Most visitors to London come to see the famous sites: Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey to name but a few. They also come to enjoy the theatre, the ballet, and all the wonderful things that the capital city has to offer, but as with all big cities there are also many hidden treasures to discover. So many unusual little places to uncover and here’s just a few you might like to explore.
London: photo by @Doug88888 via Flickr Creative Commons
London’s Smallest House
At just over three feet wide at its widest point, the origins of the tiny house at 10 Hyde Park Place, Marble Arch are somewhat of a mystery. Part of Tyburn Convent, this unusual building is thought to have been constructed to block a public right of way, or even as a watch tower to keep an eye on the old graveyard of St. George opposite, which was a prime target for eighteenth century bodysnatchers. With just an alleyway behind its impressive front door, and a tiny bathroom on the first floor, it’s not surprising that it has only ever had one tenant, Lewis Grant Wallace.
The House they left behind
The Limehouse: photo by londonmatt via Flickr Creative Commons
Built in 1857, the house at 27 Ropemaker’s Fields, Narrow Street, Limehouse has certainly seen some action. The only house left standing in the entire street during the Blitz; it’s now home to a restaurant called ‘The House’. Previously known as the Black Horse, this building was once covered in hops which were used in the Limehouse Brewery in nearby Fore Street. So pay a visit, and see if a little of its luck rubs off on you.
The King’s Cross Lighthouse
The Kings cross London lighthouse: photo by niznoz via Flickr Creative Commons
A lighthouse in the middle of a land locked city? It sounds very unusual, but take a journey to King’s cross and just next to the railway station on Gray’s Inn Road you’ll find a building with a lighthouse perched on top. Explanations for its existence range from the tower containing a fun helter skelter, to being a symbol to indicate that the house sold oysters. There’s all sorts of rumours attached to this unusual building, from secret underground rooms, to mysterious staircases and passages to old tube stations.
Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley
Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley: photo by El Negro Vikingo via Flickr Creative Commons
If you’re a Harry Potter aficionado, then a visit to Cecil Court is a must. Just off St. Martin’s Lane, this tucked away alley was used as the atmospheric location for Diagon Alley in the Potter films. About half way along the alley there’s a shop which specialises in banknotes, the most interesting of which are a series of five notes depicting Harry and his friends.
London’s Smallest Pub
London’s Smallest Pub: photo by Ewan-M via Flickr Creative Commons
And finally, all tours should end in a pub, and at 43 Linhope Street, you’ll find a typical London back street boozer which goes by the name of the Feathers. It’s got all the things you’d expect from a full sized pub, but it’s literally the size of an average living room. A real home from home!
This article was written by Sue Wright. Sue is an avid traveller and writer and has spent many years working with travel companies including Travel and Leisure Group. She has spent the last eight years living and working in Cyprus.