprinkle with salt and vinegar!

Nearby: White Cube Gallery, Borough Market,The Shard

Pie Mash and Liquor.

Pie Mash and Liquor

16. Horniman Museum

There are many lovely museums in London and they are some of the best free things to do in London with kids, but most of them are firmly on the tourist trail and can get incredibly busy.

One that is more off the beaten track is the Horniman Museum. It is a little way out of the centre of London which is why most tourists don’t visit, but it is very easily reached in 15 minutes by overground train from London Bridge to Forest Hill.

Their gardens are truly beautiful and they also have a fabulous collection of natural history exhibits. One of the highlights for kids will be the butterfly house and the aquarium. Entrance to the museum and gardens is free but there is a charge to visit the aquarium and butterfly house and other exhibits.

Nearby: Nunhead Cemetery, Dulwich Village, Crystal Palace Park

The Horniman Museum in Forest Hill.

The Horniman Museum in Forest Hill

17. Eltham Palace

Eltham Palace was once a medieval palace and a Tudor royal residence but you wouldn’t know to look at it now as it was transformed by eccentric millionaires in the 1930s into an Art Deco mansion.

Their eccentric style is seen throughout the house but they left the Great Hall largely untouched so you can still see the original, timber-framed medieval structure.

The grounds are simply glorious and there’s even a moat with a working bridge. For the kids there is a lovely playground and there are usually child-friendly activities going on during the holidays.

Nearby: Greenwich Market, Cutty Sark, Royal Observatory, Prime Meridian, National Maritime Museum

Eltham Palace

Eltham Palace

18. The Tulip Stairs

The wrought iron Tulip staircase at the Queen’s House in Greenwich is dramatic as staircases go but what is unique about it is that it is the first self-supporting spiral staircase in Britain.

It is said that a ghost haunts the Queen’s House and whilst this is not an uncommon claim (Hever Castle in Kent and Hampton Court Palace are also said to be haunted), it is believed that this ghost was caught on camera by Reverend Hardy in 1966.

During the winter months there is a fabulous ice skating rink at Queen’s House.

Nearby: Greenwich Market, Cutty Sark, Royal Observatory, Prime Meridian, National Maritime Museum, Eltham Palace

The Tulip Staircase in Queen's House, Greenwich.

The Tulip Staircase Queen’s House, Greenwich

19. Crossness Pumping Station

Submitted by Joanna from The World In My Pocket

One of London’s hidden gems is Crossness Pumping Station, a jewel of the Victorian Industrial architecture in the city. Crossness was built in 1865 as a solution to the water pollution London was struggling with at that time.

In just a few years, Crossness and the newly built sewage system played an important role in cleaning river Thames and eradicating bacterial diseases such cholera in London.

Crossness Pumping Station is located in Abbey Wood, and easily accessible by train, from London Bridge. One of the original engines of the station has been restored and on some of the open days, it is turned on.

The interior of the station is spectacular, with colourful and intricate ornamental cast ironwork, about which, at the inauguration, was said to be not just a masterpiece of engineering but also “a cathedral of ironwork”.

The pumping station is open to visitors on different days during the year, which are listed on their website.

Nearby: Eltham Palace, Greenwich

Crossness Pumping Station.

Crossness Pumping Station

Hidden gems in London – East

20. St Dunstan-in-the-East

Submitted by Angela from Where Angie Wanders

In an unassuming corner of London is a hidden gem known as St Dunstan in the East.

The tranquil ruins of this Saxon church established circa 1100, stand close to the Tower of London but, despite its own vivid history, is not on any tourist trail.

In 1666, The Great Fire of London damaged St Dunstan in the East. The church was subsequently repaired by local workers until Sir Christopher Wren – the architect of nearby St Paul’s Cathedral – added the tower and steeple that are still complete today.

Sadly, the church was again damaged during bombing raids in WW2, and now the only evidence of the original structure is the outer walls with their arched stone windows entwined with tumbling ivy and moss.

St Dunstan’s ruins are now used by local workers and passing tourists as a calming, green space in an otherwise urban concrete jungle to spend time with a book or just to contemplate life.

Nearby: Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Monument, Sky Garden

St Dunstan in the East.

St Dunstan in the East

21. Old Spitalfields Market

Submitted by Noel from Travel Photo Discovery

One of the wonderful hidden gems in London is located in London’s East End at the Old Spitafields market. It has been a market for over 350 years but more recently repurposed into a hip space with popup arts and crafts vendors from the area, fantastic artisanal foods and trendy restaurants.

