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7 Hidden Gems To Avoid The Crowds In London: From A Local!  

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They say when you’re tired of London, you’re tired of life.  

Which is why, after living in London for a decade, I still keep going back for more.  

London has been ranked the most popular European city for American travelers this summer.  

Neals Yard London

And as summer is already the busiest time for tourists to visit the city, that means you can expect it to be busy.  

But don’t worry, I've got your back!  

Don’t go to Buckingham Palace or The Tower of London. If you want to avoid the crowds then here are my 7 favorite hidden gems in London:  

Little Venice 

One of my favorite London spots to hang out and relax is Little Venice because it’s unlike anywhere else in the city and it’s still relatively free from tourists too.  

As the name suggests, Little Venice is on the water at the spot where the Grand Union and Regent's canals meet. But instead of gondola on the water you’ll see canal boats.  

Little Venice, London

Many of the canal boats are private homes but you can take a canal boat ride here. There are also boats that have been converted into restaurants and cafes.  

You'll find great traditional pubs along the canal, perfect for relaxing in a beer garden when the sun is shining. The Bridge House is a firm favorite.  

Your nearest tube station will be Warwick Avenue.  

Added Bonus: Abbey Road Studios 

I used to live close by to Little Venice in Maida Vale, and if you’re a fan of The Beatles you could take a fun detour by going to Maida Vale station and heading to the Abbey Road Studios.  

This is where the band recorded their Abbey Road album.  

The Abbey Road shop selling various music related gifts, including Beatles related memorabilia.

The famous zebra crossing from the album cover is still right there, so it’s a great opportunity to recreate it.  And the Abbey Road Studios themselves are a great spot for music lovers.

From here Little Venice is a picturesque 15-minute walk away through a very pretty residential area.  

Finchley Lido 

On hot summer days the heat in London can be oppressive, especially as much of the city is a concrete jungle and the concrete seems to just absorb the heat!  

To add to the heat of your trip it’s also worth noting that there is no air conditioning on most of the London underground because the system is so old (the only exceptions to this are the Metropolitan, Circle, Hammersmith & City, and District lines).  

Temperatures on the other tube trains can hit 36 degrees C (96.8F) or more in the summer. 

Not comfortable when you’re crammed into someone’s sweaty armpit like a sardine!  

What I'm saying is that after a couple of days sightseeing in London’s summer heat you’re going to want to cool down.  

The most famous places to cool off in London in the summer are the Serpentine Lido or London Fields Lido. A lido is a large outdoor pool that is open to the public and both of these spots can get very crowded in the summer.  

Brockwell Lido, South East London

But if you want to avoid the crowds then hop on the Northern Line and head to Finchley Central Station. Here you’ll find Finchley Lido.  

If you'd rather not venture into North London then Brockwell lido is very similar, and has a beautiful art deco facade. Brixton is the nearest tube station.

These are much smaller than the Serpentine or London Fields lidos but are also free from tourists and are a great place to relax and cool down until you’re ready to get back to sightseeing.  

Maltby Street Market 

When it comes to ‘cool’ places for cheap eats most people head to Camden Town Market or Borough Market.  

Camden is cool and has a fun vibe, especially if you visit on a weekday because the weekend crowds can definitely be overwhelming.  

Maltby Street Market in Bermondsey (located in railway arches, SE1, Rope Walk)

But I avoid Borough Market like the plague because I refuse to queue for half an hour with hundreds of tourists to buy an overpriced punnet of strawberries!  

I visit Maltby Street Market instead.  

This is a low-key market that still has exceptional street food and local produce. World food, incredible locally ground coffee, and the best gelato I've ever tasted can all be found here. But not a tourist in sight!

To find the market, your nearest tube stop is Bermondsey on the Jubilee Line.  

The Young V&A 

London’s museums are iconic. And the famous museum district is home to the Natural History Museum, Science Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum all side by side.  

It’s a mecca for tourists and well worth visiting.  

But if you’re looking something less crowded and lesser known then I recommend the Young V&A (Formerly the London Museum of Childhood).  

Young V and A in Bethnal Green, London

Not only is it my children’s favorite London museum it has so much to offer for adults too. It makes you feel like a kid again being surrounded by the toys and inventions of your own childhood. It’s a fun museum that feels like the best toyshop you ever saw.  

It's a bright and airy space that’s just had a £13 million revamp, but as an added bonus tickets are completely free.  

The museum is a 2-minute walk from Bethnal Green tube station.  

Kyoto Garden In Holland Park  

Hyde Park is London’s most famous park, but the city is packed full of incredible green spaces.  

One of my favorite of the London parks is Kyoto Garden which is a lovely Japanese garden built in 1992 for the Japan Festival in London right in the center of the more well-known Holland Park.  

Waterfall at Kyoto garden in Holland park in London

This is an incredible, tranquil space, and a wonderful place to relax and unwind away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It features a Koi pond, an abundance of native Japanese plants and trees, and you may even see a roaming peacock.  

As an added bonus, it’s completely free to enter.  

The nearest tube station is Holland Park on the Central Line.  

Brick Lane 

Brick Lane is on the cusp of not being a hidden gem because the secret of its fabulousness is out, but I had to include it in my list because it’s my favorite place to be in London on a Saturday afternoon.  

You’ll find Brick Lane in Shoreditch and it is the very best place to find vintage and retro clothing, books, accessories, and homeware in London. No two trips are the same, and you never know what you’ll find.

Brick Lane vintage market, Shoreditch, London

But what makes Brick Lane really stand out is the amazing street art. Shoreditch is full of it! In fact on the railway bridge near Shoreditch High Street you’ll find one of Banksy’s earliest works.  

So if you’re a fan of cool, modern, graffiti art or if you just enjoy unusual shopping experiences then there’s nowhere better to be.  

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Tony Bowyer

Monday 3rd of June 2024

Finchley lido is NOT in Finchley Central. Go to East Finchley and get a 263 bus towards barnet hospital in


Sunday 2nd of June 2024

I'm sorry, Brick Lane as somewhere to avoid tourists? A hidden gem? Have you ever been there? It's rammed with tourists and world famous.

Peter Gresswell

Sunday 2nd of June 2024

I wouldn't advise going to Brockwell Lido by Tube as Brixton Underground station is a hefty walk away (or a bus ride).

Much better to go to Victoria Mainline railway station or Blackfriars Mainline railway station and get a local train. Both are about 20 minutes away, and the nearest station to Brockwell Lido is Herne Hill, which is right opposite the lido.

You can also eat in the lido cafe, but Herne Hill is a great place to go for little shops, pubs and restaurants, and especially its Sunday craft market and farmers market.