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London's Secret Places


London is the world’s leading tourist destination with a wealth of world-class attractions – more than any other city in the world – that draw millions of visitors a year; amazing museums and galleries, beautiful parks and gardens, stunning palaces and grand houses, and much, much more. These are covered in numerous excellent tourist guides and online, and need no introduction here. What aren’t so well known are London’s numerous smaller attractions, most of which are neglected by the throngs who descend upon the tourist-clogged major sights. What London Hidden Secrets (volume 3) – and the other two volumes in this mini-series – does is seek out the city’s lesser-known, but no less worthy, ‘hidden’ attractions.

            When we set out to research and write London’s Hidden Secrets, we had no idea just how many treasures we would find – and the more research we did, the more ‘secrets’ we discovered – until a second and (this) third volume became inevitable. We have both lived and worked throughout the city and, like most long-term London residents, we thought we knew the city pretty well. However, we were surprised to find just how many little-known delights London has to offer – not only had we previously not visited many of the places featured in this book, we hadn’t even heard of many of them!

            Inside you'll discover a wealth of fascinating small museums and galleries; historic churches and other ancient buildings; captivating parks and gardens and historic 'lost' cemeteries; atmospheric pubs; cutting-edge art and design, and much more. A total of almost 140 destinations in all corners of the city and its suburbs. Of course, not all are secrets, but many are hidden and largely unknown except to a small band of locals and insiders.

            London’s Hidden Secrets isn’t intended as a walking guide, although many of the places covered are close to one another – particularly in the hubs of Westminster and the City in central London – where you can easily stroll between them. Almost all are, however, close to public transport links and relatively easy to get to. What’s more, the vast majority are free – so there’s no excuse for not getting out and exploring.

            With a copy of London’s Hidden Secrets to hand to inspire you, you need never be bored of London (or life). Researching and writing this third volume has been a pleasure and a labour of love – we hope you enjoy discovering the city’s hidden secrets as much as we did.


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This is an excellent guide to a collection of almost 140 lesser known places to visit in all areas of London. The book is divided into 8 different sections to represent the different areas of London. Handy maps at the start of each section show the attractions in that area in relation to tube stations. Each of the attractions is then given a double page spread, with photographs and key 'At a glance' information on one side, and fuller information on the other side outlining the history of the place and what to expect when you visit.

The book is laid out in a logical and clear way, so it's easy to browse and find the information needed. One small extra thing I would have liked is within the 'At a glance' boxes, it would be useful to have an 'Attraction type' heading which categorised them by specifying 'Museum', or 'House and gardens' or whatever because they aren't all immediately obvious from the name of the place, but that really is just a minor point, because in fairness, most of them are fairly obvious from the name, or if not, then from the first few lines of the text. The other slight point to mention is on the front cover, it says 'Discover more of the City's Hidden Secrets', and I found myself wondering 'More than what?' because there was nothing on the front to say that this was a follow-up to another book or anything like that, but again, a very minor point. Also, they could have perhaps gone for a more contemporary design on the front cover so that it looks less like a traditional guide, but that's just personal taste.

Not only is this a useful guide, but it's also an interesting read. History isn't really my thing, and yet I found myself drawn in and enjoying reading the history of each place because it's written in a light and accessible way, with just the right amount of information. I originate from London and have visited a few of the places mentioned, and the guide definitely gives a true reflection of the ones I know.

I opened the book thinking "I hope I find some interesting places here to visit next time I happen to be in London," and pretty soon I was thinking, "I want to go to London for the sole purpose of visiting some of these places."

I wouldn't give 5 stars lightly, but this book delivers exactly what it says it will, and in fact exceeded my expectations for it, so it had to be the 5 stars!
- Vanessa-Jane Chapman (Amazon)

This book strikes a note for sanity against the growing trend for guides that claim to select the best, or top 10, attractions in London. Who says they are the best, or top 10? Perhaps those guides base their selections on the length of the queues you would surely find yourself in at the Tower of London etc. London - Dave, Amazon

RRP: £10.95 Survival Books
Author: Graeme Chesters & David Hampshire
ISBN-10: 1-907339-92-2
ISBN-13: 978-1-907339-92-9
Edition: 1st
Published: 1st May 2013
Number of Pages: 320 Pages
Dimensions: 110mm W x 190mm H
Book Type: Paperback