Arts & Culture

The ultimate guide to 53 fantastic hidden gems in London

Every year, London landmarks like Big Ben, the Tower of London, and Buckingham Palace attract millions of tourists. Still, many secret spots throughout the capital are worth discovering.

Rich heritage, artsy vibes, or secret stories, immerse yourself in the literary history of Bloomsbury, explore the Shoreditch graffitis, or take a quiet break in gardens like the Kyoto Garden in Holland Park.

There’s plenty to see, so if you’re curious, venture off the beaten path and discover treasures worth your time – here’s our selection of fantastic hidden gems in London, per type.

London hidden gems at a glance:

Areas and places

  • Bloomsbury, Camden
  • Little Venice, Paddington
  • Shoreditch, East London
  • Brixton Windmill, Southbank
  • Eltham Palace, Greenwich
  • Alexandra Palace, Muswell Hill

Shops and markets

  • God’s Own Junkyard, Walthamstow
  • Columbia Road Flower Market, Hoxton
  • Daunt Books, Marylebone
  • Leadenhall Market, City of London
  • Hoxton Street Monster Supply Store, Hoxton
  • Camden Passage, Islington
  • Bermondsey Antique Market, Southbank
  • Kingly Court, Soho
  • Maltby Street Market, Southwark
  • Alfie’s Antique Market, Marylebone
  • Old Spitalfields Market, Shoreditch
  • Greenwich Market, Greenwich
  • Seven Dials, Covent Garden


  • The Cinema Museum, Lambeth
  • Dennis Severs’ House, Spitalfields
  • Leighton House Museum, Kensington
  • The Horniman Museum and Gardens, Dulwich
  • Sir John Soane’s Museum, Holborn
  • The Hunterian Museum, Holborn
  • The Brunel Museum, Rotherhithe
  • The Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret, London Bridge
  • The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Hackney
  • The Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, Islington

Parks and gardens

  • St Dunstan in the East, City of London
  • Postman’s Park, City of London
  • The Garden at 120, City of London
  • Kyoto Garden in Holland Park
  • The Thames Path
  • Hampstead Heath

Arts and Culture

  • Wilton’s Music Hall, City of London
  • The Queen’s House, Greenwich
  • Neal’s Yard. Covent Garden
  • Platform 9 ¾, King’s Cross 
  • The Scoop, London Bridge
  • Keats House, Hampstead
  • The Courtauld Gallery, Charing Cross

Pubs and restaurants

  • The Dickens Inn, St Katharine’s & Wapping Docks
  • The Churchill Arms, Notting Hill
  • Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese
  • Gordon’s Wine Bar, Charing Cross
  • The Blind Pig, Soho
  • The Old School Yard, London Bridge
  • Cahoots, Soho
  • The Culpeper, Spitalfields
  • The Experimental Cocktail Club
  • The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town
  • The Chelsea Prayer Room

You can find all of these places on our dedicated Google Maps here.

Areas and places

Bloomsbury, Camden

Located in the heart of London, Bloomsbury is known for its rich literary and intellectual history. You’ll find the British Museum, the British Library, and several universities here. The neighbourhood is charming with its beautiful Georgian and Victorian architecture, quiet garden squares, and winks to Virginia Woolf and Charles Dickens.

Little Venice, Paddington

Nestled along the Regent’s Canal, one of the cutest London hidden gems is Little Venice, which offers a tranquil escape from the bustling city. Its picturesque waterways, narrow boats, and waterfront cafes make it easy to see why this area is often compared to Venice in Italy. Take a boat ride, stroll along the canals, or simply relax in the peaceful ambience of this secret oasis.

Shoreditch, East London

Known for its vibrant art scene and street culture, Shoreditch is a dynamic neighbourhood in East London. It is a hub for contemporary art, boasting numerous galleries, street art murals, and trendy shops. Also renowned for its vibrant nightlife, try some of the coolest bars, live music venues, and diverse eateries. 

Brixton Windmill, Southbank

If you’ve ever ventured to the Brixton area, you understand why this one is special. We’re talking about a proper windmill, part of the local industrial heritage, taking visitors back to the engineering marvels of this time in the heart of Windmill Gardens. Visit this incredible machine, and you’ll learn about the city’s evolution and the importance of sustainable energy.

