Next stop, London town! London is such a wonderful city to visit and it was the first city I ever truly fell in love with. There is nothing like a chilly London evening, with good coffee and great company. Last week I wrote about 8 Lesser Known Things to Do in Paris, and this week I am bringing you the London version as city number two in my mini series. Don’t be a victim of the touristy duds, and instead check out my absolute favorite London gems. Here are 8 lesser known things to do in London:

8 Lesser Known Things To Do In London

1. The Monument

Also known as The Monument to the Great Fire of London, is a large column located West of the Tower of London and London Tower Bridge. This is one of those things that many tourists walk by or ‘see’, but never really take the chance to explore. On of my favorite things when traveling is finding really great views to photograph from. The Monument, which commemorates the Great Fire of London, has a 360 degree view once you climb to the top. Most people don’t know you can go to the top and see some incredible views! So if you happen to stumble upon this monument, don’t forget to make your way to the top.

2. Highgate Cemetery

If you’re creepy awesome like me, you love a good cemetery.  Every great city has their fair share of famous headstones, and Highgate Cemetery contains Karl Marx among a few others. What’s most intriguing about this cemetery is the history of spooky activity and vampire hunters. Yes, vampire hunters. If you love a good fantasy adventure, you’ll have some fun here. The cemetery is super overgrown and adds to the creepiness and paranormal vibe. Definitely one of the best cemeteries you’ll ever see, especially if you are in to that uneasy feeling from your favorite horror movie.

3. Natural History Museum

This one is probably more well known, but thanks to its stunning architecture, I had to include the Natural History Museum! I missed this several times on my first trips to London, but this museum has great lighting and is stunning for photos. I highly suggest a visit here if you’re in to architectural photography and interior architecture. Or, you could totally do the more un-Coat and Coffee normal thing, and have a look around at the specimens. Either way, a sight to see that’s great for Instagram!

8 Lesser Known Things To Do In London

4. The Roof Gardens

Maybe one of my favorite places in London! The Roof Gardens is comprised of three gardens above Kensington: The Spanish Gardens, The Tudor Garden, and the English Woodland. Probably the most stunning one is the Spanish Garden which immediately transports you to Spain. The gardens sit on top of Kensington High Street and boast amazing views of the city with immaculate greenery. They are free and open to the public, but do check their open dates online because there are lots of events held here, including weddings. The gardens even contain flamingos and exotic ducks!

5. Behind the Bookcase

Who doesn’t love a good secret bar or speakeasy? ‘Behind the Bookcase’, as it’s been dubbed, is a super secret bar located inside BFI London. People often pop in to the British Film Institute to catch a movie, and some clever blokes decided to make a secret bar quite literally behind a bookcase.  I’ve heard lots of stories of people trying to feel up the bookcase to see where the secret door opens from, which you may have some problems with too! It’s all in good fun though. Once you get in, you’ll be able to enjoy some seriously delicious cocktails on comfy oversize chairs. It’s officially called The Drawing Room.

8 Lesser Known Things To Do In London

6. Laduree and Harrods

Every great trip to London is complete with a trip to Laduree and Harrods (I am convinced of this). I like to mention this even though it can be considered ‘touristy’ because, well, it isn’t actually that touristy. Harrods is the mecca of all London shopping, and the English have to shop too, right? The amount of different languages you hear is insane. It is really fun to just walk around the 7 floors and 330 departments in awe of everything. After you shop, chill out with a cup of tea and some macarons from Laduree. There aren’t too many Ladurees in the states, so I always make it a point to go in London.

*Laduree is around the back end of Harrods off Hans road.

7. Go For a Curry

It’s not well known to foreigners, but London has some amazing curry. On the contrary, the English know this very well. London has a very large Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi community. I highly recommend stopping for some curry when you’re visiting London! It’s the perfect hot dish for those cold and dreary English nights. A few notable restaurants include Dishoom, which has an incredibly cute and modern interior. For something much fancier try Gymkhaha, which is a Michelin Star Indian restaurant.

8. Portobello Road Market

If you’re not in to all the fuss and high end fashion Harrods has to offer, you’ll definitely want to check out Portobello Road Market in the trendy area of Notting Hill. While this market can get a little full of tourists, it is the perfect place to find some gifts. There are tons of vendors selling antique items made directly in Britain. Think more antiques than your brain can handle! The streets are also lined with tons of food vendors.

8 Lesser Known Things To Do In London

Whether you’re planning your first trip to London (I can give you a hand with that too), or your third, these are some of my favorite things to do that people often miss. Hopefully you add these to your list on your next trip!

What’s your favorite thing to do in London? Or, what would you love to see in London that you haven’t seen yet?

Check out Trip Planner for a hand in planning your next trip!

49 Comments

  1. You’ve featured some brilliant points in this list of unusual things to do in London! The Natural History Museum is definitely worth visiting and such tasty treats can be found at Laduree; the perfect spot for a snack 🙂

    aglassofice.com
    x

    Reply
  2. There are honestly soo many things to do in London! I live quite near London myself, and honestly, I haven’t visited at least half the places on your list! It’s just so massive with so much to do (Which is awesome!), and as far as cities go it has to be one of the busiest. I have been to the Natural History Museum, not typically a museum gal but they did really have some impressive exhibits. Would love to check the other ones you’ve mentioned! 🙂 <3 Really enjoying this series so far, hun, hope to see more posts like this – they're awesome! xoxo

    Kay
    http://shoesandglitter.com

    Reply
    1. Thank you Kay! So glad you are enjoying them! You’re right, there are a million things to do in London! I don’t think I even covered like .0008 of them haha. The Natural History Museum is definitely one of my favorites. If you check out any, you’ll love the gardens! Definitely do that. 😉

      Author Reply
  3. Ok, I’m now officially wishing I was back in London! It is such a fun city, and I would love to be there for an extended period of time to experience more of it. I know Hyde Park isn’t “lesser known”, but what I loved was taking a walk through it in the morning when it’s quiet. Kind of a different experience from how busy it can get during the day 🙂

    Kathryn • simplykk.com

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    1. That’s a great suggestion! Some of my most favorite memories in London are just strolling the city’s little pockets alone. It’s so calming!

      Author Reply
  4. Portobello road market has been on my travel wish list for the longest time! Whenever I see it in a blog post I get so excited 😀 The rooftop markets sound so amazing! It’s basically like two things in one– birds eye views + beautiful gardens. I’ve heard such great things about Dishoom from friends and bloggers. Thanks again for an awesome travel guide!

    Mili | Sharmtoaster

    Reply
  5. We visited London for the first time this past summer and it was so amazing! We didn’t even have enough time there it seemed like because the city has so much to offer. We did get to check out portobello road market and that day was one of my favorites.

    xx

    Lauren
    Blame it on Barneys
    http://www.blameitonbarneys.com

    Reply
  6. Handy alternate things to do in London. We are here now with our kids and really cool to find different ideas from the stock standard tourist lists. Thanks!

    Reply
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