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Hidden Gems of London

Hidden Gems of London

Think that you know London and all there is to see in this wonderful city? Well... think again. We've found an array of beautiful and unique architectural gems hidden around London that we bet you haven't explored yet!

St Dunstan in the East

Now a beautiful public garden, St Dunstan in the East was once a Church of England parish which resided on St Dunstan’s Hill. The structure is located in the City of London between London Bridge and the Tower of London. The ruins of the once parish church are now ornamental pieces within the overgrown garden due to it's destruction during the World War Two Blitz. Observers can now walk around this eerie yet stunning oasis.

Wilton's Music Hall

E1 Wilton’s Music Hall is a theatre, public bar, heritage site and concert hall. Situated within the East End of London, the site exhibits an array of artistic work including music, dance, magic shows, puppetry and plays. The site was originally built in the 1690s as individual houses which were then combined by John Wilton in the 1860s. The building has had many forms since, being used as a concert room and pub, theatre and then finally transformed into a music hall with mirrors, chandeliers and decorative paintwork. Although, like the ruins of St. Dunstan, Wilton's hall was partly demolished in the Second World War, restoration began on the building in 1997, reconstructing the venue back to its true baroque beauty in time for it's grand opening in 2012. The building's form now retains ‘genuine historic fabric’ and avoids ‘misleading restoration, so that future generations can interpret the significance for themselves in their own way, based on the physical evidence’.

The Seven Noses of Soho

Have you spotted The Seven Noses of Soho? This artistic installation demonstrates a plaster of its artist, Rick Buckley’s nose, scattered around the area. Created in 1997, the noses which protrude from walls in a number of spots around Soho, were formed in response to the introduction of CCTV cameras around London.

The Hidden Ears of Covent Garden

Just as in Soho, Covent Garden has its own set of hidden ears. Two of them are mounted on walls on Floral Street, with others said to be placed in other locations around London. Artist Tim Fishlock made casts of his own ears to create them.

Leighton House Museum

Leighton House Museum is the former home of artist Frederic, Lord Leighton. The Studio house is now open to the public and contains a variety of artwork created by Frederic himself. The 19th Century building now retains sculptures, paintings, mosaic-lined walls and glittering embellishments that cloak the building. The regal home once played host to many of the prominent figures of the Victorian era, such as Queen Victoria herself.

Shri Swaminarayan Mandir

London-based Hindu temple, Shri Swaminarayan Madir, also known as Naesden Temple, was built using traditional methods and materials. The temple is both Britain’s first ‘authentic’ temple as well as Europe’s first traditional stone temple. The beautiful and intricately detailed space stands 70 foot high and is carved entirely out of stone. The building is constructed from 8,000 tonnes of Indian and Italian marble and Bulgarian limestone; a magnificent and radiant structure both appealing to the eye and soul, a marvel of complexity.

Terrace Catacombs at Highgate Cemetery

The Terrace Catacombs at Highgate Cemetery grace the entrance of the gardens of Ashurst House. Demolished in 1830, the gardens previously held spectacular views of London but are now unfortunately mostly obscured by trees. The catacombs, constructed out of brick with a cast-iron traceried terrace balustrade, formed part of the original cemetery buildings from 1838. These surreal passageways and tunnels are sure to transport visitors to an otherworld. 

James J Fox

One of the oldest shops in London, 225-year-old tobacco business, James J Fox, located on St. James’s Street. The store, managed by Mr Dirk Seyfried is one of the few shops that is exempt from the smoking ban, allowing its customers to enjoy their purchase inside. The shop holds the largest walk-in humidor and sampling house in the United Kingdom. The store on St James's Street, which opened its doors in 1947, has a vast collection of historical pieces and memorabilia as well as a museum space dedicated to the founder himself: Freddie Fox. The original shop, a single cigar shop on Dublin’s Grafton Street established by James Fox in 1881, was taken on by his son Frederic (Freddie), after the death of his two brothers and ultimately relocated to London. 

The Rolling Bridge

Thomas Heatherwick's Rolling Bridge is an award-winning installation situated at Paddington. The bridge ‘performs’ every Wednesday and Friday afternoon at noon, and on Saturday’s at 2pm. The Rolling Bridge was placed in the September of 2004 and has both an Emerging Architecture Award and a Structural Steel Award. The bridge is made from triangular segments that fold into each other to form an octagonal structure that stands to the side of the canal path. The curling bridge is a spectacular design, working and moving as if it were truly alive.

Lost Little Compton Street

Lost Little Compton Street sits below a typical traffic island in the middle of Charing Cross Road. To find the lost street one must look down at the metal grate which covers the island. Under the grate, you can see two tiled, Victorian street names below the pavement. At the time in which the street was used the road levels in London were much lower, running at the height of today’s basement buildings. Little Compton Street has since been turned into a utility tunnel.