London is one the most visited cities in the world, topping the list for reeling in the most tourists in Europe alone. It’s a small city compared to its international counterparts, but there’s no shortage of things to do. From watching the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace to taking a trip on the London Eye, there are tourist attractions as far as the eye can see.
Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament dominate the skyline, and experiences like the London Dungeons tempt thousands of visitors through the doors every year, but despite all their popularity, there is another side to London. If you’re staying in accommodation near Hyde Park or Westminster, you’ll be in the perfect place to see all the tourist traps, but you should consider venturing further away.
Away from the comfort afforded by the likes of Park Avenue Hyde Park, there are several hidden gems tucked away within the city, each one as impressive and as special as the last. Here are some of the top hidden gems you absolutely need to explore when you visit London.
Neal’s Yard is an eclectic mix of bookshops and tea houses, all under the blanket of bright colours and lots of plants. If you’re looking for the perfect photo opportunity, this is the place to go. The wide array of jumbled storefronts and independent retailers, plus, it’s a short walk from Covent Garden, so if you’re in the area, you can easily squeeze this hidden gem into your trip.
Borough Market is perhaps the most famous of all the London Markets, but Leadenhall Market, located in the City of London, is well worth a visit. The current building was completed in the 19th century, but a market has stood there since the 14th century. Explore the curved beams, artistic ceiling, and an array of local treats. If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you may also recognise this as the entrance to Diagon Alley!
It’s no secret that London sits atop one of the most complex underground travel systems in the world, so what better way to explore the oldest tube railway system than by going on the Mail Rail tour? You can explore the abandoned tunnels that were used by Royal Mail to deliver post until 2003, following over a century of service. You can explore old trains, platforms, and tunnels that you otherwise may never have known existed.
The final destination on our list is by far one of the most beautiful. There are lots of parks in London, but Kyoto Garden is one of the best-kept secrets. Opened in 1991, the gardens span over 20 hectares and are a celebration of the friendship held between Japan and the UK.
They are built around Holland House and include koi carp and peacocks, not to mention the stunning array of Japanese and English plants intertwined and beautiful landscaped around rocks and waterfalls.
Accommodation in London
Wherever you choose to visit in London, you can easily get there by staying in one of the many Hyde Park hotel rooms at J Hotel Hyde Park. Generous public transport can be found close to the hotel, and the hotel itself may even be considered a hidden gem!