101 secret things to do in London

Experience a different side of the city with our guide to secret and hidden spots in London.

There are plenty of secret things to do in London: search for top-secret London attractions, dine at quirky restaurants or hunt for treasures in unusual shops. But keep these secret London spots to yourself... you didn't hear about them from us!

Secret gardens in London

  1. Take a walk through one of London’s tranquil cemeteries, including the rarely-open pet cemetery in Hyde Park.
  2. Amble around eight hectares (19 acres) of medieval gardens at Eltham Palace – the home of London’s oldest working bridge.
  3. Go off-the-beaten-track to explore sprawling Epping Forest – one of the loveliest secret escapes in London.  
  4. Come face-to-face with life-sized dinosaur sculptures hidden in Crystal Palace Park.
  5. Marvel at the stunning Buddhist Peace Pagoda in Battersea Park, or admire the much larger Buddhapadipa Temple in Wimbledon.
  6. Wander around the gorgeous grounds of 17th-century Ham House and Gardens.
  7. Escape from the hustle and bustle of central London at peaceful St Dunstan in the East.
  8. Discover the hidden gems of Richmond Park: explore the Isabella Plantation, admire the views from King Henry’s Mound and look out for more than 600 deer. 
  9. Stroll around the secret Garden of World Medicine at Chelsea Physic Garden.  

Hidden gem hotels in London

  1. Bag yourself a quirky bargain with QBIC Hotel London City.
  2. Catch 40 winks at the super-trendy Ace Hotel in Shoreditch.  
  3. Feel like a rock star at Sanctum Soho, one of the coolest London hotels.
  4. Make the most of the luxurious amenities at Sanderson.
  5. Sleep in a prison cell while staying at former courthouse, Clink78 in King’s Cross.
  6. Stay at the floating Good Hotel London for lovely views over the river Thames.
  7. Relax in a London hotel with plenty of period charm at The Rookery.
  8. Enjoy Ham Yard Hotel’s retro bowling alley, rooftop garden and 190-seat cinema during your break in London.
  9. Find out why Rough Luxe Hotel is one of the best-kept secret hotels in London.
  10. Chill out in a luxurious London-inspired room at The Ampersand Hotel.

Tucked-away music venues

  1. Enjoy evening entertainment at the glorious Wilton's Music Hall – the world’s oldest surviving grand music hall.
  2. Catch cool concerts and occasional secret gigs at the legendary KOKO London in Camden.  
  3. Drop by Village Underground in east London for DJ sets and live music events.
  4. Jive to live music in swanky 1950s-inspired surroundings at the Rivoli Ballroom.
  5. Listen to smooth tunes at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, which has welcomed legendary jazz artists including Ella Fitzgerald, Stan Getz and Buddy Rich.
  6. Make sure to request your favourite tunes at The Piano Works – the only non-stop live music venue in London.
  7. Dance along to music from super-talented artists at Bush Hall (and become a member to access top-secret shows in London).
  8. Head over to The Half Moon Putney whose past performers include the Rolling Stones.
  9. Venture below river-level to Tower Bridge’s Bascule Chambers for an unforgettable concert, as part of the annual Totally Thames festival.
  10. Listen to live music on the streets of London at a top busking spot, including Trafalgar Square, South Bank and Covent Garden.

Unusual London shops

  1. Look for books, toys, and merchandise which bring back childhood memories at The Moomin Shop.
  2. Step into the futuristic Cyberdog for florescent fashions and neon rave accessories.
  3. Browse for books in beautiful Edwardian surroundings at the Marylebone branch of Daunt Books.
  4. Pick up top-notch Cuban cigars from Boisdale of Canary Wharf.
  5. Satisfy your sweet cravings at Choccywoccydoodah.
  6. Fall in love with magical Alice in Wonderland-inspired items at Alice Through The Looking Glass.
  7. Search the London Beatles Store for all things rock'n'roll, from vinyl records to cool memorabilia.
  8. While away a rainy afternoon at James Smith & Sons, which has sold umbrellas in London since 1830.
  9. Shop for your perfect ukulele, banjo or other musical instrument at Duke of Uke.
  10. Discover the top 15 shopping hidden gems in London for cool specialist boutiques and off-the-high-street brands.

Top-secret bars in London

  1. Ask to see the Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town to gain access to this secret bar in London.
  2. Help solve the latest case at the mysterious Evans and Peel Detective Agency.
  3. Take a bottle of spirit along to BYOC, where the talented bartenders will design your perfect cocktail.
  4. Step back in time to the glamorous 1920s at the Luggage Room in Mayfair.  
  5. Find the atmospheric Experimental Cocktail Club hidden behind an unsuspecting door in Chinatown.
  6. Sample incredible cocktails at the Czech-inspired Lounge Bohemia (this top-secret London bar is by appointment only).
  7. Soak up the summer sun on little-known Queen Elizabeth Roof Garden at Southbank Centre.
  8. Look out for Opium Cocktail and Dim Sum Parlour, hidden behind a green door in London’s Chinatown. 
  9. Sip cocktails by flickering candlelight at the award-winning Nightjar.
  10. Embrace the weird and wonderful at one of London’s quirky bars, or head to a fabulous rooftop bar in London.

