The best under-the-radar spots to enjoy an alternative day of sightseeing in London.
Big Ben, Tower of London, Hyde Park, Tate Modern… the list of world-famous landmarks and attractions to see in London is endless, but what about the hidden gems you don’t hear so much about? We’ve dug below the surface to find the best under-the-radar spots to enjoy an alternative day of sightseeing in the capital.
A hidden tropical oasis in the heart of London, the Barbican Conservatory is the second largest in the city and is home to a massive 2,000_ species of tropical plants and trees, not to mention a whole host of exotic fish. A visit here is the perfect way to enjoy a relaxed day out with friends or family, slowing the pace before taking back to the streets for further exploring. The conservatory is open Saturday and Sunday, admission is free with no booking required but entry is on a first-come-first-served basis.
EC2Y 30 mins from Kip Hotel via Overground
Wilton’s Music Hall
Who knew the oldest grand music hall in the world was located in East London? Well you do now, anyway. A grade II listed building in London’s Tower Hamlets, Wilton’s opened in 1859 and has seen a number of uses throughout its years including a brief stint as a rag storage warehouse in the 50s and a methodist hall before that. Having survived years of uncertainty and threat of demolition, as well as the London Blitz in World War II, the building has now been fully restored and is once again welcoming world-class artistic talent to the East End all year-round. Recent visitors include Jim Henson’s infamous ‘The Muppets’, with a full programme of events available to explore on the Wilton’s site. Guided tours are available but must be booked in advance, early booking recommended!
E1 – 37 mins from Kip Hotel via Bus (254)
Statue of Amy Winehouse
Unveiled on what would have been the late singer’s 31st birthday in 2014, this life-sized statue was created by British sculptor Scott Eaton, who said that it had been designed to convey Winehouse’s “attitude and strength, but also give subtle hints of insecurity”. Located in Stables Market in her former stomping ground of Camden Town, the statue is free to visit and is accessible year-round, attracting thousands of visitors each month. Fans regularly place flowers and put wristbands on the statue to pay their respects. Upon the unveiling of the statue, Janis, Amy’s mother, stated “Camden is Amy’s place, it’s where she belongs.”
NW1 – 23 mins from Kip Hotel via Overground
Sometimes described as Brixton’s best-kept secret, it’s fair to say this slice of Countryside hidden away in London’s vibrant Brixton is one of the best-kept secrets anywhere in the capital. Located in a small park off Brixton Hill, the mill was erected in 1816 at a time when most of this area of London was open fields and, despite significant development in the area throughout the 200+ years since, retains much of its country charm. After closing in the mid-1930s, the windmill opened to the public again in 2011 and has been a popular attraction ever since. Free guided tours are available when booked in advance, or you can simply rock up and take in the sight of London’s only working windmill at your own leisure.
SW2 – 44 mins from Kip Hotel via Overground, Victoria Line & Bus
God’s Own Junkyard
No trip to the capital is complete without the perfect Instagram photo opportunity, right? We’ll, if that’s what you’re after you’re certainly in luck when visiting Walthamstow’s ‘God’s Own Junkyard’. Described as a “psychedelic paradise of neon lights and vintage signs”, this unit located on Ravenswood Industrial Estate is a feast for the senses and contains everything from neon artist and founder Chris Bracey’s signage for Soho sex clubs in the ‘60s to his work for the movie industry. As well as sufficiently satisfying your appetite for a photo opportunity, there is also an on-site bar and cafe to keep you well fed and watered during your visit. Pieces are available to purchase, but will set you back considerably more than your average souvenir.
E17 – 24 mins from Kip Hotel via Overground
London is a melting pot of world-famous landmarks and attractions, and while these are great to get around, it’s good to check some lesser well know haunts out, too.