It’s a great place to hang out for young and affluent Londoners in the East End. A wonderful space to explore to see the old and new and how young artists and crafters can make a collective presence for locals and visitors alike to see new and exciting arts and crafts in the area.

Reimagined as a large gathering place with music, performers, food and art, they all combine to make this a unique and hidden gem for travelers visiting to London and looking for something unique in the city.

If you are visiting London and looking for cheap inspiration, it’s one of the best free things to do in London.

Nearby: Kings Cross St Pancras, Brick Lane

Old Spitalfields Market in East London.

Old Spitalfields Market in East London

22. Disused Tube Station tours

Submitted by Jamie from Travel Addict

London’s Tube network is massive and there are dozens of closed stations and platforms throughout the network. In recent years the London Transport Museum, under the name “Hidden London”, has begun to run disused tube stations tours.

Each tour is guided and only available with advanced bookings due to the nature of the stations and spaces included in the tour. Tickets must be booked in advance and beware that many of the popular stations do sell out so you’ll want to aim to book those tickets at least a month in advance.

Many of the stations – Aldwych and Charing Cross in particular – often serve as filming sets for famous movies and TV shows. Ever wonder where the underground scene was filmed for James Bond’s Skyfall? That was Charing Cross’s closed Jubilee platforms.

A total of 18 different films used Aldwych Station for filming, including Darkest Hour (2017) and Patriot Games (1992).

Nearby: Somerset House, Trafalgar Square

Aldwych Station - a disused tube station in London.

Aldwych Station – a disused tube station in London

23. Hoxton Street Monster Supplies

The Hoxton Street Monster Supplies shop is located in Hoxton, a massively trendy area of London. The store is packed with supplies for the Living, Dead and Undead.

You just have to see it for yourself. It’s such a cute little curiosity shop selling (mostly) edibles that will appeal to kids and big kids such as sugar-dusted bogies and brain jam. It’s been voted the number one kids’ store in London.

There is also a monster-human letter exchange where children visiting the store can write a letter to one of six monsters and they will receive a reply. All profits from the shop go the Ministry of Stories, a programme to encourage youngsters to discover their writing talent.

It’s a fun place to visit if you are in London around Halloween as you can pick up some fabulously spooky Halloween treats.

Nearby: Columbia Road Flower Market, Hackney City Farm, Beigel Bake on Brick Lane, Old Spitalfields Market

Hoxton Street Monster Supplies.

Hoxton Street Monster Supplies

24. East London Drag Scene

Submitted by Derek from Robe Trotting

One of the world’s best LGBT travel destinations is London, and the epicenter of queer nightlife in London is the West End neighborhood of Soho. However, just like London as a whole, gay London has a hidden gem and that is East London.

The edgy, alternative gay scene of East London is the perfect place to go out for a cabaret or drag show when you’re visiting the city. Venues like The Glory are a great place to experience drag in every element.

The drag queens at Glory are witty, talented, and know how to turn a look. They have a unique style and get the whole staff and every patron in on the fun.

If the nightlife drag isn’t for you or you just want more, try drag brunch at Dalston Superstore. It’s one of the most unpretentious bars in East London where the art of drag is truly a hidden gem!

East London Drag Scene.

East London Drag Scene

25. Street Art in East London

Submitted by Anuradha from Country Hopping Couple

London is one of the hotspots for seeing colourful street art scenes and wall murals. Thanks to many international artists like Stik, Banksy and ROA, London’s street art scene, although fast changing, adds to the vibrance of the city.

Take a tube and hop over to East London, and you will not be disappointed. Here, you can go on a treasure hunt, street by street, exploring the artistic treasures of Shoreditch and Brick Lane. These areas in particular boast of some of the largest street art pieces in the world.

You can take free walking tours or follow a self-guided walking tour of East London. Some of the popular streets include Brick Lane, Princelet Street, Hanbury Street and Buxton Street, just to name a few.

The street art in East London is arguably some of the best in the world. With its ever changing face, they are truly the hidden gems of London waiting to be explored.

Nearby: Old Spitalfields Market, Beigel Bake Brick Lane Bakery, V&A Museum of Childhood, Columbia Road Flower Market

Colourful street art in London's East End.

Colourful street art in London’s East End

26. Skylight Roof Bar

There are quite a few rooftop bars in London these days but how about a rooftop bar in London with an ice rink and igloos? The Skylight in Tobacco Dock in the East End of London is a hidden gem you should definitely check out if you are visiting London in the winter as the ice rink is not there all year round.

It doesn’t stop there. You can also get cosy in the après-ski lodge complete with themed food and drinks or take your tasty cocktail into the cinema room and snuggle up on a sofa to watch a movie.

