It’s about time you discover London’s hidden gems
By Antonis Kazoulis
When coming to London, tourists will do touristy stuff – take photos under Big Ben, take a stroll in Trafalgar Square and buy a souvenir in Portobello market. But what if we told you that London is so much more than that? The capital boasts countless destinations that could make your first visit both memorable and unique compared to everyone else’s. Have a look.
V&A Museum of Childhood | Bethnal Green
The Victoria & Albert Museum in South Kensington is on everyone’s list when visiting London. In order to avoid the crowds and experience something a little bit different, we direct you East, to the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green. Home to one of the world’s finest collections of anything children related the Museum of Childhood has been gathering toys, costumes doll houses and many more since 1872. Both the venue and exhibitions are a real treat.
Address: Cambridge Heath Road, London E2 9PA
Opening Times: Open daily 10.00-17.45 (last admission 17.30)
Entrance Fee: Admission to the V&A Museum of Childhood is free. Some events carry a separate charge.
Maltby Street Market | Bermondsey
Located very close to the iconic Borough Market, Maltby Street market is a hidden little paradise not many newcomers know about. Stroll through an amazing selection of vendors that offer everything from fresh produce, food and vintage furniture. This is a place that gives you insight to London’s tradition of outdoor markets without the hustle of large crowds. As far as choosing what to buy, our advice is to go for St. John’s Bakery doughnuts. You thank us later.
Address: Ropewalk, London SE1 3PA, United Kingdom
Opening Times: Open Saturdays and Sundays.
Entrance Fee: Free
Wilton’s Music Hall | Whitechapel
My, oh my, is this a well-kept secret. Tucked away in the backstreets of Tower Hill station, this is the oldest surviving music hall in the world. Hosting everything from plays, opera, puppetry, classical music, cabaret, dance and magic shows, alongside a year round programme of education and heritage activities such as workshops, talks and tours, this space will travel you back in time. It’s as if someone pulled it out of an Ernest Hemingway book and planted it right in the heart of London.
Address: 1 Graces Alley, London E1 8JB, United Kingdom
Opening Times: Monday to Saturday: 5pm to 11pm
Entrance Fee: Ticketed access to the auditorium
Grant Museum of Zoology | City
The Grant Museum of Zoology is part of the University College London and it is the only remaining university zoology museum in the world. It holds a unique collection of zoology specimens dating back to 1827 when Robert Grant first founded it. This is a brilliant alternative for someone who loves the animal kingdom but wants to stay away from the ever-popular London Zoo and Natural History Museum.
Address: Rockefeller Building, University College London, 21 University Street, WC1E 6DE
Opening Times: Monday to Saturday: 1pm to 5pm
Entrance Fee: Free
Buddhapadipa Temple | Wimbledon
Located in Wimbledon, the Buddhapadipa temple was the first Thai Buddhist temple to be erected in the UK. Hidden amongst the green and tranquil surroundings of West London this is a place to come in touch with your inner self. On Sundays there are usually Dhamma talks and discussions but you can also find meditation classes and festivals that adhere to the Buddhist calendar. A trip to the temple will inject a new form of energy, as London will turn to China for a couple of hours.
Address: 14 Calonne Road, Wimbledon Parkside, SW19 5HJ
Opening Times: 9am to 6pm weekdays for the temple ground and weekend for the main temple.
Entrance Fee: Free
The Horniman Museum and Gardens | Forest Hill
Open since Victorian times, the Horniman Museum and Gardens has a lot to offer. Whether you choose to go for the collections of anthropology and musical instruments, the acclaimed aquarium, the natural history collection or simply the stunning view of London, you’re in for a treat. What’s unusual but amazing at the same time is the fact that you can interact with most of the artefacts on display. How about that for a unique experience?
Address: 100 London Rd, London SE23 3PQ
Opening Times: Museum Opening Hours: Daily 10:30am – 5:30pm – Gardens Opening Hours: 7:15am – sunset
Entrance Fee: Admission to the Museum and Gardens is free. There is a small charge for the Aquarium and some temporary exhibitions.
Syon Park | Brentford
Built in the sixteenth century the Syon House is the London home of the Duke of Northumberland. This magnificent house was built in the sixteenth century and has a rich history behind it. Overlooking the Thames towards Kew Gardens, this beautiful piece of history is located in West London, holding an impressive 16-hectare garden, plus a lake. The Park is filled with attractions for children, including an adventure playground, aquatic park and trout fishery. The Great Conservatory with its glass and iron dome is also a thing of beauty that will catch the eyes of both children and adults.
Address: Syon House, Syon Park, Brentford, Middx, TW8 8JF
Opening Times: New Season starts on Monday 14th March
Gardens Opening Hours: Monday 14th March 2016 to Sunday 30th October 2016, 10:30am – 5pm
Syon House Opening Hours: Wednesday 16th March 2016 to Sunday 30th October 2016, 11am to 5pm
Entrance Fee: Entry at Syon House, Gardens & Great Conservatory is £12
As always, to make your life easier, we’ve made a map: