London, the capital of the United Kingdom, is one of the most iconic cities in the world. Apart from being a leading financial center of the world, it is also a top tourist destination. The city has a rich culture and history. There are many places worth seeing in London. This is why it is one of the top tourist destinations in the world. In 2015, it attracted more than 65 million visitors. 54% of all tourists visiting the UK visit London. Some of the top attractions in London frequented by thousands of tourists are:
- The British Museum
- The National Gallery
- The Tower of London
- The Victoria and Albert Museum
- Somerset House
- Buckingham House
- London Eye
- Kew Gardens
All the top tourist sites in London are crowded with visitors throughout the year. If you want to enjoy a quiet and pleasant time in London, then you probably need to look at the various hidden spaces. Apart from these top tourist destinations, there are many little-known gems in London.
Hidden spaces in London
London has many hidden spaces. These are beautiful places that are worth visiting. The best part of these hidden spaces is that they are relatively free of the tourist rush. If you want to have a good time during your London visit, then don’t miss visiting these places. There are many such hidden places in London. We bring to you five of the best to include in your itinerary.
1. Little Venice
Did you know you could enjoy a Venice-like experience in London? Not many people know about this. This is what makes Little Venice a hidden space worth visiting. It is a district in West London. It is located near the junction of Regent’s canal and Paddington basin. It was earlier known as London’s Venice. The area can easily be reached by tube and is serviced by the Warwick area tube station. There are waterways where you can take a boat ride through the canal and enjoy a pleasant time.
The place gives you the same experience you will have while visiting Venice. Travel in the colorful boats soaking in the atmosphere. The best part is that some of these canal boats also serve as a café. Enjoy your coffee, tea, and scones while enjoying your quaint journey. This is a great place to spend a pleasant evening when you visit London.
The following are some interesting facts about this hidden place:
- It is believed that the Venice name tag to this area was given by Robert Browning. Some others attribute it to Lord Byron.
- One of the wards in Westminster has been officially named as Little Venice.
- Little Venice is in a junction of three canals and spans the Paddington arm of the Grand Union Canal, Paddington Basin, and Regent’s canal.
- Apart from the boat cafes, there are many other cafes, pubs, restaurants in the area for you to explore.
- There is a waterbus service you can use to travel to the London Zoo.
2. St. Dunstan’s in the East
St. Dunstan’s in the East has a church and a garden worth visiting. It is one of the little-known beautiful places in London. Being a hidden place, it is where you can enjoy a pleasant time exploring the place. It is also a great place for photography. So, all you photography enthusiasts, don’t miss the chance of visiting this place to get some great shots. The church that dates back to the 10th century was destroyed in a bomb during the Nazi bombing of London. The church is no longer used but its garden has become a tourist spot in the midst of the London metropolis. It is located on St. Dunstan’s hill in London. It lies on the underground tube network in between the Tower Hill and Monument stations, making it an easily accessible place.
It is close to many of the top attractions in London. You can easily visit this place while visiting other top tourist locations. The garden is its prime attraction. Apart from spending time here, you can even book it for parties or any other occasion. Some interesting facts about this hidden space are:
- The church was built in 1100. It is named after St. Dunstan, who was the Archbishop of Canterbury.
- It was damaged during the Great Fire of London in 1666. It suffered serious damages during the Blitz in 1941.
- In 1967, the city corporation decided that it was not worth rebuilding the church. They converted it into a public garden.
- It is open on all days of the week from 8 am to dusk. Entry to this place is free.
3. Neal’s Yard
One of the things most people would enjoy while visiting a city is exploring the city. When you explore a big city, you are likely to find interesting small roads. The sights and sounds of the area and its shopping are a joy to enjoy. This is of particular interest for those who prefer to be away from the hustle and bustle of a big city. In London, Neal’s Yard is a small street. It is more like a courtyard hidden off Monmouth Street. The first thing that strikes is you are the vibrant colors of the place. The cafés, stores, and retail outlets attract you making you want to spend time here.
If you are someone concerned about your health, then drop into Neal’s Yard Remedies and Neal’s Yard Dairy. Enjoy the healthy food and buy health products. Some of the interesting facts about this hidden gem are:
- The place is named after a developer called Thomas Neal, who lived in the 17th century.
- You can reach this place easily from Convent Garden station. It’s just a short walk from the station.
- It is a small place but you can spend quality time here enjoying food and buying products.
- The courtyard has wooden chairs. You can sit here, sipping tea and taking selfies.
- The colorfully painted buildings and the greenery adds to the attractiveness of this place.
4. Tulip Stairs
Greenwich is one of the popular tourist spots in London. Queen’s House in Greenwich is one of the various tourist spots located in Greenwich. With so much to see in Greenwich, don’t miss out on visiting this place. The reason is that this is one of the most attractive hidden spaces in London. The spiral staircase has blue railings with floral designs in it. Interestingly, the flower is actually lilies. But it has been described as tulips for a long time. The name has stuck on and this space is known as Tulips stairs. When you enter the ground floor of Queen’s House, you can see this unique spiral staircase.
The key feature of this staircase is that it was the first self-supported staircase built in the whole of England. Another interesting anecdote about these stairs is that it is the location of the famous ghost photograph taken by Rev. Hardy. The photo taken in 1966 shows three ‘ghosts’ and till today, there is no explanation of this event. Some interesting facts about this place are:
- The house was designed by Inigo Jones and commissioned for Queen Anne of Denmark.
- A cantilever from the walls supports the staircase.
- You can visit this place free of charge when you visit Greenwich.
- The building and the staircase were ultimately completed for Queen Henrietta Marie.
5. Sir John Soane’s Museum
Museums are popular tourist spots in all cities of the world. London was many popular museums that are thronged by visitors. Sir John Soane’s museum is one of the most unique museums worthy of a visit. A museum usually has an orderly arrangement of artworks and items. In this museum, you will find displays everywhere – even on the ceilings. This is not a conventional museum. It is believed to have more than 45,000 art objects housed in it. The rooms and corridors are narrow. This allows for a more expansive display of items. This is what you will enjoy when you visit this museum.
The museum is named after the architect Sir John Soane, whose home it used to be. The museum started in 1837 has an eclectic collection of items. This includes Egyptian sarcophagus, Greek vases, Roman urns, Chinese ceramics, and paintings by Canaletto and J M W Turner. Some of the interesting facts about this museum include:
- It has more than 30,000 architectural drawings, including Soane’s own.
- The museum is open from Wednesday to Sunday and entrance is free.
- You are not allowed to take anything inside. You need to even place your bag/purse in plastic bags. Extreme care is taken to prevent damage to the items on display.
- Photography is not allowed inside the museum.
- Only 90 visitors are allowed at a time inside the museum.
- It is located in Holborn next to Lincoln’s Inn Fields.
When you visit London next, make sure you visit these hidden spaces. You will definitely enjoy the time spent here. So ensure you include these places in your itinerary.