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.
Belmont Children’s Farm – Mill Hill
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.
Belmont Children’s Farm, The Ridgeway, Mill Hill, London NW7 1QT
A hedgehog at Belmont Children’s Farm | Courtesy of Belmont Children’s Farm
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.
Cocoa & Heart, 19 Izane Rd, Bexleyheath DA6 8NU
Chocolate lollipops | Courtesy of Cocoa & Heart
Chin Chin Labs Ice Cream – Camden Lock
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.
Chin Chin Labs, 49–50 Camden Lock Place, London, NW1 8AF, UK
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!
1 Matthews Yard, Croydon CR0 1FF
Matthews Yard decorated for a wedding | Courtesy of Matthews Yard
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.
WA Cafe, 32 Haven Green, London W5 2NX
A variety of pastries | Courtesy of WA Cafe
Chickenshed – Southgate
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.
Chickenshed, 290 Chase Side, London N14 4PE
Theatre performance | Courtesy of Chickenshed
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.
Rio Cinema, 107 Kingsland High St, London E8 2PB
An interior shot of Rio Cinema | Courtesy of Rio Cinema
Hammersmith & Fulham
Lyric – Hammersmith
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.
Lyric Hammersmith, One Lyric Square, King St, London W6 0QL
Lyric theatre garden | Courtesy of Jim Stephenson
The Harrow in Harrow – Harrow on the Hill
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.
The Harrow in Harrow, 269–271 Station Rd, London, Harrow HA1 2TB
The Harrow’s, beer, pie and chips | Courtesy of The Harrow | Courtesy of The Harrow
The Old Orchard – Harefield
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.
The Old Orchard, Park Ln, Harefield, Uxbridge UB9 6HJ
View from the garden | Courtesy of The Old Orchard
Kensington and Chelsea
The Roof Gardens – Kensington High Street
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!
The Roof Gardens, 99 Kensington High St, Kensington, London W8 5SA
Spanish Garden | Courtesy of Kensington Roof Gardens
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.
The Windmill, 22 Blenheim Gardens, London SW2 5BZ
Windmill sign | Courtesy of Windmill Brixton
Horniman Museum and Gardens – Forest Hill
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.
Horniman Museum, 100 London Rd, Forest Hill, London SE23 3PQ
Summer garden party | Courtesy of the Horniman Museum and Gardens
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!
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London, E20 2ST
River view of Olympic Park | Courtesy of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
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!
Lizard Lounge, 186-188 George Ln, London E18 1AY
Green Pea G&T | Courtesy of Lizard Lounge
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.
Rock & Rose Restaurant, 106 – 108 Kew Rd, Richmond TW9 2PQ
Cocktail | Courtesy of Rock & Rose
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.
The Old Bank, 2 High St, Sutton SM1 1HN
Pub front | Courtesy of The Old Bank
Wilton’s Music Hall – Tower Hill
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.
Wilton’s Music Hall, 1 Graces Alley, Whitechapel, London E1 8JB
Wilton’s Music Hall | Courtesy of Hélene Benet
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.
Luna – The home of live music, 7 Church Ln, London E11 1HG
Live music | Courtesy of Luna – The home of live music
Cahoots – Soho
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!
Cahoots, 13 Kingly Court, Carnaby, London W1B 5PW
At The Bar | Courtesy of Cahoots