What are the things that come to your mind when you think London? The capital of England (and not only), a stunning city, history… the list is probably endless. Where would you take your guests if they come to visit London? Let us guess… Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, London Eye… Great choice, but how about seeing some hidden gems of London, that not many guidebooks would even mention?
Lewisham Phone Box Library
Right in the middle of a pavement along one of South London’s busiest road is the world’s smallest library. When the mobile phones era arrived, instead of getting rid of the iconic public phone boxes, the local community of the Lewisham Borough decided to utilise them and transform into… a public library. No registration is required, no penalty fees for missing the book return due date, no pressure… Just pick a book and return it whenever it suits you. Or not- simply swap for another book that you no longer need.
On the subject of small – Little Venice is another hidden jewel of London. Situated in the heart of Paddington, central London, the area owes its name to the famous Italian town, because of the stunning beauty that the junction of three London canals form. Just one step from the hustle and bustle of the big metropolis will take you to the tranquillity of nature. Stroll along or rent a boat and indulge in total serenity admiring the surroundings. Grab a seat at one of the floating cafes and enjoy the view with a cup of coffee.
Looking for something bigger? Then Greenwich Park, which is also a University campus, is a great place to visit. Not only does it offer a vast green space to relax, it also gives you a beautiful view of Canary Wharf. The park is only minutes away from the Royal Observatory, the Painted Hall, the O2 and a gorgeous, vibrant Greenwich town centre, with its riverside cafes, restaurants, vintage shops and market. Greenwich Park has been chosen as a the location for many famous movies, including the new version of 101 Dalmatians with Emma Stone and has previously been used in the Avengers, the Crown, Les Misérables and many more!
If you don’t have enough of parks yet, head for Holland Park, and its hidden gem of Kyoto Garden. Opened in 1991 it is meant to reflect the friendship established between the UK and Japan. Its designed is entirely based on the typical Japanese style, with cherry trees, waterfalls and little ponds with beautiful koi carps. Traditional lanterns and sculptures add up to the unique oriental atmosphere.
This place does not need any special introduction – the name speaks for itself: prestige, grandeur and opulence – the famous department store is the unquestionable diamond among all the London jewels. It’s not only about expensive designer merchandise, though. Harrods is also home to Halcyon Gallery of Modern, Contemporary and Fine Art, cosy Tiffany’s café and a luxurious Moroccan spa. Starting with the façade, through the grand staircases, lifts and lavatories – every bit of the building is designed with utmost attention to detail, offering its visitors an unforgettable touch of luxury.
These are just a few of many hidden gems in London but the best way to find them is just to get up and go exploring! Find your way around the city and see what it has to offer.