8 of London’s Best Kept Secrets

8 of London’s Best Kept Secrets

The truth of the matter is: The Montcalm Club Packages keep people returning to London, meaning that eventually, the sentiment “been there, done that” resounds around go-to tourism destinations. Seasoned travelers who are looking for new things to do in London need to add the following activities to their schedules. 

  • The Barbican Conservatory

    Nearest tube station: Barbican

The Barbican Conservatory

Guests of Montcalm At The Brewery can walk to the Barbican Conservatory in less than five minutes, and yet this is an often-overlooked gem in London. The Barbican Center, famous for its brutalist architecture and noticeable by its minimalist concrete exterior, is probably the last place you would expect to find an urban jungle. Yet, on selected days every week from 12pm, that is exactly what you will find on the center’s third floor. For free, you can temporarily leave the city behind and enter into this glass-roofed, luscious sanctuary which is overflowing with tropical plants, trees, birdlife and exotic fish. 

  • Bermondsey Arts Club

    Nearest tube station: Elephant & Castle or Borough

Though nothing will ever beat The Montcalm Club, a free membership programme for 5-star hotels in London, The Bermondsey Art Club comes very close. This is both speakeasy and one of London’s best kept secrets, which is definitely bolstered by the fact that it is located in what was once a public toilet. Yes, you read that correctly. Push through the apprehension and down the stairs to be rewarded with the fully transformed, art-deco themed bar. That said, the club plays tribute to its origins, and you will notice that the table tops are made from the stone that was once separating toilet cubicles… And before you ask, everything has been thoroughly washed.

  • The Top Secret Comedy Club 

    Nearest tube station: Covent Garden

The name says it all, right? On Drury Lane, you will find a basement full of laughs, AKA The Top Secret Comedy Club. There are shows every day (except three days over Christmas) and the main shows are on Sunday to Thursday. What about Fridays and Saturdays, you ask? On these days, there are two shows per day. Mondays and Wednesdays are the real gem, though, because it is RAW New Material night, where six professional comedians test out some of their new content… And it only costs £1! That means that for just a quid, you may end up watching some of the UK’s most famous comedians practicing some new jokes. 

  • Mercato Mayfair

    Nearest tube station: Marble Arch or Bond Street

Though two very convenient tube stations are equal distance from Mercato Mayfair, this is irrelevant for guests of The Montcalm London Marble Arch, because it is less than a 10 minute walk between the two. That said, wherever you are staying in London, Mercato Mayfair is not one to miss. St Mark’s on North Audley Street is not what it seems: Its interior has been transformed into a sustainable community market with two levels of food stalls and bars. There is something rather exhilarating about sipping on a glass of wine in a vaulted crypt basement turned wine cellar, as well as nibbling on some freshly made pasta where a pew once stood.

  • Hampstead Mixed Bathing Pond

    Nearest tube station: Hampstead

The Mixed Pond in Hampstead Heath is a natural bathing pond and one of London’s best open air swimming spots, though regularly overlooked due to its location in North London and because of its favor with residents. It is worth the journey, though, and swimmers are very friendly. Opening on 1 April 2022 for the public, this is an invigorating (albeit sometimes shocking) way to wake up your body and clear the cobwebs of both Winter and the pandemic. This is a perfect experience for those looking to explore one of London’s favorite local activities that is often neglected by visitors to the city. There are lifeguards on duty, changing rooms and showers. 

  • Thames Dinner Cruise: Afternoon Tea

    Nearest tube station: Tower Hill

Thames Dinner Cruise Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea at the Montcalm London Marble Arch is unfortunately not really the kind of London experience you do not know exists, because everyone talks about it. Between the Traditional Afternoon Tea and the Champagne Afternoon Tea, Montcalm has you covered. But in the spirit of trying new things, the Thames Dinner Cruise’s Afternoon Tea is rather special, and a little unusual too. Enjoy a calming afternoon on the River Thames which involves cruising for 1hr30m, and includes a narrated tour of some of London’s most iconic landmarks. All while tucking into a selection of sandwiches, pastries and scones (with clotted cream and jam, of course). The boat departs from Tower Pier.

  • Columbia Road Flower Market

    Nearest tube station: Old Street

When it comes to markets, some famous names come to mind, from Portobello and Bayswater to Brick Lane and Borough. But the east’s Columbia Road Flower Market is rather extraordinary, and criminally underrated. Every Sunday, a bloomy flower market bursts into life and even if you are not looking to purchase anything, the fragrant, bustling street brings to mind the London of yore, when market sellers competed for patronage. If you are looking to purchase, even better. The range of plants, bedding plants, shrubs, bulbs and freshly cut flowers is breathtaking. 

  • Daunt Books Marylebone

    Nearest tube station: Baker Street

Daunt Books has become a chain of bookshops in London which were founded by the book-loving James Daunt. Originally, it specialized in travel books that were traded from its Marylebone branch, which was opened in 1912. It is said that Daunt Books Marylebone was the first custom-built bookshop in the world. Nowadays, there are branches in Holland Park, Cheapside, Hampstead and Belsize Park and they sell both travel specialist and general interest books. There is something profound about walking through this book-lined shop, which has retained its original features including oak galleries and skylights. If after this list you are still looking for different ways to explore London, then Daunt Books is a good spot to pick up a travel book to guide you.