Eltham Palace, Greenwich

Located in Greenwich, Eltham Palace’s elegant architecture blends medieval and Art Deco designs. Owned by the Courtauld family, who resided here in the 1930s, its gardens look pristine, and its interiors are magnificent, with a unique collection of fine art items, making your visit unforgettable. 

Alexandra Palace, Muswell Hill

Overlooking the city of London, Alexandra Palace – or the birthplace of television – is a picturesque entertainment venue nestled within a vast park near Muswell Hill. Called “Ally Pally” by residents, it has a rich history, and if you’re having a picnic in the park, you’ll get gorgeous views of the London skyline. The venue regularly hosts concerts, exhibitions, and ice skating. 

Shops and markets

God’s Own Junkyard, Walthamstow

Located in Walthamstow, God’s Own Junkyard is a quirky space with its collection of neon signs, vintage props, and salvaged pieces from the entertainment industry. If you’re in London and an art enthusiast or collector, make sure you check this place off of your bucket list!

Columbia Road Flower Market, Hoxton

Columbia Road Flower Market offers a spectacular array of flowers, plants, and gardening accessories every Sunday. Whether you have a green thumb or not, immerse yourself in the market’s bubbly atmosphere, meet the passionate vendors, and find the perfect plants to fill your interior. You’ll also be pleased to discover the cutest independent shops on Columbia Road!

Daunt Books, Marylebone

If you’re a book lover, Daunt Books should be on your London bucket list. The bookshop’s distinctive Edwardian building presents a vast collection of books curated and organised by country. The travel section, where books are arranged by destination, is particularly worth it and will inspire you for your next trips!

Leadenhall Market, City of London

Known for its appearance in the Harry Potter series, Leadenhall Market will make any fan of the world-famous wizard happy. Located in the City of London, its stunning Victorian architecture and decorations will enchant you, as well as its shops, boutiques, and restaurants. If you’re into JK Rowling’s saga, pursue your London journey with an exciting visit to the Harry Potter Studios.

Hoxton Street Monster Supply, Hoxton

Located in Hoxton, Monster Supply Store is unlike any other store. Hidden behind a secret door, it caters to all your unconventional needs. From tins of “Edible Eyeballs” to “Blood Vessels” and “Impacted Earwax”, this quirky shop offers an extensive range of bizarre food. Run by charity The Ministry of Stories, not only will you experience something out of the box, but you will also support creative programmes.

Camden Passage, Islington

Camden Passage is a charming pedestrian-only street with independent and antique shops, vintage boutiques, and market stalls. If you’re an antique lover or collector, here you’ll find unique treasures, including ceramics, furniture, jewellery, and vintage clothing – all in a vibrant atmosphere.

Bermondsey Antique Market, Southbank

Located in southeast London, Bermondsey Antique Market takes place every Friday morning in Bermondsey Square and attracts antique enthusiasts from all over the city. With over 200 stalls, you can browse various items, from vintage furniture and artwork to retro clothing and homeware. 

Kingly Court, Soho

Hidden in Soho, Kingly Court is a three-story courtyard filled with boutique stores, restaurants, and cafes. If you’re looking for a unique shopping experience, this place is for you, and there’s something for everyone – fashion, beauty, lifestyle, retro clothing, homeware, and more. After you’re done with shopping, head to the courtyard to relax and grab a bite.

Maltby Street Market, Southwark

Located in the borough of Southwark, Maltby Street Market is tucked away under the railway arches, where you’ll find many stalls selling artisanal food and drink. Choose from freshly baked pastries and gourmet cheeses to craft beers and speciality coffee; the perfect spot if you love London’s thriving culinary scene.

Alfie’s Antique Market, Marylebone

Nestled in Marylebone, Alfie’s Antique Market is one of London’s largest indoor antique markets, with five floors filled with unique and eclectic items. You’ll undoubtedly spend hours wandering through the alleys of antiques, vintage clothing, jewellery, and homeware in this antique department store. The building is also quite special, with breathtaking Victorian architecture – so prepare your camera!

