London Insider Tips

13 hidden gems in London

The Monument in London

In a nutshell: Our insider tips for London

  • Even away from the well-known spots in London you can experience a lot and encounter much fewer tourists.
  • There are some cool viewpoints like the viewing terrace at Tate Modern or The Monument that not many know about.
  • One of our favorite places in London is Kyoto Garden with its Japanese flair. Great for relaxing!
  • Neighborhoods like Little Venice or Richmond are also great destinations for a couple of hours to stroll around and relax.
  • If you like to go out at night, the Dishoom Restaurant and the bars and clubs in Shoreditch are great places to go.

Of course, we have many more hidden gems up our sleeves. Just take a look below to see what you like.

View from the Tate Modern
View of London from the Tate Modern. Not bad, right?

Tate Modern is a well-known address for art lovers. But even if you’re not that into art, you can still enjoy a trip to Tate Modern.

From the viewing gallery on Level 10, you have a fantastic 360°-view of the London skyline. In the attached bar, you can get a delicious coffee or a cold craft beer while enjoying the great view.

On the sixth floor of the Bell Building, the Kitchen and Bar also offers another great view of the Thames, St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Millennium Bridge. The latter is also known from the movie “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”

Best of all: the Tate Modern Museum and its view are free!

The Monument

The Monument in London
Hidden from most tourists in this column is another great viewpoint

The Monument is a 61-meter-high column in the heart of London. The lookout at the top is the only place in London where you can see all the major buildings at once.

Most tourists just walk past this sight, as it doesn’t seem really spectacular. Only if you look closely, you’ll notice an entrance at the back.

Inside the column itself is a 311-step spiral staircase up to the very top. From there, you have a fantastic view over large parts of London. When you leave the monument, you’ll receive a certificate that you’ve conquered the 311 steps.

Boat trip to Greenwich with Prime Meridian

View of London's Docklands from Greenwich
In Greenwich, you can relax and enjoy the view of London’s Docklands

The boat trip to the Greenwich prime meridian is still a real insider tip among London’s boat trips.

The boats leave from Westminster Pier and take an hour to Greenwich where you’ll find far fewer tourists than in the center. There, you can stroll through Greenwich Market or relax in the park with a view of London’s skyline.

Greenwich is also home to the famous Prime Meridian. Simply explained, it’s an imaginary line from the North Pole to the South Pole that divides the Earth into an eastern and a western hemisphere.

Make sure you don’t do the boat trip when it rains. Especially from the outside deck, you’ll have a great view of London’s most famous sights: London Eye, The Shard, Tower Bridge, Tate Modern and many more.

Especially in summer, it’s recommended to book the boat trip in advance. You can choose between a single trip and a round trip.

Book tickets for the boat trip to Greenwich

Columbia Road Flower Market

Flowers at the Columbia Road Flower Market in London
You can walk through a colorful, fragrant sea of flowers at the Columbia Road Flower Market

Every Sunday, Columbia Road hosts one of the most beautiful markets in London. The Flower Market sells colorful flowers, everything a gardener’s heart desires, and even jewelry and small works of art.

Especially for photographers, Columbia Road Flower Market is an absolute hidden gem in London. You have great photo motifs at every corner. The colorful flowers are  literally asking to be photographed.

Our tip: The Flower Market always opens at 8 am. Come as early as possible. Then you can still enjoy the full flower splendor before many of the plants are sold.

Greater London: See a different side of London

Red bus in the streets of London
If you take a bus out of the city center, you can discover a whole new side of London

Instead of always walking around central London, you should also take a bus out of the city and take a look at Greater London. These are the outskirts of the capital. You’ll discover London from a completely different angle there.

We can particularly recommend the neighborhoods of Hackney, Clapton and Stoke Newington in the north-east of the city. It’s super nice here and you feel safe here as a tourist.

The neighborhoods are not too far from downtown London, but are completely different than the city center: narrower streets, brick townhouses with small front gardens, cafes, restaurants and pubs.

The area is also very family friendly and therefore a great tip for a trip to London with kids.

Canal Walk around Little Venice

Boats on the canal in Little Venice in London
A relaxing walk along the canals of Little Venice is a wonderful insider tip for London that not many tourists know about yet

You’ll get to know a completely different and beautiful side of London if you go for a walk along the inner-city canals. Some Londoners live here on permanently anchored houseboats, each of which is a small attraction in itself.

For a moment, the narrow canal and colorful boats make you feel as if you were in Venice. Hence, the name of the Little Venice district is no coincidence.

Our tip: Reward yourself for your walk with a delicious brunch on the houseboat Darcie & May Green.

Relaxing on Hampstead Heath

View from Highgate Hampstead Park
The view from Highgate Hampstead Park is still a rather unknown London tip

Hampstead Heath is definitely one of our favorite hidden gems in London. This is an urban forest where the tourist crowds and hustle and bustle of the city seem miles away.

In the park, you should definitely visit the Parliament Hill Viewpoint. From there, you have a great view over London. There are also several lakes where you can take a dip.

Afterwards, you can treat yourself to a pitcher of typically British Pimm’s cocktail in the nearby beer garden The Freemasons Arms.

Our tip: To find your way around Hampstead Heath, be sure to bring your phone. The paths aren’t always marked and often lead through wild undergrowth. 

Japanese Kyoto Garden

Kyoto Garden in London
If you’re looking for a bit of peace and quiet, you should visit this special London insider tip

You’ll also get a good dose of relaxation when visiting Kyoto Garden – even more so if you’re exploring the city during London’s peak summer travel season.

Kyoto Garden has quickly become one of our favorite places in London. It isn’t just a place to relax on the lawn, but to stroll around the beautiful grounds and enjoy the tranquility and Japanese flair.

