Explore London

20 Hidden Gems In London You Need To See

London is notorious for its eclectic mix of cultural aspects that contribute to the rich arts scene of the city. Combine this with its rich and vast history, and you’re bound to come across some of the most incredible hidden gems in the city, that many tourists don’t even know are there. 

In this guide, we’ll take you through some of the best hidden gems to look out for in the city of London which will make your tours around the streets of the massive city all the more exciting. From interesting art on the walls of London to secret spots you didn’t even know existed, you’ll love discovering these gems slightly off the beaten tourist track. 


Spot a Tiny Police Station

Trafalgar Square is one of the more popular sites in London for Tourists to visit. It’s home to galleries, fountains, and, of course, Nelson’s Column. However, if you keep your eyes peeled, you’ll find some interesting hidden gems in the bustling London hub. One of the most unusual of these is the world’s smallest police station. The station was installed to allow authorities to keep an eye on the protests that were happening in the Square and has since been decommissioned. However, it certainly makes for an interesting photo op as part of your London excursion. 

Mr Foggs Society of Exploration

This is one of the most underrated bars in London and is perfect for those looking for something slightly different. Mr Foggs’ Society of Exploration is an underground cocktail bar situated beneath the streets of Soho. Just off Strand Street, a huge golden globe may catch your eye along with an interesting character dressed in old-fashioned exploration gear. This is the entrance to the truly brilliant bar concept. 

When you enter the stunning bar area, you’ll be greeted by friendly staff and can even have a seat in an old Victorian carriage. If you want to have a drink or two at this fabulous joint, you should certainly make a booking in advance as the bar is not massive. 

A Gothic Secret Garden

If you’re looking for a slightly different London experience compared to simply following the tourist paths around Westminster, then why not take a trip to East London where you’ll find something truly enchanting? St Dunstan’s in the East is a site of the remains of a stunning Gothic architectural work by none other than Christopher Wren. 

St Dunstan’s is now a thriving garden - a perfect spot to spend some time to get away from heaving central London. The site is located near the Monument to The Fire of London, so it’s the perfect hidden gem to discover while ticking off some of the more iconic tourist spots. 

Hidden Sculptures Around the City

London is filled with many Easter eggs, which are especially prominent in their various art forms, especially sculptures that artists incorporate into the city’s architecture. Perhaps some of the more unusual examples of these are the seven secret noses that pop out of walls around Soho. 

These were created and installed by Rick Buckley in secret, but he was finally revealed to be the responsible party in 2011. You can also keep an eye out for the ears in Covent Garden. Although these are more elusive, Tim Fishlock certainly created something equally as intriguing. 

Explore the History of London’s Abandoned Tube Stations

The impressive underground transport network around London has been in operation since 1863, so it’s no wonder that some stations have reached redundancy in terms of their usability. Certainly, the London bombings of the 2nd World War sent many of them into decommission, however, their history is still to be celebrated. 

There are several tours visitors can take around the abandoned London Underground locations, however, one of the stations that stands out as particularly fascinating is the Strand Street Station. During war times, this was the site used to protect the historical artwork housed in the various galleries in London. This is one of the best hidden gems in London to discover if you’re interested in the rich history of the underground. 

The Painted Hall at The Royal Naval College

If you find yourself drawn to the detailed artworks of the 18th century, then this is an artistic stop you cannot afford to miss. The room is a purpose-built dining hall, intended for Greenwich Pensioners who used to live at the Royal Hospital (now the site of the Naval College). It’s the artwork of Sir James Thornhill and is considered to be one of the most exemplary works of Baroque around today. 

Check Out The Colourful Side of London in Neal’s Yard

When you’re exploring the boroughs of Soho and Covent Garden, you’ll likely come across a small alleyway known as the Seven Dials. This is an epic street filled with loads of epic restaurants and stunning stores. Although Seven Dials is arguably one of the hidden gems of Soho itself, delving even deeper into the areas will reveal a charming colourful square - Neal’s Yard. 

This court-yard style nook of the area is covered with fairy lights and brightly painted windows, the building of which houses some of the best eateries London has to offer. It’s the perfect place to find a tasty treat and snap a stunning picture to add to your album of memories.

Purl London Speakeasy in Mayfair

Although speakeasies have made a name for themselves in the City of London, Purl is certainly one of the best-kept secrets. People often struggle to find the entrance to this hidden gem, which truly epitomises what a speakeasy is all about. Once you enter the bar, you’ll notice that the entire venue has almost been carved out of the foundations of the homes that sit above it. You need to make a booking simply to be told the exact location, however, the whole experience is fabulous and makes for a great opportunity to try out some new and delicious concoctions.

Find Some Floral Treats at the Columbia Road Flower Market

If you’re a plant and flower enthusiast, then you should definitely make the trip to Bethnal Green and see some of the stunning produce stall owners have on offer. This incredible flower market is really only open on weekends, but many people don’t even know about it. It’s one of those spots in London where you can find unusual plants and flower types. 

Although you may not live in London, getting a bunch of flowers from this London hidden gem is a great way to brighten up your room during your time in the English Capital. 

Discover A Hidden Market

One of the lesser-known markets in the city of London is none other than Leadenhall Market. The site has been an established marketplace since the 14th century and continues to be a wonderful spot to grab something to eat and shop for beautiful handcrafted wares. 

