Hidden Gems in London: Non Touristy Things to Do

Looking for unusual, quirky and unique places to visit in London? Get off the beaten path and visit the best secret places in London!

Kyoto Park

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A park hidden inside of another park. The Inception of parks, Kyoto Park is a tranquil Japanese garden complete with babbling waterfall, colourful koinobori, koi pond and a stork. The Holland Park peacocks like to hang out here too. And who can blame them?

See my Kyoto Park photo essay for more.

God’s Own Junkyard

Unless you are wandering around the industrial estate of Walthamstow, you won’t find God’s Own Junkyard.

Light artist Chris Bracey created many beautiful neon signs, many of which you can see all under one roof. A perfect rainy day getaway, it’s also free.

God's Own Junkyard

See all of my photos of God’s Own Junkyard.

Camley Nature Reserve

Amongst the hustle and bustle of Kings Cross is the quiet sanctuary of Camley Nature Park. Unless you’re walking to Camden from Kings Cross, you’ll probably miss the entrance, the high fences keep this hidden gem of our site from the street.

Once inside, you’ll find a green space unlike anywhere else in zone 1 of London. Camley Nature Reserve is perfect if you have time to kill before getting your train. Sit by the lake, go bird watching or learn more about plant life.

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Hidden London

Get access to places not accessible to the public with Hidden London.

Hidden London takes you behind the scenes of historic disused underground stations and buildings. Places where you need a hard hat… Read my Hidden London review of Aldgate station and Charing Cross station.

Barbican Conservatory

Juxtaposing the Brutalist architecture of the Barbican is the conservatory inside.

It might seem odd, but it’s the second largest conservatory in London (the largest at is Kew Gardens of course) displays 1,500 species of gigantic plants and small cacti, transporting you to the rainforest. The Barbican Conservatory is a world away from the bustling streets outside.

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Secret Cinema

Disused warehouses and spaces in London are transformed into sets from movies. Everything from Romeo and Juliet to Back to the Future.

There’s a chance to dress up and play missions whilst also getting to watch the film too, with live actors to add to the experience.

Phones aren’t permitted once inside, so there will be no spoilers here.

Read my Secret Cinema review of Stranger Things and Casino Royale.

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Hill Garden and Pergola

As one of London’s largest parks, it’s easy to miss Hill Garden and Pergola in Hampstead Heath.

The Pergola wouldn’t look out of place in Rome, part of a grand house. The house in which the Pergola was attached to has since been demolished, but you can just imagine how grand the house was.

The Pergola is a relaxing place to enjoy views or spend an hour photographing as the sun constantly creates new frames to shoot.

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London’s Roman Amphitheatre

Discovered in 1988 under the impressive Guildhall Yard is the remains of a Roman amphitheatre. The amphitheatre dates back around the 2nd century. A timber structure was previously built around 70 AD.

Back on ground level, an elliptical mark on the yard outlines the size of the amphitheatre, giving you a sense of how great the amphitheatre was.

Hunterian Museum

Okay, jars of baby animals isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but you might find the Hunterian Museum interesting. At the very least you’ll be surprised at how big an elephant heart is.

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The Vaults

From the outside, the Vaults might seem like a damp, dark tunnel from a horror movie you shouldn’t go into. But find the courage and you’ll be rewarded with one the best places to see street artist in London. You might even get to see a street artist in action.

You’ll also find the awesome Drafts Board Game Cafe which holds 800+ board games to play. Hopefully you can time you’re visit with Vault Festival which showcases indie theatre.

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Cutter and Squidge – The Potion Room

Is it any surprise one of the best bakeries in Central London also offers an unique afternoon tea too? Enroll yourself a place at the Potion Room at Cutter and Squidge.

The Harry Potter themed afternoon tea comes complete with wizarding cloaks and school desks while you whip up your potions.

The Attendant coffee shop

The Attendant have done some Changing Rooms/DIY SOS shit in here to make this former underground Street toilet into a cafe. Even the urinal tables look fairly pleasant to eat at.

Hidden bakeries

Some of the best bakeries in Central London are hidden in alleyways including a Swedish and Japanese bakery. Read more about the best bakeries in Central London.

Secondhand bookshops

Hidden in a courtyard, just off the very busy Brewer Street is Second Life, a bookshop dedicated to literature written by women.

Or walk along the Camden canal in Kings Cross and you’ll find a bookshop, in a barge. Read more about the best secondhand bookshops in London.

Plonk Golf at Camden Market

Camden Market is a labyrinth. But hidding amongst the stalls is Plonk Golf, an illuminated 9 hole mini golf course.

Having played Swinger’s and Junkyard Golf, I’d say Plonk is technically the most challenging of all the mini golf courses in London.

Plonk Camden

Arcades at Pizza Pilgrims

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Not content with only offering damn good slices of pizzas, Pizza Pilgrims in West India Quay also has bocce ball, Mario Kart and Pinball.

Speakeasy bars

Speakeasy bars are the equivalent of the wardrobe leading to Narnia. Transport yourself by going through a SMEG fridge at the Breakfast Club in Spitalfields.

Or head underground to a 1940’s themed bar in a vintage train carriage at Cahoots, Kingly Court.

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