5 Historic Sites in London Overlooked by Tourists

It’s been almost one year since I moved to London and I’m constantly discovering new things. It’s no wonder that there is such a wide variety of activities and sites for visitors to consider. With so many places still to discover, a guest has kindly shared these 5 cool historic sites which are often overlooked.

The below article was written by a guest, and does not represent my personal experiences.

London is one of the most amazing cities in the world with a huge range of activities for tourists. It attracted 19.8 million visitors in 2017 alone – and for good reason. You can take your pick from world-class museums, West End shows and Michelin starred restaurants. It’s also one of the oldest cities in the world with something historical around every corner. We’ve compiled some of the coolest historic sites around London that you didn’t know about and absolutely have to visit! For your next visit, make sure you plan to hit these spots.

St. Dunstan in the East

This church was originally built in the 11th-12th century. Despite being partially destroyed in World War II, it’s as striking as ever. It is a tranquil green oasis near the Tower of London, where nature has been allowed to blend with the ancient architecture. It’s the perfect spot to step away from the madness of the city. 

St. Dunstan in the East
St. Dunstan in the East – Photo by Eduard Militaru

Eltham Palace

Eltham Palace in Greenwich was once the childhood home of Henry VIII. Prior to this it was a medieval palace! It has since been transformed into an Art Deco mansion by a set of eccentric millionaires and you are welcome to explore the home they have created. Don’t forget to venture outside into the woodlands where you can experience London’s oldest working moat bridge. 

Chelsea Physic Garden

This walled garden alongside the Thames is the second oldest apothecary garden in England. It dates from 1673 and has a wide range of both medicinal and culinary herbs along with rare plants and plenty of glasshouses to explore. Take either a self-guided or guided tour and immerse yourself in this tranquil spot. 

Chelsea Physic Garden – Photo by Charlotte Coneybeer

The Royal Exchange

This is a hidden spot that blends modern London with the historical perfectly. Originally built as the first place in London for trading stocks in 1566, it has been destroyed by fire twice and very nearly collapsed! It is one of the places where the reign of a new monarch is traditionally announced. Hidden away near St. Paul’s station, this site now houses restaurants and shops but is well worth a visit to appreciate the stunning architecture. Enjoy a glass of wine while admiring the fantastic renovation work.

Leadenhall Market

This is definitely not an area you know about unless you work in the City. Routinely packed at lunchtime and from 5pm onwards by City workers, Leadenhall Market has an illustrious past. A market has occupied the site since the 14th century, making it one of London’s oldest. Today you’ll find a mix of shops, pubs and restaurants and stunning architecture. The ornate roof features glass windows and curved beams that are beautifully coloured. If you want the full experience, grab yourself a table during the week and enjoy a pint once everyone finishes work. Alternatively, if you visit on the weekend, you’ll have the place to yourself! 

Leadenhall Market – Photo by Simon Rae


    • I would say so! They’re actually all pretty easy to access – some are close to the more “typical” tourist sites anyway. I’ve only actually been to Leadhenhall Market myself though – it’s beautiful!

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