Who doesn’t love London? In fact, most of us, have at least visited more than 2 times. Having been to my favourite city in Europe for the 4th time, I was determined to find out places that I haven’t visited before and I have to say I was stunned. There are so many hidden gems in London that only locals know and a few tourists that happen to stumble upon them by mistake. I gathered all of them to make your next trip to London even more special.
1. Little Venice
A lovely canal area that locals love, but tourists have no idea it exists. You can either walk along the canal until you arrive at Camden Town or go on a boat ride. You can also visit Waterside Cafe, which is a cosy floating cafe, with coffee, tea, snacks and breakfast options. Or head to Cafe Laville for a romantic view of the canal.
2. Neil’s Yard
A small colourful alley located in Covent Garden. Usually, people visit Covent Garden but have no idea that 3 minutes away lies this beautiful and captivating ”little-village”. Cafes, bakeries and restaurants are some of the venues you can find, as well as ”Neal’s Yard Remedies” with 100% ethical, cruelty-free, all-natural and organic health and beauty products.
3. Westminster Arch
One of the first locations you will head to while in London is Westminster Abbey. The Parliament, Big Ben (not now, since it is under construction) and the London Eye, are the reason why you will go there. Or so you’d think. Somewhere very close and hidden, there is the Westminster Arch, which an amazing view of the parliament, Big Ben and the Thames. I am pretty sure that in less than a year, it will be full of tourists on a daily basis for some unique Instagram shots. So hurry up!
4. Redemption Bar, Shoreditch
Victoria’s Secret has set the bar very high with its wings. After that, many venues around the world have done the same. They have placed or painted beautiful wings on walls. People visit them like crazy and the venues are advertised. The Redemption Bar in Shoreditch is no different but comes with something extra. The wings drawn are stunning and are a part of an arch. By also photographing the arch around it, you will have a somewhat more different picture than everyone else.
5. Leadenhall Market
Or else Diagon Alley for Harry Potter fans is a structurally beautiful shopping area with restaurants and cafes. The market is open 24/7, but the shops vary in opening times, with most of them closing at 20.00. That means that if you visit early in the morning or after 20.00, the market will be all yours with the opportunity to get all the shots you want.
6. Saint Dunstan in the East
A somewhat hidden and unique garden in the centre of London. Just 2 minutes away from the Old Billingsgate, you will find this now destroyed church. Trees grow through windows and vines along walls. When it’s sunny, the park is a great and bright place to relax. When it’s cloudy, then you can feel the more dark side it represents.
7. Sky Garden
The best free view of the city (36th floor) and one of the most stunning inside spaces, with gardens and glass dome. All you have to do is visit their website and book a free visit. There are usually many openings throughout the day, but make sure to start trying at least two weeks before. Once the slots are closed, there is no way to visit, unless you book a cafe or restaurant.
8. One New Change
While at Saint Paul’s, 3 minutes afar, you will find the One New Change Mall. Before going in, go around it, until you find the spot where you are between 2 stores with glass. The reflection of Saint Paul on the shop windows makes for an amazing and beautiful illusion. You can get some pretty stunning shots both during the day and at night. But be prepared. A lot of people pass by on the way to the mall.
9. Elan Cafe in L’occitane
A stunning and warm cafe, filled with flower walls and decorations. Finding a table can be tricky, or even sitting by the flower walls. However, if you only want to get some pictures, instead of actually visiting for coffee, you now have another option. In Regent Street, in L’occitane, another Elan Cafe has opened and is accessible to everyone. So head there and take advantage of the decor.
10. Hampstead Heath
A lovely area to spend your afternoon with some of the best views and highest points in London. This traditional English area is full of charming alleys, with restaurants, coffee places and many stores selling antiques or vintage items.
11. BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir London
Britain’s first and probably the only authentic Hindu temple in Europe, as it was built with traditional methods and materials. Exquisite marbles and wooden cravings will surely amaze you. This is definitely one of the best-hidden gems in London, as tourists have no idea it even exists.
Chelsea is a charming, beautiful but also a very expensive area. The Street Food Market of the area is a real treat with delicious dishes from all over the world and super tasty desserts. While on the area, make sure to stop by the Ivy Chelsea Garden, a restaurant with stunning exterior design. During Christmas is filled with white ornaments and vines, as well as a frozen throne. During the rest of the year, the decoration is filled with flower walls. A few steps further you can find the famous Peggy Porschen, with some of the most delicious cakes and cupcakes.
13. Saint Aymes cafe
No coincidence it is London’s most beautiful cafe and the most Instagrammable one. Colourful and elegant flower walls, velvet sittings, pastel shades combined with gold will make for a unique experience. With 2 locations, it is one of the most visited cafes, with people booking days or even weeks in advance. But beware, you may not always get to sit next to the walls of the flower and the cafe is a bit overpriced.
14. The Vaults
Who said being underground isn’t fun? The Vaults are hidden underneath the Waterloo station and are a unique experience. The tunnel is filled with graffiti art and many restaurants and bars. There are also many events and performances by comedians and actors occurring. Any form of art is strongly encouraged and embraced.
15. Bus Tours
If you want to go on a very cheap tour of the London sights, fear not. There are a few public buses that have some pretty good routes, depending on what you want to see. All you have to do is hop on one of them, pay 1,50£ and enjoy the route.
Bus 11 begins at Liverpool street and ends at Fulham Town Hall, passing by Chelsea, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Trafalgar Square, Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey and Covent Garden. Bus 9 will take you through Trafalgar Square, Regent Street, Piccadilly Circus, Hyde Park, Harrods and Kensington Palace.
Are there any of these secret spots you already knew about???? If not, pack your bags and head to London for an even better experience. Each place is unique and has so much to offer.