Old Spitalfields Market, Shoreditch

With a history dating back to the 17th century, Old Spitalfields Market is a lively market showcasing a diverse mix of fashion, food, and entertainment. Today the market continues to buzz with energy and creativity, offering delicious street food, creative fashion stalls, and independent shops adapted to various tastes and budgets. From vintage clothing and unique accessories to global cuisines and trendy pop-up shops, Old Spitalfields Market is a dynamic hub where the old meets new, offering a delightful shopping and cultural experience.

Greenwich Market, Greenwich

Located within a World Heritage Site, Greenwich Market is a charming covered market offering a diversity of arts, crafts, food, and antiques. You’ll discover the work of local artisans and their crafts – from handmade jewellery and artwork to gourmet street food and fresh produce. After that, you can head to Cutty Sark to keep admiring the views of the fascinating Greenwich area.

Seven Dials, Covent Garden

You’ll find Seven Dials in the heart of Covent Garden, a great shopping place known for its myriad of independent boutiques, international fashion brands, dining options, and theatres! The area takes its name from the seven streets converging at its central point, forming a dynamic shopping and entertainment hub. 


The Cinema Museum, Lambeth

Housed in a former Victorian workhouse, The Cinema Museum showcases the extraordinary history of cinema throughout our times. If you’re a film enthusiast, you’ll see an extensive collection of artefacts, equipment, memorabilia, and interactive exhibits. The museum also offers screenings of classic films, allowing you to experience the magic of the silver screen in a truly immersive setting. 

Dennis Severs’ House, Spitalfields

Another museum not to miss during your visit to London is Dennis Severs’ House. Hidden in Spitalfields, this museum takes you back into 18th-century London, with restored rooms arranged to represent different periods of history. Here, explore and imagine what life was like for its former residents.

Leighton House Museum, Kensington

This hidden gem near Holland Park showcases the opulent home of Victorian artist Frederic, Lord Leighton. The museum incorporates Leighton’s former studio, a breathtaking Arab Hall inspired by Islamic architecture, and a stunning collection of art and artefacts. Admire this masterpiece’s decorated interiors, tiled rooms, and stunning artwork.

The Horniman Museum and Gardens, Dulwich

Situated in Forest Hill in the Dulwich area, the Horniman Museum and Gardens is an award-winning museum boasting a diverse collection of anthropology, natural history, and musical instruments. Discover the exhibits, relax in the beautiful gardens, or enjoy live performances at the outdoor bandstand. 

Sir John Soane’s Museum, Holborn

If you go to Holborn, which you’ll probably do during your London trip, don’t forget to check the Sir John Soane’s Museum. Especially if you like architecture! This museum is a treasure trove of art, architecture, and curiosities. Once the home of the renowned architect Sir John Soane, it showcases his collection of art, antiquities, and architectural models

The Hunterian Museum, Holborn

Still in Holborn, the Hunterian Museum showcases various anatomical and pathological specimens and medical instruments and explains the advancements in medical science. It’s a place where you can explore the intricacies of the human body and learn about groundbreaking surgical techniques.

The Brunel Museum, Rotherhithe 

Located in Rotherhithe – next to Bermondsey – the Brunel Museum celebrates the great engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel and his iconic Thames Tunnel. Get a fascinating insight into the history of this engineering marvel, showcasing interactive exhibits and displays that bring the past to life. You can also visit the underground chamber to see the original tunnel.

The Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret, London Bridge

The Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret is a fascinating museum in the attic of St. Thomas’ Church on London Bridge. Here lies the rich history of medicine and presents the surgical practices of the past. You can also see the operating theatre, where surgical demonstrations once took place, and the herb garret, a large collection of medicinal herbs and remedies.

The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Hackney

Tucked away in an eccentric corner of London, the Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities is a journey into the weird and wonderful, where you’ll see a bizarre collection of peculiar objects and oddities. From taxidermy animals to creepy artworks, the museum’s displays are an eclectic mix of the macabre, the fantastical, and the surreal. 

The Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, Islington

Focused on 20th-century Italian art, the Estorick Collection showcases artworks from famous Italian artists such as Umberto Boccioni, Amedeo Modigliani, and Giorgio Morandi, offering a unique perspective into the movements that shaped modern art in Italy. Visit this museum to understand the evolution of Italian art during this transformative period. 

