With 30 million visitors exploring London every year. It can be hard to branch out from the norm and discover something new in the British capital. If you’re looking to escape the crowds and stray from the beaten path on your next trip, check out our guide to hidden gems in London. We’ve compiled lesser-known treasures for you to explore, dotted all over the capital. Using this, you’ll find new hidden attractions in this iconic city, whether you’re travelling for a romantic getaway or taking the kids to catch a show.
Hidden Gems in London: Restaurants
Many of London’s eateries are famous all over the world. Whether it’s British classics like The Ritz and The Ivy, or celebrity chef restaurants such as Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, there’s plenty of good food in the city. But when you’re looking for a quieter, more relaxed atmosphere, it can be nice to try somewhere new. The restaurants below combine a certain anonymity with great quality food and service to give you a fantastic evening away from the usual haunts.
The Caboose, Spitalfields
Nearest tube station: Liverpool Street
The Caboose is a great option if you’re seeking out an unusual dining experience. This miniature restaurant offers great smokehouse food, pairing slow-smoked meat with great new flavours. Although The Caboose operates in a food truck style, it’s possible to enjoy a private dinner with them if you book ahead. The Caboose is situated in an old railway carriage and a private cabin is available to book for parties of up to 13 people. Hiring the cabin includes your own host and chef, who cooks your food in front of you. This cosy restaurant promises an evening to remember.
St Christopher’s Place, Marylebone
Nearest tube station: Temple, Chancery Lane
Although not a single restaurant, St Christopher’s Place is great if you’re travelling with children. The pedestrianised hub is just off the well-trodden paths of Oxford Street and can be found only minutes away from Amba’s Marble Arch hotel. The short street is far quainter and quieter than its larger neighbour. It‘s dotted with pubs and restaurants which are marked by a laid-back atmosphere – perfect for families.
The Old Bank of England, Fleet Street
Nearest tube station: Chancery Lane
If you’re looking to sample a classic example of great British cuisine, The Old Bank of England is where you should be heading. The transformed former bank building now serves up incredible quality pies with all the trimmings. The menu offers everything from staple classics like steak and ale to more unusual options like spicy butterbean. The pub’s menu also includes British classics such as fish and chips and sausage and mash, so there’s something for every taste.
Pakhtoon, Hyde Park
Nearest tube station: Marble Arch
If you’re looking to stray away from British flavours, Pakhtoon is a great option. Located just minutes away from Amba’s Marble Arch hotel, Pakhtoon is a little-known gem serving up authentic Indian food. The restaurant’s reviews are consistently positive, highlighting the quality of food and service.
Taberna Etrusca, City of London
Nearest tube station: Mansion House, St Paul’s
Found near St Paul’s Cathedral, Taberna Etrusca has been serving up great Italian food for almost fifty years. Despite its longevity, this little gem has remained in relative anonymity owing to its tucked away location. The dining area is split between internal seating and an external courtyard. The courtyard is covered during colder months, offering a cosy and unusual dining experience. The menu combines classic Italian food with contemporary dishes to serve all tastes.
Hidden Gems in London: Attractions
London is littered with incredible sites for you to take in. World-class attractions include the V & A, The British Museum, the London Eye, the Tower of London and many, many more. But if you’re hunting for something new for your next trip, or just fancy taking in some lesser known areas, there are plenty of unusual and exciting places for you to visit.
St Dunstan in the East Church Gardens, City of London
Nearest tube station: Monument, Tower Hill
St Dunstan’s is a church near Tower Hill which was originally built in 1100. It was severely damaged by the Great Fire of London in 1666 but was patched up after and continued to be used. Between 1695 and 1701 the world-renowned architect Sir Christopher Wren, best known for his work on nearby St Paul’s Cathedral, designed a steeple which was added to the building and remains to this day.
The church suffered further damage in the London Blitz of 1941, with only Wren’s tower and steeple surviving in full. After the war, the decision was taken to not rebuild the rest of the church. Today the ruins of the building and its surviving steeple exist as part of a public garden with lawn, trees and flowers now bursting throughout the space. A low fountain marks where the middle of the nave once sat. This is one of the lesser known gardens in London, but they are remarkably peaceful and, owing to its history and the church ruins, they are also incredibly unique.
The Sir John Soane Museum, Holborn
Nearest tube station: Holborn
The John Soane Museum is one of the lesser known of London’s multitude of heritage attractions, but what it contains is strikingly beautiful and offers unique insight into many famous landmarks around the UK. Sir John Soane was an English architect in the neo-classical style. He is most well-known for his work on the Bank of England buildings, Dulwich Picture Gallery and The Royal Hospital Chelsea. The museum is based in the former house of John Soane and visitors are treated to views of his incredible designs, drawings and models, alongside his extensive collection of antiquities from around the world.
Little Venice, Westminster
Nearest tube station: Warwick Avenue Station
Little Venice is a neighbourhood centred around the junction of the Grand Union Canal and Regents Canal. It is an oasis of quiet and tranquillity in London, with tall regency mansions providing a stunning backdrop to the waterway. The triangular pool formed by the meeting of the canals is home to a floating community harboured near the eaves of a weeping willow tree. This community includes a waterside café, waterbus, hotel boat and floating art gallery. If you’re looking for a slightly unusual way to pass some time in London, this is the perfect option.
Neal’s Yard, Covent Garden
Nearest tube station: Covent Garden
Neal’s Yard is a fabulous little vibrant community tucked down a tiny side street in Covent Garden. The courtyard and surrounding area are like stepping into a different city. Colourful buildings adorn the space, housing a slew of independent boutiques, cafes and more. Take a trip to this stunning little neighbourhood to lose yourself in a new side of London. The area is home to a coffee house, bakery, dairy and apothecary. It’s also a thriving hub of health food outlets and value-driven retailers.
Sky Garden, City of London
Nearest tube station: Monument
Sky Garden is found at 20 Fenchurch Street and is London’s highest public garden. The gardens span three storeys atop one of the iconic buildings of Canary Wharf. The Sky Garden is home to a stunning variety of plants, all carefully curated by an award-winning landscape architecture firm. From the venue, you can enjoy 360-degree views of the striking City of London vista, including the Shard and the River Thames. Sky Garden is also host to a range of bars and eateries so you can enjoy an afternoon of relaxation in one of London’s most eye-catching hidden gems.
Sky Garden is free to the public, but it’s best to book ahead if you want to visit as places often fill up fast.
Following the above guidance should highlight some new fantastic things for you to try and explore. London is an ever-changing city that always has something more to offer and these hidden gems give some great opportunities to start straying from the beaten track.If you’re looking for other types of hidden gems, check out our guides for galleries, bars and top shopping destinations.