12 Hidden Gems in London: Top Underrated Spots in London

by Flora
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Are you looking for the best hidden gems in London? Here’s your ultimate guide to the most underrated places in London. Get ready to discover London off the beaten path.

London is more than its iconic landmarks. It’s filled with secret spots and tranquil retreats. These are often overlooked by travel guides. Yet, these hidden gems are as captivating as the well-known sights. For the curious, London offers a quieter side. Our guide is your entry to these secret places. Here, London’s true essence shines, away from bustling tourist areas.

You’ll find serene gardens, perfect for quiet moments. Historic pubs are rich with stories. Distinctive markets showcase the local lifestyle. These spots let you experience London as residents do. They reveal the city’s authentic heart and soul.

Are you in search of a peaceful place to unwind? Intrigued by unusual attractions? Keen to venture into vibrant neighborhoods beyond common tourist routes? This guide has you covered. We provide practical travel advice, optimal visiting times, and insights into why these underappreciated treasures deserve a visit.

Eager to explore London’s lesser-known facets? Join us as we delve into the city’s best-kept secrets, offering a unique perspective on this historic metropolis.

The best hidden gems in London right now

Hidden Gems in London: 12 Secret Places to Visit

Eager to discover the best hidden gems in London? As mentioned earlier, this beautiful city in Europe is filled with spots beyond the common tourist paths, appealing to a wide range of interests. Explore further to uncover some of the most underrated places in London.

Are you in search of peaceful gardens for relaxation? Or perhaps urban adventures that spark your curiosity? Whatever your preference, London has something special for you. Dive into this guide to find the best hidden gems in London.

1. Eel Pie Island

Tucked away in the Thames at Twickenham, Eel Pie Island stands as one of London’s most intriguing hidden gems. This private island, accessible only by footbridge, harbors a rich history of music, mystery, and a tight-knit artist community. Unlike anywhere else in London, it offers a peek into a bohemian enclave that feels worlds apart from the city’s usual hustle.

Visiting Eel Pie Island is like stepping into a secret slice of London’s past. In the 1960s, it was a hotbed for the UK’s burgeoning rock scene, hosting names like The Rolling Stones and The Who. Today, it’s quieter but no less fascinating, with art studios and quirky homes dotting its landscape.

A trip to Eel Pie Island feels like delving into a hidden piece of London's history.
A trip to Eel Pie Island feels like delving into a hidden piece of London’s history.

Travelers keen on exploring London off the beaten path should aim for the island’s open days, typically held in the summer. It’s a rare chance to explore the artists’ studios and soak in the island’s unique atmosphere. There’s no admission fee, making it an affordable yet enriching experience.

2. Kyoto Garden in Holland Park

Situated within the expansive Holland Park, the Kyoto Garden is a slice of Japanese serenity in the heart of London. Gifted by the city of Kyoto in 1991, this meticulously designed garden is proof of the enduring friendship between Japan and the UK. Making it one of the best hidden gems in London for those seeking tranquility amidst the city’s hustle.

The garden’s cascading waterfall, koi carp-filled pond, and carefully pruned trees create a serene atmosphere that transports visitors straight to Japan. It’s an ideal spot for contemplation, nature photography, or simply a peaceful break from urban exploration. The Kyoto Garden also offers a unique setting for birdwatching, with peacocks freely roaming its paths.

The Kyoto Garden in Holland Park offers a unique nature escape, showcasing London's stunning natural beauty within the city.
The Kyoto Garden in Holland Park offers a unique nature escape, showcasing London’s stunning natural beauty within the city.

Visiting this beautiful destination in London is free, making it a perfect addition to any traveler’s itinerary looking for places to go in London that offer a moment of peace. The best time to visit is during the spring when the cherry blossoms are in bloom or in autumn to see the vibrant fall colors.

Whether you’re a local or a tourist, the Kyoto Garden in Holland Park provides a unique escape to nature, proving that you don’t need to leave the city to find stunning natural beauty spots in London. It’s one of the coolest hidden gems in Europe, hands down!

3. Little Venice

Little Venice, where the Grand Union and Regent’s Canals meet, is one of the underrated destinations in London that offers a picturesque escape from the city’s bustling streets. This quiet area is characterized by its beautiful waterways, charming narrowboats, and quaint waterside cafes.

A stroll along the canal towpaths of Little Venice reveals hidden gardens, historic pubs, and unique boat homes, each with its own story. For those wondering what to do in London that’s both relaxing and scenic, a canal boat tour from Little Venice to Camden offers a unique view of London’s less-seen sights.