Parks and gardens

St Dunstan in the East, City of London

Located in the heart of the City of London, St Dunstan in the East is an enchanting secret garden that was once a church but was destroyed during World War II. After the war, it was transformed into a tranquil garden that combines the church ruins with lush greenery and colourful flowers. It’s the perfect place to take a break from the buzzing City of London streets.

Postman’s Park, City of London

Near St. Paul’s Cathedral in Central London, Postman’s Park is another oasis known for the Watts Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice—the memorial honours ordinary individuals who lost their lives while saving others. Stroll through the park’s quiet pathways to reflect on the heroic acts of everyday heroes while admiring beautiful greenery.

The Garden at 120, City of London

You will surely know Sky Garden, the famous tropical and urban garden at the top of the walkie-talkie building. But you may be less aware of another secret garden that offers as many incredible views over London and is as lush as its big brother. The Garden at 120 is located on 120 Fenchurch Street, with its viewpoint on the 15th floor and is accessible for free. You can also head one floor down to 14 Hills, a restaurant overlooking London while having delicious food.

Kyoto Garden in Holland Park

Nestled within Holland Park, Kyoto Garden is a gorgeous Japanese garden symbolising the friendship between London and Kyoto. With traditional architecture, serene ponds, and vibrant flora, this secret garden is the perfect spot to relax and admire the beauty of nature – an escape from the big city life.

The Thames Path

Stretching 185 miles along the River Thames, the Thames Path is worth a hike. Starting from the Cotswolds and finishing in Woolwich, although you may need more time to do it entirely, you could try the London part – 29 miles from Richmond to Woolwich. You’ll get breathtaking views of London’s skyline while appreciating landmarks such as Tower Bridge, the Houses of Parliament, and the stunning Greenwich Park. 

Hampstead Heath

Spanning over 790 acres in North London, Hampstead Heath is a fantastic park for scenic walks, running trails or swimming in the famous Highgate Ponds. Its ancient woodlands are home to various wildlife, and its panoramic city views are breathtaking. Hampstead Heath is a gem for nature lovers and a respite from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Arts and Culture

Wilton’s Music Hall, City of London

With a rich history, Wilton’s Music Hall has entertained audiences since the 19th century. With its beautiful Victorian architecture and intimate setting, it offers a truly unique experience for visitors, showcasing a variety of performances from music to theatre.

The Queen’s House, Greenwich

Located in Greenwich, Queen’s House is a masterpiece of classical architecture. Built in the 17th century, this royal residence shows the opulent lifestyle of the British monarchy and blends stunning art collections and exquisite interiors. Discover period furniture and impressive artworks by artists like Gainsborough and Turner on your visit. The Queen’s House offers a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the British monarchy.

Neal’s Yard, Covent Garden

Easily missed as it’s hidden in the Seven Dials area in Covent Garden, Neal’s Yard is one of Central London’s prettiest and tiniest streets, definitely worth adding as part of the hidden gems on London! Charming courtyard filled with colourful buildings and shops, you’ll find small restaurants and sustainable and ethical shops such as Neal’s Yard Remedies.

Platform 9 ¾, King’s Cross 

Platform 9 ¾ is the fictional platform from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, located at King’s Cross Station in London. It’s the departure point for the Hogwarts Express, carrying young witches and wizards to the magical school. Although it may not be physically present in the real world, Platform 9 ¾ has become an iconic symbol for Harry Potter fans before heading to the Harry Potter Studio Tour to see the real Hogwarts Express!

The Scoop, London Bridge

The Scoop is an open-air theatre used for various performances, including concerts, film screenings, and theatre productions. With a unique circular design, the Scoop has a distinctive atmosphere and is an opportunity for people to gather and enjoy arts and entertainment in an engaging vibe.

Keats House, Hampstead

Located in Hampstead, Keats House was the former residence of the renowned Romantic poet John Keats and, today, is dedicated to preserving his memory and displaying his literary works. His bedroom was remarkably well-preserved, and in there, he wrote some of his most famous poems – ‘Ode to Psyche’, ‘Autumn’, and more.

