London teems with hidden treasures: churches, museums, statues and tearooms that you can easily overlook and not be aware of. Perhaps the ideal way to uncover hidden aspects of London is to embark upon a specially themed tour. Alternatively, simply explore this great capital on your own initiative and see what you can find. Following are five particularly exceptional hidden gems of London:
- St Giles in the Fields
This is a striking, exceptionally beautiful structure, which was built in the Palladian style in 1734. Yet it often goes unnoticed, despite being situated in the cultural heart of London that is Soho. It was also the last church on the journey between Newgate Prison and the gallows at Tyburn. Soho walking tours may include St Giles.
- World War Two former bomb shelters in Westminster
There are several signs from the Second World War located in Lord North Street in Westminster. They refer to underground shelters. These are often pointed out on Westminster walking tours, and make for a fascinating tour.
- Kyoto Garden
This is a small but alluring Japanese garden, located within Holland Park and even complete with a waterfall, koi carp and a stone bridge. Designed by Japanese artists in 1991 to celebrate the Japan festival, it was renovated in 2001 and remains one of London’s most serene and peaceful places to visit.
- Horniman Museum
A 25-foot Alaskan totem pole stands outside the main entrance of this extraordinary museum which many fail to uncover. You can spend many hours exploring this rather unique museum, which contains such eclectic exhibits as an absurdly overstuffed walrus, a Navajo sand painting, and even a chilling torture chair dating back to the Spanish Inquisition.
- The Orangery
Built for Queen Anne in 1705 by Nicholas Hawksmoor – more famous for his churches – this is a truly remarkable venue, part of renowned Kensington Palace. With over ten diverse flavours to enjoy, this is home to one of the very best selections of tea in London. Or if you wish for something different, savour some pink champagne.
Do you know of any other compelling hidden structures, museums or areas of London?