Cheeky speakeasy

A photo posted by Francesca Geca (@cesca1612) on

Unique museums in London

  1. Step inside the home of London’s favourite detective at the Sherlock Holmes Museum.
  2. Relive your childhood at the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising, which is home to more than 12,000 nostalgic items.
  3. Venture to The Vault at Hard Rock Cafe to discover hidden rock'n'roll memorabilia from around the world.
  4. Learn about the incredible work of the lady with the lamp at the Florence Nightingale Museum.
  5. Visit House of MinaLima to see incredible artworks and props from the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts movies.  
  6. Browse the beautiful collection at The Fan Museum.  
  7. Explore the history of the British Army at The Household Cavalry Museum.
  8. Delve into the history of 19th-century surgery at the Old Operating Theatre.
  9. Head to the Wellcome Collection to find out about the impact of medicine on our lives.
  10. Appreciate the work of one of London’s most famous 19th-century novelists at The Charles Dickens Museum.
  11. See the effects that modern life has on our bodies through interactive exhibits and real, preserved bodies with Body Worlds.

Off-the-beaten-track tours of London

  1. See a completely different side of the city one toilet at a time during a London Loo Tour.
  2. Learn about the capital’s musical heritage during a Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll Tour of London.
  3. Be dazzled by views of the capital from above on a London Helicopter Tour.
  4. Scare yourself silly during a ride through London with The Ghost Bus Tours.
  5. Discover the chilling story of London’s most notorious serial killer with Jack the Ripper Ghost Walks and stop off at his favourite drinking spot, The Ten Bells.
  6. Take a tour of the Royal Hospital Chelsea with a resident Chelsea Pensioner.
  7. Learn about the horrific outbreak which gripped London in 1665 during the Tales of Plague Guided Walk.
  8. Immerse yourself in the world of London’s most infamous duo during The Kray Twins Gangster Walking Tour.
  9. Venture beneath the streets of London to explore the abandoned Aldwych Underground station.
  10. Chow down on tasty food while learning about the capital’s culture with Eating London Tours.

Secret places to dine in London

  1. Experience the humble crisp like never before at trendy HipChips in Soho.
  2. Sit down to a boozy bottomless brunch with friends at Gaucho, Flesh & Buns or Aqua Kyoto.
  3. Tuck into an alternative afternoon tea in London.
  4. Step through a secret entrance in Bubbledogs to take a seat at the Michelin-starred Kitchen Table.
  5. Sink your teeth into delicious dishes at Maltby Street Market, or try Italian street food at Mercato Metropolitano.
  6. Be plunged into darkness during an unforgettable three-course meal at Dans Le Noir?
  7. Indulge in mouth-watering desserts at top-secret London spot, Basement Sate.
  8. Experience the foodie delights on offer at garden oasis, Farmopolis.
  9. Head to glamorous Brunswick House Cafe hidden away in a Georgian mansion.
  10. Tuck into tea and cake surrounded by feline friends at Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium.  

Unique London events

  1. Peer inside iconic buildings and private homes rarely opened to the public during Open House London.
  2. Watch your favourite flicks underneath the stars during Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House.  
  3. Lose yourself in the immersive world of Secret Cinema.
  4. Tantalise your taste buds during a top-secret dining experience with Gingerline.
  5. Catch a spectacular line-up of outdoor plays and musicals at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.  
  6. Enjoy an evening of cheap entertainment at one of London's little-known pub theatres.
  7. Celebrate the arrival of the majestic Tall Ships in London.
  8. See incredible installations in unique spaces during the London Design Festival.
  9. Watch swimmers brave icy waters while competing in The Peter Pan Cup on Christmas Day.
  10. Stop by a church to hear the beautiful sounds of a Choral Evensong service.

More secret London attractions

  1. Spend an afternoon exploring London's cool musical heritage.
  2. Discover hidden gems in a lesser-visited area of London, including Little Venice in Paddington or Kenwood House in Hampstead.
  3. Climb more than 300 steps to the top of The Monument.  
  4. Take in London’s spectacular sights from the river while kayaking down the Thames.
  5. Look out for London’s quirky street art. See if you can spot the Seven Noses of Soho or the hidden ears in Covent Garden.
  6. Be dazzled by the bright lights of God’s Own Junkyard, which houses Europe's largest collection of vintage neon signs.
  7. Head outdoors to explore some of London's most peaceful places.
  8. Chuckle along to hilarious stand-up shows at the Top Secret Comedy Club.  
  9. Uncover the abundant history of Roman London, including the remains of the capital’s little-known Roman wall.
  10. See if you can spot the smallest police station in London at Trafalgar Square.
  11. Go for a dip in one of the city’s open-air lidos, or take a rowing boat out on Hyde Park's Serpentine Lake.
  12. Search for the long-lost, secret London street in Soho: Little Compton Street.

If you’re looking for even more alternative things to do in London, make sure to check out the best of London’s hidden gems or discover some of the capital’s quirkiest attractions.