The Courtauld Gallery, Charing Cross

Part of Somerset House, The Courtauld Gallery is renowned for its exceptional collection of European paintings and sculptures from the early Renaissance to the 20th century. Discover notable artists such as Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh, Botticelli, and more. 

Pubs and restaurants

The Dickens Inn, St Katharine’s & Wapping Docks

Located in St Katharine’s & Wapping Docks, The Dickens Inn is a historic pub named after the author Charles Dickens, built within a converted 18th-century warehouse. With its exposed beams, cosy atmosphere, and views overlooking the marina, you will get a truly immersive experience. The pub cooks traditional British cuisine, providing the perfect setting to enjoy a delightful meal with friends and family.

The Churchill Arms, Notting Hill

Located in Notting Hill, The Churchill Arms was built in 1750 and is known for its broad selection of beers and ales and its stunning floral displays outside. Inside, you’ll experience a cosy atmosphere full of character as the pub honours Winston Churchill with a decor that beautifully captures the essence of British history. 

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, City of London

Medieval pub rebuilt in 1667 after the Great Fire of London, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese welcomes you warmly with authentic interiors and a cosy atmosphere. As one of the oldest pubs in the city, it’s been a popular gathering spot for locals and tourists. With low ceilings, wooden beams, and dim lighting, it’s a great spot to enjoy a pint in a classic British pub.

Gordon’s Wine Bar, Charing Cross

Established in 1890, Gordon’s Wine Bar is the place to go for wine enthusiasts. Nestled in a cellar, this bar has that subterranean charm that takes you to a different era. With a fantastic selection of wines from around the world and a delicious menu of cheese and charcuterie, Gordon’s Wine Bar is one to add to your bucket list during your London trip.

The Blind Pig, Soho

Based in Soho, The Blind Pig is a sophisticated cocktail bar in London’s Soho district, with highly skilled mixologists who craft masterful classic and special creative cocktails, like those inspired by children’s literature. The bar’s drinks menu features a variety of recipes, such as their signature “When Pigs Fly” cocktail or the “Garden of Eden.” 

The Old School Yard, London Bridge

The Old School Yard is a cool venue that draws inspiration from everything nostalgic, a great spot if you’re up to some throwback fun! You’ll find schoolyard antics, vintage school desks and blackboards displaying funny messages. On the menu? Cocktails, beer, and spirits – something for everyone. You can also play arcade games, table football, and karaoke for an evening of fun and nostalgia!

Cahoots, Soho

Inspired by the London Underground during the 1940s and hidden in an abandoned air raid shelter, Cahoots takes you back to wartime – tube carriage booths, sandbagged pillars, old-fashioned ads, and even a menu with cocktails named after wartime songs and served in eccentric vessels. You can also attend live swing music performances in your best retro outfit to make it even more memorable!

The Culpeper, Spitalfields 

The Culpeper is a laid-back pub in Spitalfields that hosts not only a delicious restaurant on its first floor and five hotel bedrooms but also a secret rooftop garden and greenhouse. Relax and enjoy stunning views of London’s city skyline while savouring seasonal British cuisine and a wide selection of drinks.

The Experimental Cocktail Club, Chinatown

Behind a discreet door in Chinatown, The Experimental Cocktail Club offers a classic ambience and a broad cocktail menu crafted by passionate mixologists. With a very sober website, the mystery behind this bar grows, and if you head to Chinatown later in the evening, try this secret place by booking it in advance. 

The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town, Spitalfields

Hidden behind a Smeg fridge door inside The Breakfast Club near Liverpool Street Station, The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town is one of a kind! Head to the basement for great fun, food and drinks with incredible furniture and unforgettable Canadian whisky!

The Chelsea Prayer Room, Chelsea

Secretly tucked beneath the Goat restaurant in Chelsea, The Chelsea Prayer Room offers an intimate setting for cocktail enthusiasts who can enjoy unique drinks in a candlelit room adorned with religious artefacts.

Fancy seeing more of London? Check out our London in One Day Tour, or browse our London tours. If you’re keen to explore further, our Day Tours from London offer many incredible itineraries you may want to tick off your bucket list!