5 Hidden Gems to Visit in London, England

Danqi Lin is a student at the University of Rochester and an ISA Featured Photo Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA in London, England.

If you’re tired of visiting crowded guidebook-recommended spots in London, then consider checking out these hidden attractions instead! In this post, I’ll introduce to you five wonderful lesser-known places I have discovered in London that are just as interesting as some of the big tourist attractions, but without the crowds.

Royal Mews and Queen’s Gallery

Everyone heads toward Buckingham Palace upon their arrival in London, but few go into the Royal Mews and Queen’s Gallery near the Palace. It is worthwhile to check out the various carriages that the royal family rides in and to have a look at the Queen’s favorite horses and luxury cars. The gallery contains a great collection of Renaissance portrait paintings, along with precious jewelry and Leonardo da Vinci manuscripts.

Ticket price: £18 combined (student)

The Coronation Carriage
Inside the Mews

The London Dungeon

The London Dungeon is a historical theme park located near Westminster Bridge and the London Eye. You can go on a 1-hour tour where there will be thrills, laughter, and information about London’s history of crime. Ticket prices may seem intimidating, but personally, I think this is a one-of-a-kind experience that is really worth the price. Visitors will experience an immersive performance led by an amazing group of actors. Some authentic horrors await- you will have the chance to “meet” with the notorious Jack the Ripper, go through the plague, and eventually be sent to the “gallows”… so be ready, and don’t forget to smile!

Ticket price: £20 (general admission)

Entrance of the Dungeon

Columbia Road Flower Market

Local markets are like chests filled with inexpensive and unexpected treasures. Portobello Road Market (antiques and vintage clothing) and Borough Market (food) will probably be listed in your guidebook as the most famous public markets in London. Going to Columbia Road Flower Market is a completely different experience. As the name suggests, Columbia Road Flower Market gathers local farmers who sell plants, flowers, vegetables, and pottery. It also has the reputation as the only market in London where merchants will yell out loud to sell their products. The market opens every Sunday, and with its vibrant and friendly culture you will surely end your weekend with relaxation and enjoyment.

Ticket price: no ticket required

Little Venice

Take a refreshing boat trip down the beautiful canal from Little Venice near Paddington station, all the way towards Camden Town, where you can shop for cheap clothing and trinkets. Waterbus cuises operate at various times every day, and tickets are sold on board the waterbus by card only.

Ticket price: £9 (one-way trip) or £14 (return trip) for students

Signs of Spring
Inside Camden Town Market

The Somerset House

Located near St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Somerset House was formally the mansion of Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset. Now the house is open to the public as a gallery, and contains a great collection of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings, including three Monet oils, two van Gogh oils, and various paintings by Manet and Cezanne. There are also works by Rubens, early Italian artists, and by 20-century artists, so it is worth taking some time to explore.

Ticket price: free for students

van Gogh: Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear

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