13 Hidden Gems in London
Famous for its iconic landmarks, England’s capital city is a hive of activity and the perfect host for tourists and Londoners alike. From Notting Hill’s treasure troves to the West End’s arts scene, the city is brimming with sights, sounds and smells. But while Big Ben and the London Eye attract the masses, we’ve got the inside scoop on some lesser known wonders.
Whether you’re on the hunt for haute cuisine or you fancy uncovering a secret cinema, we’re taking a look at some of the city’s hidden gems – and with our insider knowledge, you’ll be the envy of everyone you know.
If you’re in the mood for fine dining, there are any number of ‘must-visit’ eateries in the capital – and from meat platters to cheeky cheese boards, there are plenty of tastes to tease your palette.
1. Cook up a seaford storm
Located in Islington’s Chapel Market, the Seagrass is a 19th century pie and mash house which never fails to deliver delicious cuisine. From seafood masterclasses to indulging in a scrumptious three course meal, this is the perfect pitstop for the foodie in you – and offers an ideal escape from the inevitable British rain.
2. Food, drink, action!
Simultaneously a rehearsal space and restaurant, the Menier Chocolate Factory is more than just a pretty face. There might not be a river of chocolate running through it, but this multi-functional space would give Willy Wonka a run for his money! From perusing the seductive menu to purchasing your very own Golden Ticket, this hidden gem will keep you coming back for more.
3. Carriage dining
Buried beneath the bustling streets of one of Britain’s most famous cities is the Basement Galley. While diners can now choose from several London locations, the main event – the Underground Supper Club – is hosted in an unused Victoria Line carriage. If you’re looking for a truly memorable dining experience with a difference, head for the underground.
4. A curious case of cocktails
Move over, Sherlock Holmes, there’s a new detective agency on the block – and all is not as it seems. Make an ‘appointment’ and prepare your ‘story’ – then, once inside the 1920s themed bar, you can drop the act or suspend reality and continue trying to crack the case. However you end your evening, you won’t want to leave Evans & Peel Detective Agency without sampling a cocktail from their tantalising line up.
5. ‘I’m here to see the mayor’
Whether you’re looking to win over your date or impress your friends, a visit to the Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town is guaranteed to have the desired effect. This quaint little eatery serves cocktails and a platter of tasty treats for you to enjoy – but you’ll have to find the entrance first. Take a trip to the Breakfast Club and head for the Smeg fridge – and don’t forget the magic words, ‘I’m here to see the mayor.’ You can thank us later.
Whether it’s creamy coffees or traditional ales, you won’t get tired of trying the city’s spectrum of diverse drinks – and whatever your tipple, you’d be a fool to forget these bars on your next trip to the Big Smoke.
6. A taste of tradition
If you’re a fan of yesteryear, take a trip down memory lane and pull up a pew in this classic English pub. From a selection of homemade hot dishes to samples of refreshing cider, Ye Olde Mitre is packed with charm and provides visitors with a true taste of Britain.
7. The host with the most
Hidden behind the Little Yellow Door is the ultimate flat party – and you’re invited! This elusive party place is the perfect host – offering a quirky menu and an array of board games, the pop-up is dedicated to providing you with an authentic house party experience.
8. Wet your whistle
Leave behind the daylight of Shaftesbury Avenue and descend down into the Freud cafe. Whether you’ve got a penchant for percolated coffee or are looking for a lively venue to kickstart your weekend, this war years-inspired bistro is the place to see and be seen.
With your belly full and your thirst quenched, you can head off in search of other exciting pursuits – and from natural parks to spectacular city views, there’s plenty to keep you busy.
The Secret Cinema is hidden away in the heart of the city – offering everything from arthouse indie films to modern classics, this revolutionary approach to cinema brings a touch of bohemia to Britain. But with the film and location kept under wraps until the last minute, will you dare enter this exciting world of movie mystery?
10. A moment in nature
Postman’s Park is tucked away from the drama of city life – and, bedecked with commemorative plaques, this hidden haven is near enough the most peaceful spot on the planet. If you want to find out more about this secluded space, check out City of London’s review of the park, pack up a picnic and experience it for yourself.
11. Bespoke boutiques & amazing antiques
With its quirky outdoor market stalls and unique antiques, a trip through Camden Passage has any number of treats on offer. If you’ve got an appetite for vintage, a visit to Annie’s Market is a must – or if you’re in search of some French lifestyle inspiration, head over to Hexagone.
12. The floating word
This floating book barge is just one of London’s many lesser-known delights. Floating between a handful of moorings, the Word on the Water merges past and present and old and new to bring an array of literary excellence to city dwellers and tourists alike.
13. A cocktail with a view
The new kid on the block, the rooftop terrace of One New Change gives you a chance to take in the stunning sights of the city – not to mention a panoramic view of St Paul’s Cathedral. Order your favourite tipple from the outstanding Madison rooftop restaurant, sit back and relax as you watch the metropolis come to life.
Thanks to their innovative architecture and unique locations, these London hotspots are proud to stand out from the crowd – and if you’re searching for your own slice of paradise in the capital, the experts at Unit One can help. From residential architecture to innovative interior designs, we can help you create your ideal getaway – right in the heart of the city.