It’s easy to be a tourist in London; there are so many museums, monuments and attractions to indulge in. But there’s also plenty of hidden treasures off the beaten track – here’s nine of them.
1. House of Dreams
Down a normal looking street in East Dulwich, artist Stephen Wright is in the process of covering every available surface of his home with kitschy mosaics using everything from abandoned dolls to pen lids. This magical hideaway, otherwise known as the House of Dreams, is open to the public for a few days each year. For more information, visit http://www.stephenwrightartist.com/houseofdreams.php
2. Battersea Flower Station
Battersea Flower Station is a beautiful corridor of lush flora and fauna near Clapham Junction. It’s a charming spot for an afternoon stroll, whether or not you have a garden to furnish. It also has a little shop that sells locally made products, such as cards, candles and jam. For more information, visit http://www.batterseaflowerstation.co.uk/
3. Liberty of London
Millions of well-heeled shoppers and backpack-toting tourists visit Oxford Circus each year but few make it to the stunning rug room on the fourth floor of Liberty of London, which is draped in the most beautifully handmade Oriental and Persian rugs. For more information, visit http://www.liberty.co.uk/oriental-rugs/article/fcp-content
4. Leighton House Museum
Leighton House Museum is the former home and studio workspace of the Victorian artist Frederic Leighton, located in the Holland Park district. From modest beginnings, it grew into one of the most remarkable buildings of the nineteenth century, containing a fascinating collection of paintings and sculpture by Leighton and his contemporaries. For more information, visit https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/subsites/museums/leightonhousemuseum1.aspx
5. Postman’s Park
Postman’s Park, one of London’s most touching monuments, is just a short walk from St Paul’s Cathedral. In it, you’ll find more than 50 ceramic plaques commemorating an ordinary person who lost their life trying to save another’s.
6. Neasden Temple
Neasden Temple is London’s answer to the Taj Mahal. With a beautiful history, stunning architecture and sacred quality, it’s impossible to stand inside this traditional Hindu temple without feeling spiritually moved and thoughtful.
7. East End Thrift Store
This legendary cult vintage store is a great place to grab a bargain in London, with most items £10 or less. For more information, visit http://www.theeastendthriftstore.com/
8. Wilton’s Music Hall
Far away from the West End lies Wilton’s Music Hall, a charming Grade II listed building that was originally used as a music hall, but now hosts a wide range of performances. Wilton’s is completely unrestored, which means that it still has all of its original features – charming! For more information, visit http://wiltons.org.uk
9. Secret Cinema
Secret Cinema is an immersive live cinema experience like no other. From grassroots film screenings in abandoned London buildings to large-scale productions in some of the most spectacular spaces worldwide, Secret Cinema creates 360-degree participatory worlds where the boundaries between performer and audience, and set and reality are constantly shifting. For more information, visit http://www.secretcinema.org
Do you have any secret spots in London – or anywhere else in the world?