Top 10 Best Kept Secrets in London

Kitten Kong on the post office tower

Kitten Kong from Wikipedia

  • There are 8000 square feet of underground wine vaults belonging to Berry Brothers & Rudd (equivalent to 3 tennis courts) at St James’ Street. You can lay your wine down here, or take part in tasting sessions or “fine dining events”. There’s even a tunnel that’s supposed to lead to St James’ Palace.
  • St Bartholomew the Great near Smithfield is one of the most beautiful churches in London. It’s featured in Four Weddings and a Funeral and Shakespeare in Love and is one of the most atmospheric churches in the city.
  • The Rookery Hotel, Clerkenwell is actually a row of restored Georgian houses. Open fires, antique furniture and four poster beds.
  • Tottenham Court Road tube station isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing, and usually quite chaotic. (Even more so at the minute as it’s being redeveloped.) However, look a bit closer and you’ll see millions of tiles in a mosaic designed by Scottish sculptor Eduardo Paolozzi. Let’s hope they don’t disappear with the refurb.
  • For over 75 years a little known miniature railway (or Mail Rail) operated beneath the streets of London, conveying letters from one side of the city to the other. At its peak in the 50’s the railway delivered 12,000,000 letters a day. It closed in 2003 as part of the Royal Mail’s larger programme of withdrawing from the railways.
  • Aldwych ghost underground station is now used for filming and for exhibitions. Patriot Games, the All Saints film Honest, the BBC production of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere and videos such as Prodigy’s FireStarter have all been filmed here. It also featured in Tombraider the game.
  • The Post Office Tower (BT Tower/London Telecom Tower) was destroyed by a gigantic kitten in a 1971 Goodies episode “Kitten Kong”.
  • You’ll see a noose hanging outside the Prospect of Whitby pub in honour of patron Judge George Jeffreys, infamous for sending people to the gallows, in this riverside pub. And Dickens used to eat in the Pepys restaurant.
  • In the space beneath St Pancras station (the new Eurostar destination) could once hold 28 million pints of beer. It was built raised above the Regent’s canal and the space between canal and station was used to generate a bit of extra income for the station.
  • The Chancery House vaults beneath Chancery Lane is a popular destination for rich overseas visitors. Here you can buy anything from £5 to £50,000. Originally used by the jewellers above to store their goods, they’re now used as a sales area themselves, protected behind an enormous steel door.

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