Little Venice, often overlooked, provides a charming retreat from London's bustling streets, offering picturesque serenity to visitors.
Little Venice, often overlooked, provides a charming retreat from London’s bustling streets, offering picturesque serenity to visitors.

Visitors can enjoy a variety of performances at the Puppet Theatre Barge, a floating theatre that adds to the area’s quirky charm. Little Venice is also home to several waterside restaurants and cafes where you can indulge in a meal with a view. It’s a go-to destination in London for foodies.

Little Venice is easily accessible by public transport. Its proximity to Paddington Station makes it a convenient spot to visit for both locals and tourists. The best time to visit is during spring or early summer when the weather is ideal for canal-side dining and walking.

4. Wilton’s Music Hall

Discover Wilton’s Music Hall, a hidden theatrical gem tucked away in the East End of London. As the world’s oldest surviving music hall, this venue has witnessed over 150 years of performance history. A must-visit for those seeking unique places to visit in London.

Stepping into Wilton’s is like stepping back in time. Its original architectural features, including the grand auditorium and the Victorian bar, have been lovingly preserved, offering a unique glimpse into the past. The hall hosts a variety of performances, from opera and theatre to comedy and cabaret, catering to diverse tastes. It’s one of those places to go to in London at night for a fun night with friends.

For London visitors seeking unconventional attractions, Wilton's Music Hall provides an exciting alternative to the usual sights.
For London visitors seeking unconventional attractions, Wilton’s Music Hall provides an exciting alternative to the usual sights.

Wilton’s Music Hall stands out not just for its historical significance but also for its vibrant present-day cultural scene. It’s a place where the arts come alive, hidden away from the mainstream tourist tracks.

Located just a short walk from the Tower of London, yet far removed from the typical tourist path, Wilton’s offers an offbeat cultural experience. Whether you’re catching a show or simply exploring the historic building, it’s a captivating underrated destination in London.

For those seeking places to visit in London that strays from the usual attractions, Wilton’s Music Hall offers an exciting alternative.

5. The Seven Noses of Soho

Discovering The Seven Noses of Soho turns a simple stroll through London into an intriguing urban treasure hunt. Placed by artist Rick Buckley in 1997, these seven sculpted noses hidden around Soho have become one of the coolest places to go in London. The project, initially a statement against the proliferation of CCTV cameras, now serves as a fun challenge for visitors.

The quest to find all seven noses offers a novel way to explore Soho’s vibrant streets, bustling markets, and historic pubs. It’s an adventure that combines art, history, and a bit of mystery. The perfect choice for those exploring for what to do in London beyond the conventional tourist activities.

Exploring The Seven Noses of Soho transforms a leisurely walk in London into an engaging urban adventure.
Exploring The Seven Noses of Soho transforms a leisurely walk in London into an engaging urban adventure.

This self-guided tour encourages you to notice the intricate details and stories of the city that are often overlooked. The best part? It’s completely free, making it an affordable addition to your London adventure.

For locals craving a quirky adventure or tourists seeking a new perspective, The Seven Noses of Soho offer just that. Remember, finding all seven is said to bring infinite wealth, adding an extra layer of excitement to your search!

6. God’s Own Junkyard

In Walthamstow lies one of London’s hidden gems that lights up the area with a neon glow, God’s Own Junkyard. This place is an electric dream in London for teenagers, filled with neon signs, vintage movie props, and eclectic art pieces.

Wander through a maze where bright lights reveal dazzling neon art. This is God’s Own Junkyard’s reality. Here, Chris Bracey’s legacy, the ‘Neon Man’, continues to shine. The warehouse showcases neon’s charm through salvaged signs and artworks.

For those seeking Instagram-worthy experiences in London, God’s Own Junkyard offers a unique escape from typical tourist spots.
For those seeking Instagram-worthy experiences in London, God’s Own Junkyard offers a unique escape from typical tourist spots.

For anyone wondering where to go in London for an Instagram-worthy experience away from the usual tourist spots, this is it. It’s a blend of art and history, illuminated by neon. Enjoy a coffee at the cozy café amidst glowing art for a unique experience.

Admission is free, highlighting this spot as a must-see amongst the underrated places in London. God’s Own Junkyard offers an immersive journey into a world dominated by vibrant color and light.

7. Leighton House Museum

If you’re on the hunt for secret spots in London, the Leighton House Museum in Kensington is a must-visit. This former home of the Victorian artist Frederic Leighton is a masterpiece. Here you’ll find a blend of art, architecture, and interior design that’s unlike anywhere else in the city.

