London is a pretty big city so it shouldn’t come as any surprise to know that there are still a few places that have slipped off the radar and aren’t being constantly bombarded by tourists. However, nothing in this wonderful city feels very secret or secluded when you’re elbowing your way through throngs of camera-touting visitors and when you’re caught up in the crowds it can be hard to ever imagine London any other way. Fortunately, we’ve searched every nook and cranny of our beloved capital to bring you some of the best hidden gems you never even knew existed.
Sir John Soane’s Museum, Lincoln’s Inn Fields
Forget the Science Museum and the National Gallery, the Sir John Soane’s Museum (title image) is one of the best in the capital. Free to enter and packed with fascinating exhibits, this building was the home of the late architect of the Bank of England. Not only are there tens of thousands of architectural drawings here but there are also paintings by William Hogarth as well as an Egyptian sarcophagus. What more could you possibly want?
A Mini Police Station, Trafalgar Square
So this doesn’t exactly constitute a day out but it is certainly of some historical significance. The smallest police station in the UK can be found in Trafalgar Square and it is honestly one of the most adorable things we have ever seen. Barely bigger than a phone box, it was built in order to give police somewhere to observe protests taking place in Trafalgar Square. It is no longer in use but is definitely worth snapping a shot of.
Seven Noses of Soho, Soho
Admirality Arch – One of the seven noses
Back in the 1990s, an artist by the name of Rick Buckley decided to glue casts of his own nose to various landmarks around London as a form of protest against the increasing use of CCTV and the gradual transformation of England in to a Big Brother state. While many of these were removed, there are seven still remaining in Soho. Can you find them all?
Hidden Ears, Covent Garden
Once you’ve found all of the noses it’s time to head to Covent Garden and seek out the hidden ears that are scattered around. These were created by an artist called Tim Fishlock and make a nice follow on from the Soho nose hunt.
Climbing the Big Ben Tower, Westminster
Inside Big Ben
This is a little tricky as you have to be a UK resident to do one of these tours and they are usually booked up six months in advance. However, if you live here and you’re really organised it makes for an incredible experience. You can go and see, first hand, what the inside of the tower looks like and you can see and hear that famous bell in action (earplugs are provided).
Postman’s Park, St Martin’s Le-Grand
Situated amid the bustling streets, this little shady park is the perfect escape from the chaos. Wander along the winding path that goes through the gardens or take a seat on a bench and get involved with a good book as you soak up serenity and let the world pass by around you. The park is also home to the Watts Memorial, which commemorates heroic self-sacrifice.
Number 10, Adam Street, The Strand
While you might not get a chance to meet the Prime Minister in person during your excursion in Central London, you can certainly pretend you got close by snapping a photo of yourself outside of this almost replica. This door on Adam Street has gained fame for its likeness to the famous Downing Street door and is a great place to fabricate a Facebook lie.
Victorian Pet Cemetery, Hyde Park
We all know about Hyde Park, one of London’s top green spaces, but did you know that in the Northwest corner there is a vast pet cemetery filled with toppling headstones, inscribed with heart-wrenching messages? While wandering through is not permitted, it can be seen through the bars of the gates that surround it, making it even more eerie and mysterious.
John Snow’s Water Pump, Broadwick Street
No, not THAT John Snow. This water pump is a historical relic thanks to the 19th century physician who discovered that the water being pumped here was causing the outbreak of cholera. Located just off Oxford Street, this seemingly insignificant pump caused the death of thousands of Londoners and has played a vital role in medical advancement.
St Martin’s Window, Trafalgar Square
If you’re a fan of architecture, or just a fan of anything interesting then you should definitely check out the funky window attached to the magnificent building that is St. Martin in the Fields. It was inspired by water, created by an Iranian designer and revealed to the public in 2008. It might just change the way you see the world…
Have you seen any of these places? Any other hidden gems that you would recommend? Leave a comment below.
Main Image Credit: “Sir John Soane’s Museum 15” (CC BY-ND 2.0) by stusmith_uk
Image Credit: London Noses courtesy of Wikipedia
Image Credit: “Big Ben Detail” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by mikecogh
Image Credit: Inside Hyde Park’s secret pet cemetery courtesy of Telegraph
Image Credit: “London Peculiar Photowalk” (CC BY 2.0) by betsyweber