The Hidden Gems in Each London Borough That You Must Visit

Spanish Garden
Spanish Garden | Courtesy of Kensington Roof Gardens
Olivia Furniss-Roe

The 33 London boroughs are home to some hidden gems just waiting to be discovered, whether they be underground bars, ice cream parlours or even an inner-city farm. Make sure get off that beaten track and start exploring.

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Barking and Dagenham

Capital Karts – Rippleside

Gokarting, Courtesy of Capital Karts

Adrenaline junkies need not leave the city to get their fix. Instead, visit the UK’s longest indoor race track and channel your inner Lewis Hamilton.

Barnet

Belmont Children’s Farm – Mill Hill

A hedgehog at Belmont Children’s Farm

Find some respite from busy city life on Mill Hill – from ferrets to alpacas you’ll be able to cuddle over 30 types of animal at this animal oasis, and feel your stress simply melt away. If that wasn’t enough to convince you, there’s also an on-site waffle cafe.

Bexley

Cocoa & Heart – Bexleyheath

It’s never too late to learn a new skill, and Cocoa & Heart lets you do just that. From baking bread and making chocolate, to sewing and candle crafting, this hidden gem will inspire your creative side and leave you with a new skill, ready to impress your friends.

Brent

Lexi Cinema – Kensal Rise

Cinema Front, Courtesy of Lexi Cinema

This is a cinema that makes a difference – donating 100% of their profits to a charity in rural South Africa. The cinema is mainly run by passionate volunteers,so visit to watch a film and gobble down popcorn knowing you have done some good.

Bromley

The Lavender House Cafe – Sundridge Park

Whether you are looking for a weekend brunch or afternoon tea, this cosy little cafe provides a calm ambience and high-quality food and drink, with a great outdoor seating area to make the most of the summer sun.

Camden

Chin Chin Labs Ice Cream – Camden Lock

Ice cream sandwich

Futuristic, scientific desserts with a variety of delicious flavours served by Europe’s first ever liquid nitrogen ice-cream parlour. You had better hurry as this will not be a hidden gem for long – they’ve already opened a second location.

Croydon

Matthews Yard – Surrey Street

Nestled between Croydon’s east and west train stations, Matthews Yard is an exciting 10,000 square foot hub of creative activity, containing a crowd-funded theatre, an art gallery featuring local artists, two high-quality restaurants, as well as coworking spaces and artists’ studios. Why would you ever need to leave!

Ealing

WA Cafe – Ealing Broadway

Transport your taste buds to Japan at this independent Japanese patisserie in Ealing Broadway. The freshly-baked pastries look (almost) too good to eat and are served in beautiful Japanese crockery to really give you the authentic Japanese experience.

Enfield

Chickenshed – Southgate

Theatre Performance, Courtesy of Chickenshed

This vibrant young theatre started out exactly as their name suggests – in a chicken shed. The company has grown considerably but their values have remained the same – they seek to bring together people of all backgrounds to produce outstanding theatre productions and educational experiences.

Greenwich

Greenwich Market – Greenwich

Historical Greenwich Market in South East London

Set within a World Heritage site, this historic, vibrant market makes for a great day out in Greenwich. Whittle away the hours looking at products from designer-makers, original artworks and eating mouth-watering street food, all under one roof.

Hackney

Rio Cinema – Dalston

This gem comes in the form of a Grade II listed independent Art Deco cinema with a comprehensive programme of films and events throughout the year. The plush velvet seats, atmospheric music and red curtains also help create the great ambience.

Hammersmith & Fulham

Lyric – Hammersmith

Lyric theatre garden

One of the UK’s leading producing theatres, the Lyric is known for its critically acclaimed theatrical work. As if this wasn’t reason enough to pay a visit, the Lyric is also home to a beautiful rooftop garden – a green oasis in the heart of Hammersmith.

Haringey

Jam in a Jar – Green Lanes

Whether in search of your Monday morning coffee or your Friday night cocktail, this simple, versatile bar is worth a visit at any time of day. The menu caters to all tastes, no matter if you are on a diet or in the mood to indulge, and the evening live music only adds to the chilled out atmosphere.

Harrow

The Harrow in Harrow – Harrow on the Hill

The Harrow’s, beer, pie and chips

For good food and some funky dance music, head to this pub in Harrow to liven up your Saturday night. With no shortage of large screens to cheer your team on over a beer, it’s also an ideal place for sports fans to catch the game.

