London plays host to thousands of visitors every year and most visitors (quite rightly) flock to the most popular attractions such as the British Museum, Tower of London, St. Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. However, you need not stick rigidly to an itinerary that only includes iconic sights as there are plenty of hidden gems to discover on your trip to London that you just have to look a bit harder for. If you like to be ahead of the pack and find the more unusual places off the beaten track, then this is the list for you. Read on to find some of the best hidden gems in London!
Founded in 1673 by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries and hidden away on the Chelsea Embankment, the Chelsea Physic Garden is one of the more unusual places to visit in London. Originally founded to enable apprentices to learn more about plants and their uses, today this walled garden is home to Britain's first garden of ethnobotany (the study of the botany of different ethnic groups and indigenous peoples). Stroll around the gardens, take a look at the giftshop or have a break in the Tangerine Dream Cafe. This garden also plays host to several special events throughout the calender year such as a Christmas Fair, Snowdrop Days and Festive Shopping Days.
66 Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, London, SW3 4HS
One of the more interesting and historic music venues in London, Wilton's Music Hall is one of the world's oldest surviving grand music halls (established in the mid 19th century) and was listed as a Grade II listed building in 1971 thanks, in part to London's champion of historic buildings, Sir John Betjeman (a sculpture of whom is now in St. Pancras station). Wilton's Music Hall retains it's unique character with it's slightly disheveled (yet immensely charming) appearance and now hosts a variety of arts and heritage events throughout the year. The oldest part of the hall is The Mahogany Bar which was built around 1725 and is a great spot for a drink or two with friends.
Wilton’s Music Hall, Graces Alley, London E1 8JB
A secret escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, Postman's Park is tucked away between St. Paul's Cathedral and the Museum of London. Originally, a favourite lunch spot for the workers in the nearby General Post Office, it is also home to the Watts Memorial, a memorial to those who died heroically to save others. This pretty park is an ideal spot for a little break on your day of sightseeing. Take a seat by the sundial or the fountain or take a few minutes to read some of the plaques detailing the heroic efforts of Londoners.
Postman's Park, St Martin's Le-Grand, London EC1A
A stunning secluded garden quite nearby to the Tower of London, St. Dunston in the East is home to a Grade I listed church which was originally built in 1100 (with a tower and steeple added by Sir Christopher Wren in 1695-1701) and which suffered severe damage in both the Great Fire of London and the Blitz of 1941. Exotic plants weave their way through the ruins of the old church and you can take a stroll around the garden on cobbled paths to take in the amazing sights and sounds of this secret garden in the heart of the city.
St. Dunstan's Hill, off Lower Thames Street, London EC3R 8DX
Originally opened in 1907 and closed almost a century later in 1994, this disused underground station is one of the best kept secrets in London. Often used for filming, this station is closed to the public except for guided tours by the London Transport Museum throughout the year. During these informative tours, you can get to see the ticket halls, abandoned platforms and tunnels, and even some of the retro posters on display throughout the station.
Aldwych Underground Station (Surrey Street entrance)
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