London is home to famous parks, cathedrals and monuments. But once you’ve seen the bucket list toppers, check out the city’s secret spots that many locals don’t even know.

Here are six hidden gems you probably didn’t know existed…

Secrets spots of London

Unusual Places In London: Postman’s Park, City of London

Hidden in the City of London is Postman’s Park, a patch of green surrounded by a sea of skyscrapers and London’s oldest relics.

The old lunchtime hangout of workers from the nearby former General Post Office, Postman’s Park has now been adopted by the bankers, lawyers and tourists looking for London’s quirky, off-the-map- hidden gems.

No ordinary playground, Postman’s Park is home an open-air gallery of memorials, dedicated to the capital’s unsung heroes. Called The Watts Memorial, it was built by Victorian painter and philanthropist, GF Watts, who wanted to commemorate the ordinary men and women who had lost their lives in carrying out good deeds. Examples of memorials include that of Thomas Griffin, a labourer, who was fatally scolded at an explosion in a sugar refinery after he returned to the building in search for his mate. 

Another is dedicated to a Mary Rogers, who worked as a stewardess on a London passenger ferry, and who lost her life on the sinking ship after she voluntarily gave up her life belt for someone else.

St Paul’s is the closest underground station to Postman’s Park, which is tucked behind the Museum of London.

Postmans Park London

Unusual Places In London: The Embassy of the Republic of Texas, Westminster

Did you know that the Republic of Texas has its very own embassy in London? It was located above the Berry Brothers & Rudd wine merchants in Westminster.

Back before Texas joined the union, the Lone Star State behaved as it’s very own sovereign country. It deployed a diplomatic mission for the then-President-of-Texas and Secretary of State to visit England and forge relations with the powers-that-be to secure its borders with the US and Mexico.

When Texas joined the union in 1845, the embassy was shut down. However, if you visit Pickering Place today – the alley next to the merchants – you’ll spot a plaque that reads Texas Legation in this building was the legation for the ministers from the Republic of Texas to the Court of St. James 1842 — 1845.”

Green Park is the closest underground station, and you’ll find the plaque behind St James’s Palace.

The Embassy of the Republic of Texas

Unusual Places In London: The Crossbones Graveyard, Southwark

You’ll find Karl Marx in Highgate Cemetery, Amy Winehouse at Edgewarebury and notoriety at The Cross Bones Graveyard.

Dubbed the single women’s cemetery’, it was, quite literally, the post-medieval dumping ground of London’s 14th Century prostitutes, shunned from traditional Christian church burials.

Visitors can walk around the grisly graveyard, visit the unofficial memorial garden and look at the names along the red fence belonging to those who were laid to rest here. 

Borough is the closest station as the graveyard is located at the crossing between Union St and Redcross Way.

The Crossbones Graveyard Southwark

Unusual Places In London: London’s Roman Amphitheatre, City of London

The City of London – home to the Gherkin, the Walkie-Talkie, The Shard…and London’s Roman Amphitheatre.

The crypt under Guildhall is home to London’s one-and-only Roman Amphitheatre, where history buffs can step into the oldest part of London, just meters above the city’s newest skyscrapers. 

Once a venue for animal fights, public killings and of course, gladiator combat games, it’s now a playground for budding archaeologists who can – for free – join trained professionals in their handling of goods over 2,000 years old.

The Roman Amphitheatre is located between Moorgate, St Paul’s and Bank stations, next to the Bank of England Museum.

Guildhall Roman Amphitheatre London

Unusual Places In London: The Ruins of St. Dunstan-in-the- East, City of London

The 900-year-old St. Dunstan-in-the-East is one of London’s most charming spots. Bearing a war-wound from the Blitz, all that remains of St. Dunstan-in-the-East is the skeleton of a former church.

While it might not sound exciting that the steeple once designed by Sir Christopher Wren – architect to the Palace of Westminster and St. Paul’s Cathedral – has now been destroyed, the ruins now beautifully frame a quaint secret garden within the old interiors, right in the heart of the capital’s financial sector.

Monument is the nearest underground station as the church is located right next to St-Mary-At-Hill off Lower Thames St.

St Dunstan in the East

Unusual Places In London: Gods Own Junkyard, Walthamstow

An unassuming warehouse at first, this is a genuine cave of wonders if you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind souvenir from The Old Smoke!

Located in the suburbs of Walthamstow, magpies will find God’s Own Junkyard’ a neon maze they’ll want to get lost in. 

From signs to props and even figurines, this shop-cum-art-gallery-cum-kaleidoscope is perfect to explore on a rainy afternoon or a slow Sunday – just perhaps not if you’re recovering from a hangover! 

Wood Street is the closest overground station to the Ravenswood Industrial Estate where you’ll find this gallery.

Gods Own Junkyard

Photo courtesy: Duncan Holmes

If you’re interested in even more attractions off the beaten track, check out our other travel guides!

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