The garden is part of Holland Park, west of the center, and embodies Japan exactly as you would imagine: stone lanterns, ponds filled with colorful koi, small waterfalls and glowing trees framing the landscape everywhere.

Horniman Museum

Horniman Museum
Even from the outside, the Horniman Museum looks really nice

The main London attractions and museums in London are located in central London. But there are also some highlights to discover in the outer boroughs of London, such as the Horniman Museum and its gardens.

The museum is a kind of natural history museum with a motley collection of over 350,000 objects, an aquarium and a butterfly house.

Admission to the museum is free, you only have go buy a ticket on the website to visit the aquarium and butterfly house.

We were particularly charmed by the outdoor area which includes a Victorian conservatory, a wildlife enclosure and spacious grasslands. The Horniman Museum is like a little oasis in the busy city and also a great tip if you’re traveling with kids.

Highgate Cemetery

Graves in Highgate Cemetery in London
Another London insider tip for a relaxing break from sightseeing is a walk through the wild nature at Highgate Cemetery with its impressive graves

Highgate Cemetery is one of the city’s seven Victorian cemeteries. What sounds like a somewhat morbid insider tip for London at first is actually a nice trip to take a break from sightseeing.

The cemetery is almost completely natural with winding paths leading to graves overgrown with ivy. It’s hard to believe that famous people like Karl Marx are buried here.

The entrance fee to Highgate Cemetery is about 5 pounds. You can also join a guided tour of the cemetery and get some background information.

Our tip: In case of bad weather, be sure to wear shoes that can get dirty. The paths in Highgate Cemetery can get muddy when wet.

Richmond and Kingston Upon Thames

A trip to Kingston is a super insider tip for London if you have a bit more time

Looking for a pretty London neighborhood to do some leisurely strolling? Then we have a neat hidden gem for you: Richmond.

Like all the other districts, Richmond has its own little center where you can do some relaxed shopping. In addition, the district is located directly on the Thames. So you can go for a walk or a bike ride along the water.

In Richmond Riverside Park, many people spend their afternoons picnicking or listening to street musicians. Just sit down and let yourself be infected by the good mood.

Our tip: If you have a whole day, we recommend taking the train and a rented bike to Kingston Upon Thames. In the old town center, cute stores line the historic marketplace. From there, you’ll ride along the Thames and green pastures to Richmond.

Dishoom Restaurant Kensington

Dishoom Restaurant in Kensington London
Our tastiest London insider tip: Dishoom Restaurant in Kensington serving Indian cuisine

One of our favorite restaurants in London is Dishoom Restaurant Kensington, where you get the most delicious Indian cuisine. We’re not exaggerating when we say: the best Indian food we’ve ever eaten!

The best part is that you can eat your way through the menu from morning till night. The restaurant serves a delicious breakfast in the morning, a tasty lunch at noon and a unique dinner in the evening.

With its art deco style, Dishoom Restaurant Kensington has a great atmosphere. By the way, there are more Dishoom restaurants in London. You can find more information on their website.

Our tip: It’s best to visit Dishoom in the early evening, as there’s a better chance to get a a seat. 

Nightlife in Shoreditch

Bars in London's Shoreditch at night
At night, Shoreditch transforms into one of London’s coolest nightlife districts (© AlenaKr)

Shoreditch is a neighborhood in the north-east of London. For a long time, Shoreditch was a poorer and somewhat shady area.

In recent years, however, the area has turned into a trendy neighborhood. This is where busy suits meet laid-back hipsters and high heels meet scuffed Nike shoes. The neighborhood has become so cool that we also highly recommend it in our hotel tips for London.

If you want to go partying on the weekends and join the real London nightlife, you should definitely hang out in Shoreditch. You’ll find the hottest pubs, bars, clubs and quite a few restaurants.

It’d relatively cheap to go out in Shoreditch, because almost all bars have their happy hour from 5 to 9 pm. You should take advantage of that, because otherwise, it can quickly become very expensive. Also, you can get into many clubs and bars for free before 9 or 10 pm!

Our favorite bars and clubs in Shoreditch

There are countless bars and clubs in Shoreditch. Here are our favorites.


Bar Cirque is a great place to start your night in Shoreditch! It’s a small bar, but you can’t resist its charm!  It’s very popular on weekends because of the happy hour between 5 and 9 pm. 

Besides, there’s always a DJ, so people start dancing early. The decoration of the bar is also worth seeing. Little witches, wooden dolls and antlers peer down at you from all around.

Old Blue Last

The perfect pub to immerse yourself in London’s newcomer music scene. The Old Blue Last is really quaint and a bit run down, but that’s what makes it so charming.

The Old Blue Last is one of the few places where you can listen to live music by up-and-coming London artists without paying an entrance fee.

The pub has two floors. There’s normal dancing downstairs and live acts upstairs. There’s also a relax area where you can chat in peace.

Wetherspoon Hamilton Hall

The pub is kept in the style of the 1900s. You enter a magnificent, huge hall which many people visit throughout the day.

Londoners often meet here for an after-work beer. The drinks are great and the food is delicious.

Perfect for a stop if you’re on your way to Stansted Airport or starting your evening in Shoreditch from Liverpool Street.

Queen of Hoxton

Queen of Hoxton is a crossover between a bar and a club. The music is eclectic and people just flock in.

What makes this club special is a cozy area on the rooftop which is open in summer and winter.

The roof is always decorated according to different themes – sometimes it’s a circus, sometimes a cozy camping tent. So if you’re there, be sure to stop by the roof!

What are your insider tips for London?

These were our 13 insider tips for London. Do you have a personal London tip beyond the well-known sights? If so, we’d love to hear your comments.