Ah, the capital.
There’s the more to it than meets the London Eye.
You see, there’s also a plethora of more unusual spots off the beaten track, which, given their grandiosity, exoticism or slightly time-warped appearance, are somewhat hard to believe are here in London.
And yet here they are – by which we mean both in London, and literally on this page…
Strawberry Hill House | Strawberry Hill
Created by Horace Walpole in the 18th century, Strawberry Hill House is heralded as a pre-eminent example of Gothic revival architecture, boasting vaulted stained glass windows, a carved library, and a particularly ornate papier maché ceiling.
His family wanted them in all the rooms, but eventually they caved. FIND OUT MORE
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Temple | Neasden
The staggeringly impressive Neasden Temple was built according to traditional architectural guidelines, and involved shipping 5,000 tonnes of hand-carved stone from India to be assembled in North London like a jigsaw. Except they definitely weren’t allowed to chip any bits off to force it to fit. FIND OUT MORE
Hampstead Pergola | Hampstead
This century-old walkway overlooking Hampstead Heath was niftily created by piling up the rubble displaced by nearby Northern Line extension work. FIND OUT MORE
Foreign & Commonwealth Office | Westminster
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is like the strange but beautiful lovechild of a railway station, a cathedral, and a Roman mansion. And while it’s only open once a year to visitors, there’s also a virtual tour on their website. FIND OUT MORE
Inner Temple | Temple
Fool your friends into thinking you visited Oxford for the day by visiting the (much closer) Inner Temple. A warren of Georgian buildings and neatly-kept gardens, it’s best enjoyed on a weekday afternoon when all those pesky people who actually work there…are at work. FIND OUT MORE
St. Mary Undercroft | Westminster
Finally, you have an answer to the age-old question, “where can I find a clandestine, gilded chapel hidden within the Houses of Parliament that’s rumoured to have once been used as Oliver Cromwell’s stables?” Hint: it’s this place. FIND OUT MORE
Shad Thames | Tower Bridge
Once the largest warehouse complex in London, the regenerated buildings here still bear the names – and according to urban legend, a vague aroma – of the goods once stored in them. Which is nice for Cinnamon Court, and less nice for Pickle Herring Street. FIND OUT MORE
Crossness Pumping Station | Abbey Wood
A Victorian industrial cathedral, the Crossness Pumping Station once helped to eradicate cholera from the city’s water system – and today houses a museum of particularly noteworthy toilets through the ages. FIND OUT MORE
Bascule Chambers | Tower Bridge
Hidden beneath the Thames are these vast chambers containing the machinery that raises the roads on Tower Bridge. And when they’re not in action, they also provide a pretty unusual space for concerts and art installations… FIND OUT MORE
The Thames Barrier | Silvertown
The Thames Barrier is essentially a huge dam that can be raised to protect London from flooding during tidal surges. And if you didn’t pay attention to any of that, it also looks really cool. FIND OUT MORE
House Mill | Lea Valley
A Grade I listed, 18th century mill, the House Mill now plays host to the occasional gin tasting, concerts and exhibitions – and hopes in future to generate hydroelectric power. Yep, the tides are certainly turning. FIND OUT MORE
Duck Island Cottage | St James’s Park
Duck Island Cottage has – throughout its 176 year history – been a bird refuge, confiscated bicycle store, and a park keeper’s house. Nowadays it’s the headquarters of the London Historic Parks and Gardens Trust – but it’s no less adorable. FIND OUT MORE
Fitzrovia Chapel | Fitzrovia
Despite sporting the most ostentatious of gold mosaic tiled interiors, the Fitzrovia Chapel is a genuinely well-hidden secret, bang in the centre of London. Built for the staff of the Middlesex Hospital that once surrounded it, it’s now a secular space for weddings, concerts, and going “ooh” at. FIND OUT MORE
Wimbledon Windmill | Wimbledon
Just your average suburban skyline, complete with chimneypots, TV aerials, and a 200 year old windmill. FIND OUT MORE
St Dunstan-in-the-East | The City
St. Dunstan has been nestled here since 1100AD, and despite taking heavy hits from both the Great Fire of London and the Blitz (plus some additions by some chap Wren in the interim), the intrusions have only added to its run-down charm. It was converted to a public garden in the late 60s, and remains one of the most scenic places to enjoy an M&S meal deal. FIND OUT MORE
Petersham Nurseries | Richmond
Not wanting to drop the ball after gaining a Michelin star under Skye Gyngell’s reign, Petersham Nurseries have since bussed in former Hix Soho head chef Damian Clisby, who plates up simple modern Italian fare to diners in a suitably Tuscan-styled greenhouse, kitted out with mismatched cutlery, antique furniture, and swathes of greenery. FIND OUT MORE
Richmond Park | Richmond
Deer have been roaming freely in Richmond Park since Charles I moved his court here to escape the Plague.
It wasn’t popular with the locals, but that’s bucking the trend for you.
Nowadays, however, it’s incredibly popular with locals (and visitors from further afield), thanks in no small part to its dramatic, wild landscape covering 2500 acres. FIND OUT MORE
Crossrail Place Roof Garden | Canary Wharf
This secret, enclosed garden on the roof of Crossrail place is filled with plants from around the world, in honour of the international ships that used to trade in the docks below. Although since 2004 it has been illegal to import potatoes which are suspected to be of Polish origin, so don’t expect any of those. FIND OUT MORE
Like discovering new things about London? Then you’ll be needing these facts about every tube station…