Nearby: St Katherine Docks, Prospect of Whitby, Tower of London, Tower Bridge

Skylight Bar's rooftop ice rink Photo Credit Skylight.

Skylight Bar’s rooftop ice rink | Photo Credit : Skylight

Hidden gems in London – West

27. Leighton House Museum

Submitted by Theodore Romeo from Camper Front

A single visit to the Leighton House Museum in London will leave you in a state of awe due to its beauty and splendor.

It is the only purpose-built studio house that is open to the public in the United Kingdom. A truly astounding building and the former home of Frederic Lord Leighton (1830–1896), who was a Victorian artist.

This hidden London gem was built to suit Leighton’s taste, and then extended and decorated over the 3 decades he lived there, turning it into a private palace of art, filled with sculptures and paintings by Leighton and his contemporaries.

The most remarkable part of the museum and its highlight is the Arab Hall, modelled after a room in a palace in Palermo. Covered in beautiful Islamic mosaic tiles with a vault above a fountain, the room is simply too spectacular to describe in words and is one of the most beautiful places to visit in London.

In the huge painting studio upstairs, you can see Leighton’s paintings at different stages of completion.

Note that Leighton House Museum is currently closed and undergoing major refurbishment work. It is due to re-open again in October 2021.

Nearby: Kyoto Garden, Holland Park, Kensington Palace, Design Museum, Natural History Museum, Royal Albert Hall

Narcissus and Arab Hall at Leighton House Museum Image Credit Will Pryce.

Narcissus and Arab Hall at Leighton House Museum | Image Credit: Will Pryce

28. Chelsea Physic Garden

Chelsea Physic Garden is a real hidden gem in London. In terms of green spaces in London, it is quite small, particularly compared to its neighbour over the river, Battersea Park, but there is plenty to see.

To really make the most of your visit, it is best to buy a guide book or take a free guided tour to learn about the fascinating history of the garden.

Established in 1673 by Apothecaries who grew medicinal plants, it is the oldest botanical garden in London and has over 5,000 medicinal and edible plants grown both inside and out.

Their tropical glasshouse is kept at a temperature of 15 degrees and is home to tropical species that were brought to the UK such as bananas, coffee, cocoa plants and also the plant that produces quinine, the main ingredient in tonic water.

This tucked away, oasis of calm is a beautiful place to visit if you want to find peace and quiet. This is off the beaten track London at its best.

Nearby: Battersea Park, The Kings Road

Chelsea Physic Garden.

Chelsea Physic Garden

29. Kyoto Garden

The Kyoto Garden in Holland Park is one of the most beautiful gardens in London. It is a Japanese-style landscaped garden and is the perfect place to visit if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city as it oozes peace and tranquility.

It was opened in 1991 and was a gift from the city of Kyoto. Expect tiered waterfalls, koi carp in the pond and beautifully colourful Japanese maples.

Nearby: Kensington Palace, Royal Albert Hall, Leighton House Museum and the Natural History Museum

Kyoto Garden in Holland Park.

Kyoto Garden in Holland Park

30. Banqueting House

Submitted by Ella from Many More Maps

Banqueting House is one of the most overlooked historical attractions in London, making it one of the city’s most exciting hidden gems. It is the only surviving part of the magnificent lost Palace of Whitehall.

In 1698, disaster struck and the Palace burned to the ground – all except for Banqueting House! At Banqueting House, you’ll find rotating exhibitions about the people who used to visit Banqueting House and the very popular ‘Palace Pride’ exhibition, a display about LGBTQ+ history in the British Royal Family.

After perusing the exhibitions and watching a video documenting the history of Banqueting House and Whitehall Palace, you’ll get to step into the hall itself. It was here that Shakespeare’s company performed plays for the King.

You’ll also be able to see the amazing painting by Ruben which has adorned the ceiling since it was first built. Banqueting House is a hidden-gem must visit whilst in London!

Nearby: Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, London Eye, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, St James’s Park

Banqueting House, one of the best hidden gems in London.

Banqueting House

31. Ruislip Lido

If you haven’t got the time to head to one of the best beaches near London on a hot, summer’s day, then you will be pleased to know that there is a beach IN London and it is reachable by underground.

OK. Ruislip Lido is not technically a beach (it’s a reservoir) and it is not recommended to swim in the water (and it’s not going to win best beach in the UK), but it’s not far off the real deal.

Kids will love the narrow guage train that takes you from the car park to the beach. It can get crowded on weekends during the summer holidays.

Nearby: Cassiobury Park, Wembley, Warner Bros Studios (although being out of the centre of London, expect further distances and less public transport options)

Ruislip Lido.

