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Image courtesy of Matty Organ

Here are five hidden gems around London

London is a city for all seasons, providing you like your seasons at least 30% wetter than the norm, it has entertainments for people from all walks of life, be it a cafe that only sells cereal or a pop-up bar serving nothing but water.

However with such a wide array of options it is very easy to feel overwhelmed when exploring the city, so we at the Union Times have collated 5 of the capitals hidden gems for explorers to experience.


First on our list is an example of the fine British tradition of travelling the globe, collecting whatever we happen to find along the way and putting it into jars.

© Museums at the Royal College of Surgeons

© Museums at the Royal College of Surgeons

The Hunterian Museum, nestled away in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, the museum houses the extensive collection of Scottish Surgeon John Hunter.

Amidst the rows of pickling jars housing different specimens can be found one of the most fascinating yet saddening medical displays I have encountered.

The display in question is the skeleton of renowned Irish ‘giant’ Charles Byrne, who was so afraid of scientists stealing his body that he paid fishermen to bury him at sea.

© Museums at the Royal College of Surgeons

© Museums at the Royal College of Surgeons

However, not being a man to pass up such a unique specimen, Hunter paid the fisherman to instead tow the corpse behind their boat until nightfall at which point they brought him ashore and gave him to the good doctor.

Despite this slightly melancholy exhibit the museum also serves as a marvellous showcase of pioneering medical advances, including an exhibit on the first cosmetic surgeries given to soldiers wounded in war.

For those with an interest in the medical or simply the macabre, The Hunterian Museum is not to be missed.

The Hunterian Museum can be found in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, WC2A.

Our second candidate continues in our vein of scientific discovery, though instead of focusing on our internals, this venue is more interested in the great beyond.

Greenwich village is widely accepted as one of the most picturesque parts of the city, steeped in the history of the Royal Navy.

Image courtesy of Timitrius via Flickr

Image courtesy of Timitrius via Flickr

However for those whose interests lie closer to the stars than the sea, the Royal Observatory is the best destination by far.

High on a hill overlooking the National Maritime Museum and offering stunning views over the city, the Observatory offers a range of exhibits on astronomy and time-keeping through history.

The Time Ball dropping. Image courtesy of Barry Caruth via Flickr.

The Time Ball dropping. Image courtesy of Barry Caruth via Flickr.

It is also the site of the Greenwich Meridian Line, the central dividing line between the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, and the Time Ball, which was one of the first public time signals in history.

The Royal Observatory can be found in Greenwich Park, SE10.

Following a morning of British history, our list now looks to another aspect of British society, namely that of the pub.

Pubs are a long standing British tradition, much like flat ales and distrusting the French, however these is one facility that puts pubs in London into a wholly different league, the beer garden.

While there are many pubs in the city with boast them the best by far in my humble opinion is number three on our list, The Magic Garden.


The Magic Garden. Picture courtesy of Frank Rodrick

The Magic Garden. Picture courtesy of Frank Rodrick

Tucked away behind Battersea Park, The Magic Garden easily lives up to it’s name by offering not just a beer garden, but more of a beer marquee.

Protected from the elements by a canvas awning, drinkers can lounge on leather sofas replete with thick rugs to battle the British weather or listen to live music at one of the pubs many music nights.

A view from the beer garden. Picture courtesy of Matty Organ

A view from the beer garden. Picture courtesy of Matty Organ

Besides the brilliant beer garden the Magic Garden has an invitingly low-key atmosphere that makes you wonder why it isn’t busier, while being very glad it’s not.

The Magic Garden can be found at 231 Battersea Park Rd, SW11

Fourth on our list is a lovely little bar and restaurant tucked away behind Oxford Street, an almost blink and you’ll miss it affair hidden under the pavement.

Jerusalem Bar is a one stop shop for food, drinks and music, all while offering a snug beer garden nestled between the roofs of central London.

The gates of Jerusalem. Image courtesy of Ewan Munro via Flickr.

The gates of Jerusalem. Image courtesy of Ewan Munro via Flickr.

The bar itself is almost TARDIS like, going down a set of steps below the pavement, you appear in a large low lit room, scattered with big sofas and dining tables.

Aside from a laid back atmosphere the bar regularly holds events such as live music and quiz nights, and has a perfectly timed happy hour for people who want to get in before it gets crowded.

Jerusalem Bar can be found at 33-34 Rathbone Place, W1T.

The last instalment on this list is a well and truly hidden one, the undercover drinking den that is Bart’s speakeasy.

Hidden away on Sloane Crescent, the only real directions I can offer to thirsty patrons are that you must look in the least expected place to find the door to this unique little nook.

Barts 0067

This rule isn’t taken as seriously these days. Image courtesy of Bart’s

However once the adventure of finding the place is over, and you have negotiated your way past the vintage Mickey-Mouse wallpapered waiting room you will find yourself ensconced in 1920’s chic.

From the music, to the décor, to the fancy dress box overflowing with trilby’s, fedoras and feather boas, one could almost expect to see a Kray or Capone wander in, looking for their evening tipple.

Image courtesy of Bart's

The walls are covered in famous faces. Image courtesy of Bart’s

The drinks are both delightful and beautifully presented, with their tea-pot cocktails being a must for those who like to drink something a little eccentric.

For those who are put out by the lack of directions, rest assured that those who make the effort to find this marvellous little niche will be richly rewarded.

Bart’s Speakeasy can be found somewhere on Sloane Crescent, W1.

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