By AMANDA GEGG, SEPT 2017
For locals and visitors alike, London certainly isn’t a place that is short of things to do. Considered one of the most exciting cities in the world, there are hundreds of world-renowned attractions here, ready and waiting for you to try. But what about the London that not many people know about? Or what I like to refer to as ‘underrated London’. Trust me when I say that the city has an entire world outside of tourist guide books and here are just a few of our favourite ‘hidden gems’:
1. Little Venice
Although already very popular with locals, the Little Venice canal is one of the most pretty, tranquil and underrated places to visit in the city. There are also fantastic water taxis that will take you up to Camden if you want a bit more of an upbeat setting.
2. Kyoto Garden, Holland Park
With Hyde Park just down the road, Holland Park is very often overlooked. But we urge you not to underestimate the peace and serenity that can be found in its beautiful Kyoto Garden.
3. Greenwich Park
If you’re looking for an alternative to the crowds on Hampstead Heath (and are prepared to make your way slightly out of the central London) then you needn’t look any further than Greenwich Park, which boasts views of the city that are equally as impressive.
4. Highgate Cemetery
The ancient grandeur of this place looks like it belongs in another time but no, it is nestled away in the backstreets of Highgate. It also houses the graves of many historical figures and most recently, George Michael.
5. Southbank Book Market
London’s Southbank is already a very popular tourist attraction but people don’t often realise it is home to one of the best antique book markets in London, which runs every day under Waterloo Bridge.
6. The Wallace Collection, Marylebone
We’d hazard a guess that when you think of London art museums the Wallace Collection doesn’t immediately spring to mind. However, tucked away in Manchester Square, it is actually home to one of Europe’s finest collections.
7. Wilton’s Music Hall, Whitechapel
Dating all the way back to 1743, the cast iron pillars and grand music hall at Wilton’s are considered a treasure by London’s art world, but this institution can be so easily missed if you don’t know it’s there.
8. Petersham Nurseries, Richmond
For those looking for a taste of the classic ‘English country garden’, Petersham Nurseries –situated right next to Ham Polo Club – is the perfect city escape and is only now starting to gain the recognition it deserves as a tourist destination.
9. St Dunstan- in the-East Church Garden Dunstan’s Hill
Considered by the vast majority of people who know about it as ‘London’s best kept secret’, the stunning and unusual garden of St Dunstan-in-the-East Church is made all the more dramatic by the notable damage it withstood in World War II.
10. Book Shops
If there’s one thing London does well it’s book shops. Whether you’re looking for one that’s got a bar tucked behind it or perhaps somewhere you can bump in to your favourite author, never underestimate the city’s literary offerings. We highly recommend Daunt and Persephone.