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5 Hidden Gems to Discover in London

5 Hidden Gems to Discover in London

5 Hidden Gems to Discover in London

London is a vibrant city, and there’s always somewhere new to explore or something to see, whether you’re a visitor or a resident. When you’re looking for a day out, you can find that you come across the same recommendations again and again, which can be very frustrating if you’re looking for something a bit more surprising. Rather than do all of the same old things that everyone else does, it’s fun to seek out those London hidden gems away from the tourist traps but familiar with the locals.

non Touristy Things to Do In London

St Dunstan in the East

St Dunstan In The East

St Dunstan in the East was once a parish church in the City of London. The ruins of the original church, which was badly damaged in the Blitz, are now a public garden offering a tranquil oasis in the middle of a busy city.

Inside the St Dunstan In the East | arch window

Nature has reclaimed the beautiful ruins, with trees and plants growing around and through the brickwork and windows. The green spot has benches for resting and paths to walk, and it looks particularly good after it has just snowed.

St Dunstan in the East | St Dunstan’s Hill | London | EC3R 5DD | Website

Leake Street Graffiti Tunnel

Leake Street Graffiti Tunnel | London Street Art

London Street Art

A lot of people like to seek out street art when they’re exploring a city. It’s a great way to get a feel for what the city’s culture is really like, by stepping away from the beaten track to see some organic art (for free).

Leake Street Graffiti Tunnel | London Street Art

Underneath Waterloo Station is Leake Street Graffiti Tunnel, one of the best places to visit in London if you’re looking for street art. The 300-metre tunnel is one of the largest areas that legally allows street art in the city, so it’s a popular place for people to leave their mark. Made famous in 2008 after Banksy hosted the Cans Festival with 30 artists, the tunnel turned into an ever-changing art gallery.

Leake Street Graffiti Tunnel | Leake St | Lambeth | SE1 7NN | Website

Kyoto Garden

Kyoto Garden in Holland Park

For another place that’s perfect for relaxation and quiet reflection, Kyoto Garden in Holland Park is a stunning place to go. This Japanese-style garden is a calm spot to visit, with plenty of greenery, a pond full of koi and fountains. The garden is a celebration of the friendship between Britain and Japan, and was a gift from Kyoto in 1991.

Kyoto Garden in Holland Park | feeding a peacock

Holland Park is also home to about a dozen friendly if not slightly noisy peacocks who strut around like they own the place. The peacocks have been part of the park’s charm for many years now and successful breeding has seen their numbers increasing annually.

Kyoto Garden | Holland Park, Holland Park Ave | W11 4UA | Website

Leadenhall Market

Leadenhall Market | outside

There’s no shortage of shopping opportunities in London, but not everyone wants to spend their time on Oxford Street. If you’re looking for something different, Leadenhall Market offers unique shopping and interesting architecture too.

Leadenhall Market architecture

The covered market dates back to the 14th century, and with its ornate roof and cobbled floors, you don’t even need to go into any of the shops to enjoy yourself at this central London hidden gem.

Leadenhall Market | Gracechurch St | London | EC3V 1LT | Website

Crossness Pumping Station

Crossness Pumping Station | unusual places to visit in London

A former sewage pumping station might seem like an odd place to visit, but Crossness Pumping Station is a great pick if you’re looking for some unusual architecture in London. It might have served a practical purpose, but the station has some of the best examples of Victorian ornamental ironwork in the city, some say even in the world.

Inside Crossness Pumping Station | unusual places to visit in London

While the station isn’t in operation any more, you can visit on open days and sometimes see the restored steam engine in operation, as well as go on a guided tour.

Crossness Pumping Station | Bazalgette Way |Abbey Wood| SE2 9AQ | Website

And Finally…

London is full of less visible places that you must to seek out if you’re looking for something different. Going beyond the usual sights I believe lets you get to know the real London.

Recently I showcased some of these hidden gems in a short film for KLM’s iFly Magazine and inflight entertainment systems. Go behind the scenes of the shoot, discover a few more gems and see the end result in Filming ‘Little Secrets of London’ For KLM Dutch Airlines.

I’d love to know some of your hidden gems in London. Let me know in the comments box below

sima

Hungry for more London hidden gems. Check out this book!

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Full Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links whereby I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps with the costs of running my blog so I can keep my content free for you. Thanks as always for your support! See my full disclosure here.

14 Comments

  • Bejal 3rd July 2019 at 7:08 pm

    Love these gems but have never been to the pumping station! Infact didn’t even know it was a place! On the list now!

    • the Curious Pixie 3rd July 2019 at 8:11 pm

      It’s bizarre to think you’d want to go to a poop house, but it’s really quite impressive. My family took me on Mother’s Day – they know how to treat me!

  • Neha 4th July 2019 at 9:28 pm

    Kyoto Garden and that graffiti tunnel- looks so amazing! Love your finds in London. Definitely make me want to explore more

    • the Curious Pixie 7th July 2019 at 10:27 pm

      Thanks Neha. Love adding more places to people’s list to discover.

  • Kathryn Burrington 5th July 2019 at 5:16 am

    I’ve been wanting to go to Crossness ever since I saw it in a book last year. Isn’t it beautiful! Leadenhall Market is also on my list but the other places are new to me. The church ruins are lovely as is the Japanese Garden. I will definitely looks some of these places up next time I’m in London.

    • the Curious Pixie 7th July 2019 at 10:27 pm

      They are all such beautiful place. Crossness is so worth a visit, just need to look out for their open days.

  • OurWorldforYou 5th July 2019 at 10:40 am

    Some great choices. Wow, Leake Street brought back some memories, I visited there in 2008during the Case Festival. I’ll have to visit Crossness.

    • the Curious Pixie 7th July 2019 at 10:27 pm

      Thank you! I bet the Festival was great, would have loved to have experienced it.

  • Kacie 5th July 2019 at 1:25 pm

    I never knew about any of these places. I’d love to go to the graffiti tunnel – what a great photo opp that would be!

    • the Curious Pixie 7th July 2019 at 10:27 pm

      A few more places to go and discover. I love Leake Street Arches.

  • Angie SilverSpoon 6th July 2019 at 9:21 am

    Most of these are new to me too!

  • kerry Lifeandloves 7th July 2019 at 8:58 am

    Ohhh I love Kyoto Gardens, one of my favourite spots in London. I have never been to St Dunstan, looks very interesting. Great post Sima x

    • the Curious Pixie 7th July 2019 at 10:18 pm

      Thanks Kerry. If you’re ever in the city. Grab a sandwich and head there.

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    I'm Sima, join me as I explore, experience and eat my way around the globe. Inspiring you to escape the everyday through my adventures... Read More

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