The 11 Best Hidden Gems in London
London has something for everyone. Whether you are a true crime lover, traveling with a history buff, or looking for artistic inspiration during your visit — London hosts some amazing and lesser-known spots that you and your travel companions will love! Here are our 11 of the best hidden gems in London for all different types of travelers!
1. The history buff: Churchill War Rooms
Transport yourself back in time to WWII and imagine you are one of Britain’s leaders, plotting the allied route to victory. Government ministers, military strategists, and the Prime Minister used the Churchill War Rooms to meet during air raids and now it’s available for you to tour. This space is a literal “hidden” gem in London. If the basement shelter was hit with anything larger than a 500-pound bomb, the space would have been destroyed — so secrecy was key!
2. The true crime lover: Jack the Ripper Tour
If your flight to London consisted of watching Dateline, listening to Crime Junkie, or reading murder mysteries — you’re going to love the Jack The Ripper Tour. Your guide may even be someone you’ve seen before on your favorite true crime show — they are all published authors and internationally recognized as leading experts on the Jack The Ripper case!
3. A little bit of everything: The Old Bank of England
If you are looking for hidden gems in London that everyone in your group will love, consider The Old Bank Of England! For the historian in your group, they’ll love that the pub is in the old Law Court’s branch of the previous Bank of England, which operated from 1888 to 1975. For your cocktail and selfie-loving friends, they can sit back and relax outside in the suntrap garden. The backdrop of the vintage Routemaster double-decker bus is great for photos! And for the true-crime fans, wander around the block to find the barbershop owned by Sweeney Todd and the pie shop owned by his mistress Mrs. Lovett.
4. The thrill seeker: Thames River Speedboats
Looking for a fast-paced, fun way to see the city? Book a speedboat tour! You’ll start at the London Eye, cruise past Big Ben, and revel at the London Tower Bridge above you (a lesser-seen angle for most travelers).
5. The politician: Karl Marx’s Grave
A cemetery may seem like an unlikely place to spend your vacation — but Highgate Cemetery is one of the more interesting hidden gems in London! Here you’ll find the grave of the father of communism, Karl Marx, and ironically, directly across from his grave, the grave of his ideological opposite, Herbert Spencer. Other interesting graves to see include artist Patrick Caulfield who designed his own memorial (which spells out the word “dead” in a sleek slab of stone) and the grave of Mary Ann Cross (better known by her pseudonym, George Eliot).
6. The quirky creative: Trinity Buoy Wharf
The Trinity Buoy Wharf is full of fun hidden gems in London! It’s home to London’s only lighthouse, the office/studio complex called “Container City” (made out of recycled shipping containers), and Fat Boys Diner — a traditional 1940’s American diner. A particularly interesting fact about the lighthouse is that it has a listening room for “Longplayer,” a 1,000 year-long piece of music that will run uninterrupted until December 31, 2999!
7. The proud American: 4 St. James Street
If you are traveling from the U.S.A. to London, make sure to stop by 4 St James’s Street — the former home of the Embassy of the Republic of Texas! The Embassy was here from 1836 until 1845 when Texas joined the United States. You’ll know you are in the right place when you see the plaque outside a wine shop that states: “In this building was the legation for the ministers from the Republic of Texas to the Court of St. James 1842-1845.” Fun fact: When the Texan delegation departed the capital, they left a £160 rent bill outstanding!
8. The inspired artist: Spitalfields Arts Market
Discover the next big artists at Spitalfields Arts Market! This market has art for every taste and budget and offers the opportunity to discuss artwork and buy from the artists themselves — a personal experience that makes it one of our favorite hidden gems in London.
9. The pub game extraordinaire: Flight Club Darts
Looking for a fun night out with a close group of friends? How about booking a room complete with food, drinks … and darts! Flight Club in London offers “social darts” rooms for up to 12 guests. You can book a 90 minute session for £10 per person and order food and drinks to enjoy while you play!
10. The curious adventurer: a race across London
Explore London with a goal in mind— solving the Cheshire Cat’s riddles and puzzles! This Alice In Wonderland themed adventure will take you through the city’s pubs and sights. This is a fun way to see the city in an unconventional way!
11. The joyful wander: The Crystal Maze
If you’re looking for more jam-packed adventures in the city, head to the Crystal Maze! This interactive experience is based on the 90’s TV show and takes you through four fun zones filled with challenges! Once you complete the challenges in the Industrial, Futuristic, Medieval and Aztec zones, you’ll make it into the Crystal Dome for the final test! Good luck!