London has some amazing attractions, but the things I love most are its secret spots. Big Ben gets my heart going, but what keeps me exploring are the hidden spaces that make the capital unique. If you’re like me, read on for my list of 11 secret places in London.

Secret Places in London

Secret Places in London

I’ve stumbled across many of these places unintentionally, which is one of my favorite things about London. Others have been recommended by friends, and the rest have been results of exploring my own neighborhoods.

They’re only a small sample of the under-the-radar spots I’ve come to love in London, but they’re my top picks and I hope you enjoy reading about them.

Mews House in London

1. The Hill Garden and Pergola

The Hill Garden and Pergola in Hampstead was my first big discovery when I moved to London. This secret garden awed me with its hanging flowers, raised walkway, and stunning reflecting pool.

It’s still one of my favorite secret places in London to go for a quiet walk in the city, especially in the warmer months when the blossoms are out.

Pergola Garden in Hampstead

2. Eel Pie Island

I came upon Eel Pie Island by accident. Right in the middle of the Thames, this hidden isle is home to quirky houses and artists’ studios. The open days are worth planning ahead for, as the island welcomes visitors and comes to life with activity.

Eel Pie Island

3. The London Mews

While not a specific place, London’s mews streets are my favorite places to wander. From Kensington to Notting Hill, Holland Park to Paddington, the city has no shortage of these secret streets.

Pink houses, painted doors, overgrown gardens, and cobblestones all make the mews some of the most beautiful secret places in London.

London Mews in South Kensington

4. The Horniman Museum

I love a good museum, and when it has an off-beat element I love it even more. The Horniman Museum in Forest Hill is the epitome of this phenomenon, complete with an overstuffed walrus and other whimsical amusements.

The gardens are lovely, too. The food market at the Horniman Museum is one of the best Sunday markets in London. It’s fun to get a snack there and take in the views of the London skyline.

Walrus in the Horniman Museum

5. Farrier’s Passage, London

I never thought I would find one of my favorite secret places in London right in the heart of Soho.

But Farrier’s Passage caught my eye as I was walking along Brewer Street, and I couldn’t resist the temptation to walk down the covered alley.

When I got to the end, I was rewarded with the pretty yard that is Smith’s Court. Lovely shops and a peaceful atmosphere have lured me back many times since.

Bookshop in Soho, London

6. South End Green

I wouldn’t know South End Green existed if I hadn’t lived in Hampstead for so many years. But this little village on the edge of Hampstead Heath quickly became one of my favorite secret places in London.

And how could it not? With a Daunt Books, plenty of restaurants and cafes, and a village atmosphere, it’s a given I would love this under-the-radar London neighborhood.

Pub in South End Green

7. Lavender Garden in Vauxhall Park

Vauxhall Park’s lavender garden is another hidden gem I discovered by surprise.

Walking by the model village one summer day, I caught a glimpse of purple behind beds of pink roses. I went over to see it, and I ended up in a lavender field in the middle of London. It was magical.

Vauxhall Park Lavender Garden

8. St John’s Lodge Garden in Regent’s Park

Speaking of gardens, St John’s Lodge Garden in Regent’s Park is one of the best secret places in London for garden lovers and those who enjoy quiet contemplation.

Hidden away down a vine-covered walkway, it’s an oasis of peace in the middle of the park. Inside, the garden has an array of sculptures, flower beds, hedges, and benches to enjoy.

St John's Lodge Garden is one of the best secret places in London

9. Eltham Palace

When it comes to palaces, London has no shortage. But some are more famous than others. You probably know about Buckingham Palace, but have you ever heard of Eltham Palace?

In the Tudor period, everyone from Henry VIII to Elizabeth I spent time at this royal palace in London. During the 20th century, Eltham Palace was transformed into an Art Deco gem. The interiors are stunning.

It’s worth a special trip to see this secret place in London. It’s one of the best English Heritage sites in London, so if you have an English Heritage pass, you can get in for free.

Eltham Palace, London

10. Oxleas Wood

Not far from Eltham Palace, Oxleas Wood is another of the best secret places in London. Along with Oxleas Meadows and Eltham Common, it forms a huge green space in the southeast of the UK capital.

Not only does Oxleas Wood have miles of walking trails through the trees, but also hidden surprises like ladders, rope swings, and secret gardens. It feels like it’s a million miles from the city.

Right near the woods lies Severndroog Castle, a tower on Shooter’s Hill with spectacular views of London. This under-the-radar gem is one of the best places to go in the city if you want to get off the beaten path.

Oxleas Wood is one of the best secret places in London

11. Fenton House

I’ll end this post where I started: Hampstead. Tucked away on a side street in the village, Fenton House is one of many under-the-radar Hampstead museums. It numbers among my favorite secret places in London for a reason: the gardens.

From manicured hedges to sunken gardens and pint-size orchards, this place packs a lot into a small walled space. Entering the grounds feels like stepping into a storybook, and seeing them from the roof terrace of the house is equally awe-inspiring.

Fenton House is a National Trust London property. You can get into it and its gardens for free with a National Trust pass. It’s worth a special trip when you’re in north London.

Fenton House Gardens in Hampstead, London

Best Secret Places in London

I hope you enjoy discovering these hidden spots as much as I have. If you want to explore more, there are a lot of other places profiled in Secret London – An Unusual Guide. If you’re in the UK, you can get it here. If you’re in the US, you can get it here.

Hill Garden and Pergola, London

Happy exploring!

What are your favorite secret places in London?

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Secret Places in London

25 Comments on Lady’s 11 Secret Places in London You Have to Discover

  1. I know very well London ( I lived there for 19 years !!!) and I seen all those places apart the lavender Garden. thanks for sharing .
    My fav place in London Crystal Palace , this is the last place I lived before moving out of London for Oxford and also this is where I got engaged and got pregnant. 🙂 xx

  2. I looked up “mews” in the dictionary to try to figure out what you were referring to. Does it mean it used to be a street of stables that have been converted to apartments? I definitely want to visit Hampstead on my next trip to London based on all the interesting things you’ve posted about it!

  3. A great set of secret places I’ll have to check out on my next trip. When I was there last year, I explored the Temple areas and found lots of hidden gardens and quiet passages. I loved it.

  4. Great secret spots. I’ve only been to the Hornimans museum – interesting place. Love the sound of Pergola Garden – an oasis in London I can imagine!

  5. I think your blog is great and I have genuinely enjoyed this journey of discovery. I am certainly going to look ALL of these up! Thank you.

  6. Wow, beautiful places. Thank you for sharing this as I will be in London next week for 10 days and I must see some of these places. Cheers

  7. I’m a Londoner of many generations but it takes an enthusiastic outsider/tourist to inform me.
    A smashing blog!
    Thank you!

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