Ruislip Lido

Hidden gems in London – Central

32. Neal’s Yard

Neal’s Yard is not actually so hidden these days thanks to Instagram, but in case you haven’t heard of it, it is well worth a visit. It’s one of the most colourful places in London and is packed with little cafés and boutiques. It is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face!

It is located in Covent Garden and is found by taking a small (and easy to miss) alley from Short’s Garden which enters out into this beautiful courtyard.

Nearby: Covent Garden, London Transport Museum, Leicester Square, Chinatown

Neal's Yard in Covent Garden.

Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden

33. Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese

Ye Olde Cheshire Chese is one of London’s oldest pubs within a stone’s throw of St Paul’s Cathedral. A pub stood on this spot for more than 500 years but was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666. Rebuilt shortly after the fire in 1667, this pub is full of historic character.

It has been frequented by Charles Dickens and Mark Twain but these days is a hang out for city workers, especially on a Friday night.

There are lots of little rooms with low ceilings which, after a few drinks, may manage to disoreintate you!

Nearby: St Paul’s Cathedral, Somerset House, Millenium Bridge, Tate Modern

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese in London.

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese in London

34. St Martin’s in the Fields

The Church of St Martin-in-the-Fields is located on Trafalgar Square and is a lovely, quiet place to pop into and take a moment away from the crowds. The East Window is a striking feature with its warped appearance. It is an installation by Iranian artist, Shirazeh Houshiary, and creates the illusion of a cross.

If you are lucky with your timings, you may witness a rehearsal for one of the many concerts that are held in the church.

If you are visiting London at Christmas (which we highly recommend because it is the best UK city to visit at Christmas!), it’s also a lovely place to catch a carol concert.

Nearby: Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, The National Gallery, Leicester Square

St Martin in the Fields.

St Martin-in-the-Fields

35. Coram’s Fields

Coram’s Fields is one of the loveliest little parks in central London for children.

It can get busy with Londoner’s at the weekend, but if you’re visiting London with kids during the week in the summer, it is the ideal place to escape the heat of the city.

There’s so much to do there including a small city farm, playgrounds, sandpits and a large splash pool. It’s the perfect spot to relax after visiting the British Museum.

Nearby: British Museum, Charles Dickens Museum, The British Library

Children's playground in London.

Children’s playground in London

36. The Garden at 120

Submitted by Clare from This Travel Lover

The Garden at 120 is one of the most serene hidden gems in London. This garden on the top floor of 120 Fenchurch Street has incredible 360° views and is the perfect place to have a quiet moment in the city.

Access to the garden is free, although you will need to pass through a metal detector and bag scanner before you ascend– so don’t bring any luggage with you. Once on the roof, you will be rewarded with some of the best free views in London.

A stream flows through the garden, bees buzz around the flowers and climbing plants reach over the columns and archways around the rooftop. Find a bench to sit and admire the view among the sounds and smells of nature, right in the heart of London.

Nearby: Leadenhall Market, The Sky Garden, St Dunstan in the East, Tower of London, Tower Bridge

View of the Shard from The Garden at 120.

View of the Shard from The Garden at 120

37. Leadenhall Market

Leadenhall Market is on the cusp of being one of the more well-known sights in London but we’ll put it in here because you may not have heard of it if you’re not a Harry Potter fan.

It has been used as a Harry Potter filming location and is firmly on the map of Harry Potter London walking tours.

There’s so much more to Leadenhall Market than Harry Potter though. It has been a market since the 14th century. The gorgeous architecture from the 19th century is worth a look, followed by a spot of window shopping in the high-end shops and a bite to eat in one of the many eateries.

It is located close to Bank and Monument underground stations.

Nearby: Sky Garden and Monument to the Great Fire of London

Leadenhall Market.

Leadenhall Market

38. Fake Downing Street

Did you know that 10 Downing Street, perhaps one of the most famous doors in the world, has a double?

You can’t actually get to Downing Street because it is closed to the public for obvious reasons, so if you want to fool people into thinking that you managed to somehow get a pass to visit, head to 10 Adam Street, London, WC2R 0DE.

The incredibly realistic doppelgänger door is just 600 metres away and you’ll be able to snap away to your heart’s content.

Nearby: Trafalgar Square, The Savoy, The Lion King, Somerset House, St Martin-in-the-Field

10 Downing Street.

10 Downing Street

Map of the hidden gems in London

38 Hidden Gems in london to Escape The Crowds

Hidden gems in London to Escape the Crowds (+Map)

Views from Dunstable Downs over the surrounding counties.
Hertfordshire walks for families.
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