Hidden Secret Gems That You Can Discover in London
October 2, 2018
Studying in London can be an amazing experience for international students, and with so many wonderful places to visit and things to see, it’s no wonder the UK’s capital was voted the best student city in the world.
While there’s the more obvious iconic places and must-see sites, the city also has an absolute abundance of quirky little spots and tucked away treasures ready to be explored. With this in mind, we’re looking at some of the hidden secret Gems that you can discover in London…
Some of these hidden gems are located right in the city centre of London, and one such example is St Dunstan-in-the-East. The church itself was originally built in around 1100, and sustained heavy damage in the Great Fire of London and the Blitz. Thankfully the church tower and steeple designed by Christopher Wren survived intact.
These days the site has been transformed into a beautiful garden, full of Gothic architecture. It’s a spectacular spot for a picnic and one of London’s best-kept secrets, it’s also an atmospheric backdrop for some picture taking and filming.
Platform 9¾ at King’s Cross
Of course we admit that London’s Kings Cross station is by no means a hidden gem, as it’s one of the busiest places in the city. However, the designers of the newly revamped station decided to tuck away a little treat for Harry Potter fans inside it. If you’re a fan of the wizarding world, you’re no doubt aware of the fictional Platform 9¾.
Well, if you happen to be near platforms 9 an 10 in the station, you’ll actually be able to visit the real version. Sadly, you won’t actually be able to run through the wall, but you and all the other muggles can grab a quick photo and visit the souvenir shop for some wizard supplies.
The Smallest Police Station in the UK
If you happen to find yourself in Trafalgar Square while you’re studying in London, you might come across a secret surprise at the south-east corner. This often overlooked and peculiar world record holder, is actually the smallest police station in the UK.
Originally built in 1926, the tiny station’s main purpose was to accommodate a single police officer, who was stationed there to monitor troublesome demonstrations and protests going on in Trafalgar Square. It contained a direct phone line back to Scotland Yard in case any reinforcements were needed. Today it’s no longer used by the police, but it is still a curious sight to see.
The Seven Noses
Also known as the Seven Noses of Soho, these little artistic eccentricities can be found installed on various buildings in London. The noses themselves are reproductions of the artist’s nose who is responsible for their creation, Rick Buckley. Created in 1997, they still protrude from walls in unexpected places, and although 35 were originally attached to buildings in London, only around 10 of them are still intact.
The artist wanted to draw attention to the controversial introduction of CCTV cameras around the city, by placing the noses, under the noses of the cameras. Other urban myths quickly spread as to the reason the noses started appearing as the true reason behind their installation was never publicised. They do make for an interesting treasure hunt around the city if you’re up for finding them all.
There’s also hidden ears, which were created by artist Tim Fishlock, dotted around London too. You can hunt them down in Covent Garden and on Floral Street.
Sir John Soane’s Museum
A whole museum may not be quite so hidden, but considering London is home to many famous museums such as the Natural History Museum, you’d be forgiven for missing this one. However, missing Sir John Soane’s Museum would be a mistake, as it’s considered one of the finest public museums in the city.
It’s the former residence of Sir John Soane himself, the actual architect of the Bank of England, and it contains thousands of curiosities from his many travels. An abundance of architectural drawings and antiquities await anyone who wishes to venture inside, and the whole place has been preserved pretty much as he left it.
Dennis Severs’ House
For one of the city’s wholly originally immersive experiences, international students in London can also pay a visit to Dennis Severs’ House. Without a doubt it’s one of the stranger tourist attractions, but visitors who take a trip to the house will be able to experience what life was like for a family of Huguenot silk weavers.
The house of the former artist has been kept as if it is still lived in by an 18th-century family, with beds that look as though they’ve been recently slept in and food uneaten on the table. It’s a true time capsule inside the Grade II listed Georgian terraced house, which has become one of London’s most original immersive experiences.
London is full to the brim of hidden gems waiting to be discovered, and as well as the ones listed above, there’s plenty more to find if you’re an international student thinking about studying in London.
Are you considering studying in the UK? Then contact us at IEC Abroad today. Our study abroad specialists can help you find your ideal university in the city.