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Five Hidden Gems You Must Visit When Staying in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

Updated on April 13, 2016

Make no mistake about it, The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea boasts more than its fair share of attractions, venues and events that are essential stops on the itinary of any London visitor.

Kensington Palace, the Chelsea Flower Show, the Natural History Museum, all well-known, well-loved, and very well-visited attractions that are staples of the borough's tourism industry, proving just as popular as the likes of Big Ben and Buckingham Palace.

Yet it's fair to say these iconic attractions aren't the only things Kensington and Chelsea has to offer. Tucked away in secluded spots, the area offers a number of lesser-known landmarks that offer visitors to the area something a true break from the norm.

From secluded parks to secretive cocktail bars, here's our five favourite hidden gems you must check out when you visit the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

Kyoto Japanese Gardens, Holland Park, Kensington

Holland Park may not be much of a hidden gem in itself, but this little tranquil haven of serenity certainly is. As beautiful as it is peaceful, you could easily spend a whole afternoon adoring the craftsmanship on the Kyoto Garden's numerous statues, taking a stroll through gentle, winding paths and even taking in the park's very own orangery.

Leighton House, Holland Park Road, Kensington

Turn off from the always-busy high street onto Holland Park Road, and you'll find what, on the outside, looks like just another unassuming, unremarkable little venue which at first glance seems hardly worth noticing.

Step inside however, and the Leighton House Museum's breathtaking interiors tell a whole different story. The Arab Hall, with its intricately designed mosaics and majestic golden dome are just two of the many highlights, and that's before we mention the exhibitions and displays featuring dramatic, Victorian era paintings from artists including the museum's namesake, Frederic, Lord Leighton.

Evans and Peel Detective Agency, Earls Court

Based just down the road in Earls Court, Evans and Peel isn't a detective agency at all, but rather a Speakeasy-style cocktail bar that combines delicious drinks with dark, 1920s themed atmosphere, costumed staff, and even a little spy role-play, with guests being asked about their 'case' on arrival. It's well worth pre-booking in advance to really make the most out of a night a this delightful, well-hidden bar.

Chelsea Physic Garden

The vast and numerous parks and gardens in and around Kensington and Chelsea are often noted in tourism guides as one of the borough's true marvels, yet very few of those guides seem to forget to mention the Chelsea Physic Garden, an enchanting collection of rare flora and fauna with over 5,000 samples on display.

Established way back in the 1600s, the Physic Garden is the oldest botanical garden in London, and one of the oldest, still active gardens of its type anywhere in the world, making it a must-visit hidden gem for fans of both horticulture and history alike.

Kensington Roof Gardens, Kensington High Street

Walking along the bustling Kensington High Street, you'd never know that this little haven of excellent food, incredible drinks, and beautiful surroundings, complete with its own live flamingos wandering around the place.

Described as "a unique space unlike any other in London," The Kensington Roof Gardens are the very epitome of a hidden gem, and one that should feature alongside the likes of Kensington Palace on the itinerary of any London visitor.


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