Regular guests at the Amsterdam Hotel near Chelsea already know that within just a short distance of our prime Earls Court location, there’s a whole host of attractions, famous landmarks, and well-loved sights to be enjoy.
Yet after exploring all of those time and time again, we find many of our guests coming to us for recommendations for something different; those hidden gems, off-the-beaten-path attractions and opportunities to see a whole new side to London life.
Luckily for us, we know just what to recommend. Luckily for them -and for you- you never have to go far to see the secret side of London that most tourists never get to experience.
Below, we offer our guide to five things you never knew you could do in London, but which you absolutely must experience for yourself on your next visit.
Eat Delicious Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream
Having just wrapped up our recent guide to Easter, our team were all in the mood for a sweet treat or two, which is why we couldn’t resist starting today’s blog by catching to the tube from Earls Court Station to one of our favourite hidden haunts.
Located in the heart of Camden, Chin Chin Labs serves up truly delightful ice creams with a chemical twist; each treat is frozen with liquid nitrogen, and you can even watch the whole progress as they concoct your frozen flavour of choice from scratch.
It’s fascinating, entertaining, and above all else, delicious.
See Some of the Biggest Names in Music Before They Become Big
Located just around the corner from the Amsterdam Hotel in Kensington & Chelsea, The Troubadour is an iconic music venue and cafe that has been one of the area’s best-loved institutions for decades.
It’s here where, ever since the 1950s, music fans have enjoyed a unique chance to enjoy concerts from artists who would go on to redefine popular music.
From Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, and Paul Simon in the 1960s, Joni Mitchell, Jimmy Page, and Elvis Costello in the 1970s, to modern acts like The Strokes and Ed Sheeran, The Troubadour has hosted a veritable who’s who of modern music over the years, often before those performers became household names.
Looking to discover the next big things before anyone else? Venture from your London hotel to Earls Court’s Old Brompton Road, and catch a live show at this legendary venue.
Step Inside Dr. Johnson’s House
A true hidden gem in every sense of the word, you’d likely walk straight past Dr. Johnson’s House without ever knowing it was there.
To walk straight by however, would be to miss out on the unique chance to explore one of London’s best-kept secrets.
Most famous for writing the first Dictionary of the English Language among countless other books, essays, and journal pieces, Dr. Samuel Johnson is remembered as one of the most important names in 18th century literature, and is known as the second most-quoted Englishman behind only Shakespeare himself.
One of those quotes, first appearing in Boswell’s Life of Johnson, seems to sum up this attraction rather well:
“Sir, if you wish to have a just notion of the magnitude of this city, you must not be satisfied with seeing its great streets and squares, but must survey the innumerable little lanes and courts. It is not in the showy evolutions of buildings, but in the multiplicity of human habitations which are crowded together, that the wonderful immensity of London consists.”
How true that is of Dr. Johnson’s house, nestled in Gough Square and accessed via little side alley off Fleet Street that you’d barely notice if you weren’t looking for it.
Step inside, and you’ll find a wonderfully charming venue with a museum exhibit dedicated to Johnson, a full research library and a unique collection of original artefacts from the 18th century.
Altogether, whether you’re a lover of language or a history buff, this is one hidden gem that’s not to be missed.
Explore Kensington & Chelsea’s Beautiful Hidden Gardens
When we said that you don’t have to go far from to explore a whole new side to London, we really do mean it. Just a short walk from your hotel near Chelsea you’ll find not one, but two secret gardens, both providing a perfect opportunity to explore some idyllic green spaces in the heart of bustling London.
First up is the Chelsea Physic Garden, renowned as the oldest botanical garden anywhere in London. Not just a pretty space, this wholly unique and largely hidden garden contains at least 5,000 types of plants, the UK’s largest outdoor olive tree, and the ever-popular butterfly walk.
Further down, the Kensington Roof Gardens are an another of the area’s best kept secrets. An oasis of tranquility high above Kensington High Street, you’ll three themed gardens, a gourmet restaurant serving an impeccable menu, and live, pink flamingos roaming the grounds.
Now that the weather is getting warmer, both venues serve as a welcome opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of London and enjoy some much needed serenity in the city.
See the Original Dinosaur Models from The Great Exhibition
Finally, we come to another attraction that is an absolute must for history buffs.
Anyone who knows much about the capital as it was in the Victorian period will know of The Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace in 1851, an iconic world fair which served as the first exhibition of industry, culture, and technology of its type in the world.
When the venue closed, the Crystal Palace which housed the exhibition was moved to what is now Crystal Palace Park. At the same time, a series of dinosaur sculptures were commissioned according to the best scientific knowledge of the age.
These models were the first models of dinosaurs anywhere, and were even built six years before Charles Darwin’s game-changing On the Origin of the Species.
Today, the models -each one lovingly restored- enjoy Grade 1 listed building statues, putting them up there with Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, and Monument. A visit here is well worth a visit not only for history fans, but also for those staying at our London hotel as part of a family break in the capital.
See a different side to London on your visit with the Amsterdam Hotel in Kensington & Chelsea. Book your stay online today, or call our dedicated team now on 020 7370 5084.
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