So you’ve done the popular museums, you’ve visited Covent Gardens and been to Leicester Square, now what? Here are our favourite secret things to do in London that will have you avoiding the crowds!
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Take in the view from Alexandra Palace
Looking for something free to fill up your day? Why not take the tube to Wood Green station; from there you can either take in the sites as you walk up towards Alexandra Palace, or catch a bus straight to the top although I highly recommend the walk. It is uphill, so make sure you have comfy shoes, but the view from the top rivals that from the London Eye; so it’s definitely worth it. Before descending back down why not step inside the old building that is Alexandra Palace and see what’s on that day; from Ice Skating to craft fairs and conventions every day is different at Allie Pallie!
Experience Little Venice
Always wanted to go to Venice but never quite managed it? Did you know London has a neighbourhood that bears stark similarities to the Italian City? London’s Little Venice is not far from Paddington and is home to heaps of quirky waterside cafes, canal walking paths and cute stores. If you’re looking for something really quirky to do in London, check out the Puppet Theatre Barge… A real theatre on an actual barge.
Get lost in Kyoto Garden’s
Ready to get lost inside one of London’s Secret Gardens? Kyoto Japanese Garden’s is one of London’s Hidden Gems, tucked away inside Holland Park this Japanese landscape offers a great place for meditation and space to simply lose yourself. As you’d expect from any great Japanese Garden, Kyoto Garden’s is full of amazing Koi ponds, waterfalls, statues and pristine flower gardens. If there’s one thing to take with you when you visit, it’s your camera. Get here by taking the central line to Holland Park, from here it’s just a short walk across the road.
Photo by Viv
Find Magic in Marylebone Daunt Books
Ready to step into a Harry Potter film? This vintage-style book store looks like it should house wands, not books. It’s famous for its huge travel selection but I’m sure you can find a book on pretty much any topic here.
Photo by Stephen
Discover new music in Camden
If you’re a music lover and have a spare evening; have a wander down to Camden’s popular Koko venue and discover your new favourite band. Once known as The Camden Theatre; which staged popular acts in history such as Charlie Chaplin has now been transformed into a popular music venue. This stage has held the presence of music legends like Amy Winehouse; Madonna; The Rolling Stones; and more recently Ed Sheeran. Inside it’s like no other venue I’ve been in, they’ve kept it as close to the original layout as possible which gives it a unique feel that you can’t get at the O2, or other mainstream stadiums.
You might even wander across one of their occasional secret concerts.
Photo by Ian
Learn something new at The Grant Museum of Zoology
Just around the corner from The (very popular) British Museum lies a small university secret gem, The Grant Museum of Zoology. Despite being small, this museum has a lot to offer. Behind its doors, you’ll find skeletons of your favourite animals and the specimen of rare or even extinct animals. Not for the faint-hearted as some displays are of those that have been part dissected, but all in the name of education and preservation. The Museum runs on donations and sponsorship so whilst it is a free visit, they do appreciate small donations and a quick note in their visitor’s book.
Photo by Rusty
Rediscover your childhood at Moomin Store
This is one of my favourite shops to visit in London, and it’s still somewhat un-known unless you recognise their discreet Moomin Sign on the street. Submerge yourself in all things Moomin in this small upstairs shop in Covent Garden.
Learn about your body at Body Works
This one definitely isn’t for those with a weak stomach. Body Works features over 200 examples of the human body in all forms, from the super-healthy to the not-so-healthy. This interactive exhibition showcases the pioneering work of Dr Gunther von Hagens and Dr Angelina Whalley, whose plastination technique preserves real bodies in order to educate people about our biology and the effects everyday life can have on us. The London exhibition is Body Works largest and can be found in Piccadilly in what was previously known as Ripleys believe-it-or-not museum.
So which of these Secret London Attractions appeals to you most? The Grants Museum is on my list for a second visit, and I’m looking forward (weirdly) to visiting Body Works next time we’re in London. What’s on your list of non-touristy things to do in London? Let us know, we’d love to hear from you 🙂
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Thanks for the great suggestion on The Blues Kitchen …I barely listened to any music while in London so need to make up for lost time 🙂