London’s Hidden Gems for Couples
London’s Lesser-Known Sights and Activities for the Perfect Break.
London is a brilliant city to visit for tourists. While we love Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, and Madame Tussauds as much as the next person, sometimes it can just be a little too touristy. When the novelty of looking around the M&Ms shop has worn off, there is a whole different side of London just waiting to be explored. However, these hidden gems are…well…hidden. In this article, we’ll be staying clear of the West End, as we explore 10 of London’s hidden gems with a particular focus on couples.
1. Leadenhall Market
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Tucked away near Liverpool Street station is Leadenhall Market. Harry Potter fans may instantly recognise it as featuring in the film (look out for the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron). Though this was once a manor house with a lead roof (hence the name), it later became a traditional market. The facades now are filled with boutique shops, and it’s a beautiful place to explore with a traditional ‘old London’ vibe, without being tacky or touristy. After taking a look around, head to The Crosse Keys pub nearby. Not your traditional pub, this is a converted bank that has now become a bar. The majority of the original interior has been kept, making it a rather grand experience as you sip a well-earned drink.
2. The Kyoto Garden
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A lot of Londoners haven’t even heard of Kyoto Garden. Based in the grounds of Holland House, and a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace, this beautiful garden was given as a gift from the city of Tokyo to celebrate the friendship of Great Britain and Japan. It makes for a romantic stroll with your other half and immediately whisks you out of the human traffic of London.
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More than just a bar, the Aeronaut is an Acton institution. With its own stage set inside a mock big-top tent, they regularly host live circus shows, themed bottomless brunches (Disney, 90s popstars, etc.), and a host of live entertainment which guarantees to be fun and leave you a little worse for wear. Fancy dress is optional, but strongly encouraged! Performances and events vary each week, so be sure to check their website ahead of your visit.
4. Little Venice
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Little Venice offers a slice of Italy right here in Clerkenwell, London. The area got its name in part due to the large Italian immigrant population in the 1800s and also due to its collection of Venice-like waterways. Around this collection of canals, you can take a romantic stroll along the towpaths, or else take a ride on one of the many narrowboats that travel from Little Venice to Regents Canal. When that’s over, take a trip to one of the many waterfront cafes or pubs to enjoy a relaxing afternoon in the sun.
5. Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
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Many people know about Regent’s Park. However, what most people don’t know is that it has its very own outdoor, purpose-built theatre. During the summer months, the venue hosts a range of events, from an outdoor cinema featuring classic films to live plays (often Shakespeare modernisations and re-interpretations) and musicals. It’s a great way to enjoy one of London’s greatest parks and take in some entertainment along the way. You can check out the latest showtimes on their website.
6. Grant Museum of Zoology
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Some relationships are weird, not because they are mismatched, but because the people in them have let’s say…unusual interests. If you fall into this camp, then there’s a good chance you will love this museum. Just a short walk from Warren Street station, this natural history museum is host to several weird and wonderful creatures included the now-extinct dodo, and an infamous jar of moles (don’t ask, just take a look). Far from macabre, this museum gives an educational insight into the natural world, the highlight of which is its ‘Micrarium’ which allows visitors to see a range of microscopic creatures via the magic of amplification and a backlight. Sounds odd, but actually amazing!
7. God’s Own Junkyard
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This fluorescent heaven is a homage to Americana, more specifically the neon signs, film props, and a range of oddities all contained in an unassuming warehouse. A little out of central London, this place has to be seen to be believed. A lot of the signs are available to purchase if you wanted to light up your living room with a new bit of décor.
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Greenwich is a beautiful part of London, hidden away from the madness of central London. On the weekends, the indoor market sells a range of handmade goods and also hosts a delicious international food market (for flavour, take a visit to the Ethiopian stall). When you are done eating, and shopping you can get some culture by visiting the fasted ship in the ocean (for its time) The Cutty Sark, or head up the hill at Greenwich Park to reach the Royal Observatory. Even if you don’t go into the observatory, the trek up the hill is worth it for the fantastic views over London.
9. Bloomsbury Lanes
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If retro is your thing, then you are in for a treat. Bloomsbury Lanes captures a slice of 1950s Americana with its bowling alley/live music venue/bar/karaoke set up. The food is similarly themed in a 1950s diner style, so you can enjoy all American classics after bowling your way to working up a hunger. By night, the venue keeps going with the bowling, though will often have a live band on the weekends playing (you’ve guessed it) swing, jazz, and anything in between to get you onto the dancefloor. If you’d rather create your own music, then the various karaoke booths are available for the pair of you to warble the night away.
10. Brick Lane
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Brick Lane is most famous for its range of authentic Indian restaurants. While it is still worth visiting in the evening if you fancy a curry (Aladin’s is the best), the street also hosts several other attractions perfect for couples. On the weekends, the area hosts the Brick Lane Market selling unique clothing, furniture, and a range of kitsch items. It’s a great way to spend a Sunday morning. When you’re finished shopping, the area also hosts a vibrant street art and graffiti scene for you to explore. We’re not talking about some badly scrawled love-heart with an arrow through it, this is professional work. You can find a map right here to help you locate it all.
We hope we have inspired you to explore some of the lesser-known parts of London. The city offers plenty of opportunities outside of the square mile in the centre, and many of these hidden gem attractions (in our humble opinion) are worthy competition to the usual tourist hotspots.
As with all activities, do make sure you give enough time for any potential travel delays. Passengers should be back at Hammersmith Bus Station (Stop D) at least 15 minutes prior to the pre-booked departure time. Unfortunately, the coach is not able to wait if you are running late.
All information was correct at the time of writing. However, please always check venues prior to travel in case of any changes due to COVID-19 or otherwise.