Havering

Upminster TapRoom – Upminster

A firm local favourite due to its cosy setting and friendly staff, this micropub offers an incredible array of constantly changing real ale and ciders sourced from micro-breweries, the first of its kind in Havering.

Hillingdon

The Old Orchard – Harefield

View From the Garden

It is hard to believe you are still in London when admiring the panoramic view from this restaurant’s beer garden. When it is too cold to sit inside, the open fires, home-made food and around 120 types of whisky will keep you warm at this hidden gem.

Hounslow

Fuller’s Brewery – Chiswick

Fuller’s Brewery Tour

Curious about how your beer is made? Pay a visit to London’s last family brewery and take a tour behind the scenes to have an insight into ale-making. Make sure you stay until the end, when you will have the opportunity to sample a full range of ales and impress your friends with your newfound knowledge.

Islington

Tierra Peru – Angel

For an authentic taste of Peru, look no further than Tierra Peru, where the warm atmosphere and flavourful food could fool you into thinking you were really in South America.

Kensington and Chelsea

The Roof Gardens – Kensington High Street

Spanish Garden

A hundred feet above High Street Kensington, you’ll find one of the most glorious, glamorous and leafy spaces in London, offering amazing views of the city skyline complete with a swanky bar and restaurant. The best part? This garden is also home to a friendly flock of flamingos!

Lambeth

The Windmill – Brixton

For an unforgettable live music experience, look no further than this independent venue. With a warm atmosphere and hosting excellent acts (bands such as The Vaccines, Noah & The Whale and Jamie T have played here), this hidden gem makes for a great night out in Lambeth.

Lewisham

Horniman Museum and Gardens – Forest Hill

Horniman museum

Open since the Victorian times, this free museum offers visitors the unusual opportunity to get up close and personal with its artefacts, allowing you to pick them up and play with them as you please. The gardens also make for a beautiful outdoor spot in the summer.

Newham

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park – Stratford

Ever wondered what happened to the great Olympic facilities after 2012? They turned into a dynamic metropolitan centre featuring an urban park, playgrounds, an aquatic centre, and even the world’s longest tunnel slide!

Redbridge

Lizard Lounge – South Woodford

For a range of delectable cocktails, head over to Lizard Lounge in South Woodford, an independent craft cocktail bar that also puts on a great show. Their experimental cocktail makes the most of fresh ingredients and will have you coming back for more – handy, then, that they are open every day of the week!

Richmond upon Thames

Rock & Rose Restaurant – Richmond

For a glamorous and vibrant atmosphere, Rock & Rose has the recipe for success, serving beautifully presented cocktails alongside international cuisine. The bold decor is the cherry on top at this hidden gem.

Southwark

Frank’s Cafe – Peckham

As soon as summer comes along, this Peckham pop-up appears on the top of a multi-storey car park, serving its legendary Campari alongside cooling cocktails, whilst also playing host to a number of art installations – a hipster’s paradise!

Sutton

The Old Bank – Sutton High Street

Recently refurbished, this pub serves the classics, with all of the trimmings, for prices that will make you forget you are in London. What’s more, this is the only Sutton pub with a TV screen outside, allowing you to really soak in the summer sun.

Tower Hamlets

Wilton’s Music Hall – Tower Hill

Wilton’s Music Hall, Courtesy of Hélene Benet

Wilton’s Music Hall is the oldest grand music hall in the world, with over 300 years of history behind it. Today, it retains its natural charm and is a beautiful location where theatre, opera, dance, music, cinema, circus acts and other art forms find their natural home.

Waltham Forest

Luna Lounge – Leytonstone

Luna Lounge is proud of its reputation as the independent home of live music for the last 13 years. Having started out as a basement bar before extending into two whole floors of entertainment and live music, this funky bar offers an eclectic mix of music to suit all tastes, from open mic to psychedelic jazz funk.

Wandsworth

The Ship – Wandsworth

People drinking in the beer garden of The Ship pub, Wandsworth, South London

Located right on the water’s edge, this is the perfect location if you are craving good food and an even better atmosphere. The beer garden and conservatory are worth the visit alone, and perfect for watching the sun set over the Thames.

Westminster

Cahoots – Soho

The private booths downstairs at Cahoots Control Room

Although tricky to find, the search is worth it for this tube-themed cocktail bar, complete with vintage, ’40s-style decor and an actor portraying a train guide to welcome you inside. The menus, in the form of broadsheet newspapers, reveal an endless choice of cocktails. All aboard for a night to remember!

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