Walking through the museum is like stepping back in time. The highlight is the Arab Hall, adorned with intricate Islamic tiles, a golden dome, and an indoor fountain. This creates a sense of being in a luxurious palace rather than a London townhouse. It’s this unique atmosphere that makes Leighton House one of the best hidden gems in London.

For seekers of hidden gems in London, the Leighton House Museum in Kensington is an absolute must-visit destination.
For seekers of hidden gems in London, the Leighton House Museum in Kensington is an absolute must-visit destination.

Beyond its stunning interiors, the museum hosts a collection of Leighton’s works, along with temporary exhibitions that dive deeper into the era’s artistic movements.

Entry to Leighton House Museum comes with a fee, but it’s worth every penny. It’s an escape from the city’s hustle, offering a quiet space to appreciate the craftsmanship of a bygone era.

8. Postman’s Park

Postman’s Park, tucked away near St. Paul’s Cathedral, is a slice of peace with a twist. It’s not just any park; it’s where you find the Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice. This unique spot is dedicated to ordinary people who did extraordinary things to save others.

Amidst the city’s rush, this park offers a quiet spot to reflect on stories of unsung heroes. Here each plaque tells a different tale of bravery. It’s a bit of a hidden history lesson in the open air.

Postman’s Park, nestled near St. Paul's Cathedral, offers a tranquil escape with a unique twist for those seeking respite.
Postman’s Park, nestled near St. Paul’s Cathedral, offers a tranquil escape with a unique twist for those seeking respite.

For those looking for beautiful destinations in London, Postman’s Park is a perfect pick. It’s free, open all year, and gives you a different perspective on the city. This makes it ideal for a thoughtful break from the nearby hustle of the financial district. It’s a reminder of the heroism in everyday life, right in the heart of the city.

9. The Hill Garden and Pergola

In the heart of Hampstead Heath lies the Hill Garden and Pergola, a hidden gem that escapes the notice of most London visitors. Originally for lavish Edwardian parties, this spot now offers peace with its wild vines and flowers. This hidden gem in London is perfect for quiet moments or romantic settings. 

The Pergola’s old-world charm shines through every season. It’s stunning in spring and autumn when the garden blooms. Wondering where to go in London for an outdoor escape? This place is a must-see, blending history and nature.

Hill Garden and Pergola, a hidden gem often missed by most visitors exploring London's attractions.
Hill Garden and Pergola, a hidden gem often missed by most visitors exploring London’s attractions.

Located in Hampstead, it’s easily reachable by public transport, making it a convenient escape for both locals and tourists.

Entry to this garden is free, ideal for any leisurely outing. Whether you’re a photographer, a couple, or simply a seeker of quiet corners in the city, the Hill Garden and Pergola promises a memorable experience.

10. Abney Park Cemetery

Abney Park Cemetery, located in Stoke Newington, is a unique spot that’s often missed by tourists. It’s free, making it a great option for budget travelers or anyone looking to explore London’s quieter sides. This place is both a nature reserve and a historical cemetery, offering a peaceful break from the city’s noise.

You can get there easily by public transport, with the nearest station being Stoke Newington. It’s an ideal place for a leisurely walk, especially in autumn when the leaves change color, creating a beautiful scene. It’s also a hit with photographers looking for a different backdrop and history buffs interested in Victorian London.

Explore London off the beaten path with Abney Park Cemetery, embracing nature and history away from the crowds.
Explore London off the beaten path with Abney Park Cemetery, embracing nature and history away from the crowds.

The cemetery is open to visitors all year round. Since it’s still in use, it’s important to visit with respect for the site and its tranquility. Abney Park Cemetery offers a chance to explore London off the beaten path, taking in nature and history without the crowds.

11. The Thames Path by Richmond

If you’re itching for a slice of tranquility without venturing too far from London’s heartbeat, the Thames Path near Richmond is your spot. Absolutely free to enjoy, it’s a stone’s throw from Richmond Station, making it a breeze to get to for an impromptu day out.

The path caters to a variety of interests, from leisurely strolls that soak in the riverside ambiance to more active pursuits like jogging. The panoramic views of the Thames, particularly during sunset, are simply breathtaking. Along the way, visitors can enjoy numerous spots perfect for picnics, complemented by the charm of local cafes and pubs for those preferring to dine out.

For Londoners seeking peace or visitors discovering hidden spots, the Thames Path by Richmond is a brilliant choice.
For Londoners seeking peace or visitors discovering hidden spots, the Thames Path by Richmond is a brilliant choice.