Although this is one of London’s most airy and beautiful markets, it’s not a massive attraction on your average tourist map, making it one of the best places to experience a market atmosphere without worrying about extensive queues and huge crowds. 

Visit Britain’s Smallest Square

If you’re looking for somewhere to snap some stunning pictures of classic London architecture and take in yet another aspect of London’s rich history, then we highly recommend you take a wander past the smallest square in Britain - Pickering Place. The seclusion of the square meant that it was a hot spot for the more frowned-upon activities of the time including gambling and duelling. 

In fact, Pickering Place happens to be the location of the last duel ever to take place in the city. Visitors can find this hidden gem just off James Street by looking for a gate with the number three on top of it. Once you walk through the passage that leads onto the square, it really does feel like you’ve been taken back in time. 

Experience What Roman Temples Used to Be Like 

London has a rich history associated with the Roman Empire, and many of the ancient Roman remains from the time are open for public viewing today. One such attraction is the Temple of Mithras, a site rediscovered after the Blitz of the 2nd World War by an excavation party led by Professor W.F. Grimes. 

The site has been rebuilt to resemble what it might have looked like during the Roman occupation and even has reenactments of temple worship. Not many people know about this historically rich part of London, so it’s certainly worth checking out for anyone keen on the lesser-known part of London’s past. 

See the London Skyline From One Tree Hill

Many tourists head to the main vantage points to see the London Skyline, but the one we have lined up for you is no Shard, Sky Garden, or London Eye. One Tree Hill is situated in Honor Oak, a park in Southwark and Lewisham open to the public. This hill is a bit of a steep hike, but once you reach the top, you’re greeted by a breathtaking view of the London Skyline. This is the perfect location to see all the famous sites of London from a quieter location. 

See London’s Hidden Palaces 

With a royal history as rich as London’s, there are naturally bound to be some royal hidden gems that the city can boast of. Hidden palaces are no exception. To name a couple, St James’ Palace and Eltham Palace are both located slightly off the beaten track and should not be missed if you’re looking for alternative royal sites to Buckingham Palace. 

St James’ Palace is located slightly off The Mall and opposite the Sudanese Embassy. Slightly further outside of Central London, travellers can find Eltham Palace which has stunning gardens and water features perfect for a relaxing stroll around. Eltham Palace is located in Greenwich but is often overlooked by those exploring the area. 

Find A Mediaeval Drinking Hole In Holborn

It’s no secret that there is an abundance of pubs in the English capital, however, this one is particularly hard to find if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Ye Old Mitre is located between Farringdon and Holborn. Down Ely Street, you need to keep an eye out for an alleyway that looks like it is usually locked by double black gates. This is the path that will lead you to the pub, which itself is brimming with history. 

Visit The Sir John Soane Museum

Sir John Soane is one of the most influential architects to have worked in London, and the museum is nothing short of an art and design marvel. Having used his own home to explore some of his architectural concepts and ideas, the museum is a melting pot of incredible craftsmanship, perhaps resembling an artist gone mad. Because of his enthusiastic approach to his profession, the architectural fanatic’s Museum is said to house over 45,000 artefacts inside the home. Be prepared for an awe-inspiring experience and to squeeze through some tight spaces as you explore this warren of brilliance. 

Visit a Floating Bookstore

London is also a hotspot for bookworms, especially given the calibre of literary genius the city seems to have developed over the last few centuries. For a truly novel literary experience, you have to pay a visit to the Word on the Water bookshop, which prides itself in being the only book barge in London. The barge is located on Regents Canal in the Kings Cross vicinity. 

Immerse Yourself in The World of Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens is perhaps one of the greatest authors to encapsulate stereotypical London characters of his time, and when you consider where he used to frequent, it’s easy to see where he got his inspiration from. If you’re a Dickens fan, you’ll love discovering some of the spots that made London the canvas for his timeless classics. Some of the hidden spots well worth a visit as you retrace the steps of Charles Dickens include The Old Curiosity Shop in Portsmouth St, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, Fleet Street, and the Seven Dials. 

Explore the Hampstead Pergola

For those of you who are enamoured with high-end English gardens, then the Hampstead Pergola in Golders Hill Park is certainly a site you cannot miss. The Pergola is now a site of overgrown vines and an abundance of shrubbery and is the perfect spot to have a meander and be alone with your thoughts. This London hidden gem also offers visitors a stunning view of the nearby Hampstead Heath and is so primed for stunning photos that it’s a licenced wedding venue.

Go Underground in the Chislehurst Caves

If you're willing to take a slightly longer trip to the outskirts of London, then the Chislehurst Caves will certainly not let you down. The site has served multiple purposes throughout the history of London, from quarrying chalk for construction to mushroom growing in the 1920s and is now open to the public for guided tours and is a fabulous outing for the whole family to enjoy

Final Thoughts

With so many nooks and crannies in the city of London, it’s no wonder that the city has so many wonderful hidden gems to discover for the more seasoned traveller. If you’re planning on visiting London and looking for things to do and sights to see that are slightly more off the beaten track, then you should certainly do some research on the hidden gems in London before planning your trip. 

If you need some inspiration, then make sure to try LoveToVisit, a great site that has a number of guided walking tours and other exclusive activities that you can book, enabling you to explore a number of the hidden gems we’ve listed in this article.