London Hotels Insight provides up-to-date, independent advice for your perfect stay in London. We research guest feedback, meet management and identify hotels at the top of their game.
London’s top 5 hidden gems.
After you’ve seen Buckingham Palace, walked across London Bridge and ridden the London Eye, it’s time to head off the beaten path and see what else the city has to offer. We’ve compiled a list of Top 5 Hidden Gems so you can explore the best places that locals try to keep on the hush.
Pubs are abundant, but how about drinking in a 19th century jail cell? Aptly named ‘The Bar’ at the Courthouse Doubletree Hotel offers just that, with three former holding cells converted into VIP rooms. Cocktails include old standards and a ‘legal-themed’ menu unique to the venue, and each cell holds up to eight people and can be booked in advance. Plus, you get to have a drink in the same place where both Oscar Wilde and Keith Richards were held pending trial.
Would you imagine that there are 1.5 acres of lush, mature gardens 100 feet above Kensington High Street? The Roof Gardens, part of Virgin Hotel Group’s portfolio, boasts three themed gardens – Spanish, Tudor and English Woodland. Despite being on top of a building, more than 70 mature trees grow there in just 1.5 metres of soil. If you want to check them out, have a meal at Babylon restaurant on the 7th floor and you’ll be able to head up to the gardens (provided there aren’t any private functions on).
Fancy a round of golf without leaving the city? Believe it or not, you’ve got three options at Urban Golf, which has locations in Soho, Kensington High Street and Smithfield. These obviously aren’t full-sized golf greens, but neither are they mini golf venues – rather, they combine real clubs and balls with state-of-the-art screens and tracking technology. You hit the ball at the screen and two sensors track the ball and project where it would have landed on one of 22 of the world’s most famous golf courses.
If it’s your thinking muscle you’d rather excercise, head along for a free public lecture at Gresham College. The college doesn’t have any students or syllabus or coursework, but a 400 year-old tradition of free public lectures, long before there was a University of London. The founder, Sir Thomas Gresham, wanted the college to help educate the public on topics such as divinity, astronomy, music, physics, law, geometry and rhetoric.
Village Underground is a great one-stop place to get your culture-fix. An arts and nightlife venue, it is home to a dynamic creative community of artists, writers, designers, filmmakers, VJs and musicians. The main centre is housed in an old warehouse near Shoreditch, and hosts exhibitions, concerts, theatre, live art and club nights. There are also four converted train carriages which serve as studio’s for the collective’s community.