Daylight hours are pretty safe, but staying alert is always smart. So, whether you’re a Londoner needing a moment’s peace or a visitor seeking London’s hidden spots, the Thames Path by Richmond is a brilliant pick.

12. Daunt Books for Travelers

For those who wander through London with a thirst for adventure, Daunt Books for Travelers is a must-visit. This bookstore is a sanctuary for travel enthusiasts, making it one of the best hidden gems in London for readers and explorers alike. With its Edwardian oak galleries and skylights, the store itself is as much a journey as the books it houses.

Daunt Books is known for its global collection, including travel guides, fiction, and non-fiction. Here, you can plan your next adventure or dream about distant lands. Every shelf is full of inspiration, making it ideal for picking up a new book before relaxing in a London park.

A hidden gem in London, Daunt Books for Travelers is an essential destination, offering inspiration and guidance for globe-trotters.
A hidden gem in London, Daunt Books for Travelers is an essential destination, offering inspiration and guidance for globe-trotters.

The atmosphere at Daunt Books is truly unique. As soon as you enter, you’re enveloped in stories of adventures in far-off places. It reminds you of the thrill of discovering new things, whether through reading or exploring London’s streets.

Daunt Books is a short stroll from Marylebone High Street, and it’s free to visit. However, the wide selection of books might just tempt you to make a purchase. For those seeking underrated places in London, Daunt Books provides a peaceful retreat and endless inspiration.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Best Hidden Gems in London

Are you searching for more content about where to go in London? Here are some common questions (and answers) I get asked a lot about the most underrated places in London.

What’s the best time of year to explore hidden gems in London?

Exploring London’s hidden gems is a year-round adventure, but spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) offer mild weather and fewer crowds. These seasons highlight the city’s natural beauty, making outdoor spots like the Kyoto Garden and Hampstead Heath Pergola even more enchanting.

Are there any fees associated with visiting these hidden gems in London?

Many of London’s hidden gems, including Postman’s Park and the Hill Garden and Pergola, are free to visit. Some places, like certain museums or galleries tucked away in the city, might have an admission fee. It’s always a good idea to check their official websites for the most up-to-date information.

How safe are these off-the-beaten-path locations in London?

London’s hidden gems are generally safe to explore. However, like in any big city, it’s wise to stay aware of your surroundings, especially if you’re visiting quieter areas with fewer people around. During evening hours, stick to well-lit paths and consider exploring with a companion.

Venturing to London and seeking off-the-beaten-path destinations? These hidden gems are truly worth your exploration.
Venturing to London and seeking off-the-beaten-path destinations? These hidden gems are truly worth your exploration.

What travel tips do you have for someone wanting to discover hidden gems in London?

Wear comfortable shoes as you’ll likely be walking a lot, especially in areas like Eel Pie Island or along the Thames Path by Richmond. Carrying a lightweight raincoat is also advisable, given London’s unpredictable weather. Lastly, always have a charged phone for navigation and in case you need to look up travel information on the go.

Are these hidden gems in London accessible by public transport?

Yes, most of these hidden gems are accessible via the city’s extensive public transport network. Places like God’s Own Junkyard in Walthamstow can be reached by tube, while others, such as the serene canals of Little Venice, are just a short walk from nearby tube stations. Using an Oyster card or contactless payment option is the most efficient way to travel.

Do I need to book in advance to visit any of these underrated destinations in London?

For most outdoor and public spaces, no booking is required. However, if your exploration includes specific events, workshops, or tours within these hidden gems, it might be wise to book in advance. Always check the latest visitor information as policies can change based on the season or special events.

Final Thoughts on London’s Hidden Gems

Exploring London’s hidden spots uncovers a city full of surprises. From Kyoto Garden’s peaceful scenery to the historic vibes of Abney Park Cemetery, these places offer a different view of London, away from the usual sights.

Each spot has its own charm and story, showing that there’s always something new to discover. Whether you love history, nature, or books, London has secret spots that feel like a breath of fresh air compared to the usual tourist spots.

To really get the most out of these hidden gems, keep an open mind and stay curious. Many are free, so you can enjoy great experiences without spending a lot. Some might need a little extra effort to get to, but getting to know London on a deeper level is worth it.

So, the next time you’re in London, try something different. Explore London off the beaten path and discover these unique, overlooked, and the truly magical parts of the city. London, often celebrated as a great place to live in England, is full of discoveries, and its real charm is in the hidden corners with stories waiting to be told!

Dive into this guide to discover the best hidden gems in London for all travelers
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