Seeking out London’s hidden gems #SEhiddengems

We all know London is full of major, family friendly tourist attractions such as Madame Tussauds, Buckingham Palace and the London Eye. Hidden among its back streets, however, are many hidden gems.

#SEhiddengems, London, things to do in London, Southeastern Railways, Southeastern Trains, things to do in London, days out in London

Helen and I arrive at London Charring Cross station before embarking on a tour of London’s hidden gems.

The Roman baths just off The Strand and the Ship and Shovel pub, a pub next to Charing Cross station that is split in two on opposite sides of the pavement, spring to mind. My eldest daughter Helen and I were only too happy to oblige when asked to visit a couple of our favourites as part of Southeastern Railway’s #SEhiddengems winter campaign.

#SEgiddengems, London, Southeastern Trains, Southeastern Railways

The London skyline. We all know about London’s major tourist attractions, but what’s hidden gems are tucked away in the side streets?

A hidden gem can be anything off the beaten track. It can simply be a café that is of particular significance.

With this in mind, I knew straight away what one of our #SEhiddengems would be. It’s a small Italian restaurant called Pieriono on Thurloe Place, about a minute from South Kensington Underground station and a very short walk from the Natural History Museum. You can catch a short 15 minute circle or district line here from Charing Cross Station, where you’ll want to get off if you’re on the Southeastern network.

#SEhiddengems, Southeastern Trains, Pierino, Southeastern Railways

A scene from the video we made (see below). Dad and daughter about to have lunch at Pierino.

As a family, we’ve been visiting Pierino for about four years. We first went there when granny came to stay and we went on a family trip to the Natural History Museum. Having come out of the museum, this was the first place we found to eat in.

Izzy, our youngest daughter, was only a couple of months old, so she stayed in her pushchair throughout. From memory, I believe Helen simply had garlic bread and I had a pizza caprese. This is the dish I have most times I eat there. Helen, meanwhile, has moved on and these days she enjoys the margarita pizza while Mrs Adams usually has a pasta dish

It’s become something of a tradition to eat there every time we visit either the Natural History or Science Museums. The staff are magnificent and it is a place with a great atmosphere.

Pierino, #SEhiddengems, Southeastern Trains

Helen enjoys her margarita pizza at Pierino.

I made a video of our trip to visit our #SEhiddengems. It includes Pierino and you can watch it by clicking on play below.

Another hidden gem we visited was Kensington Roof Gardens. These are glorious roof gardens that you find on top of 99 Kensington High Street.

You do, however, need the very best luck to find the entrance! Although the address is Kensington High Street, the entrance can be found on neighbouring Derry Street and it isn’t marked. You have to go into an anonymous-looking office building where you are signed in and have to travel to the sixth floor.

Once there, you can stroll around the most amazing Japanese, Italian and Moorish themed gardens. Best of all, the gardens have four resident flamingos!

#SEhidden Gems, Kensington Roof Gardens, flamingo, London

One of the flamingos at Kensington Roof Gardens comes out from behind a hedge.

Although Kensington Roof Gardens have featured on one or two high-profile television programmes, I maintain it is a hidden gem. The entrance is hidden away and I am still struggling to find anyone I know that has been there. So on that basis, I am keeping it on my list.

#SEhiddengems, Southeastern Railways, Southeastern Trains, London, Kensignton Roof Gardens

Kensington Roof Gardens in all its glory (pic credit: Bryce Edwards, reproduced under Creative Commons agreement)

More information about the #SEhiddengems winter campaign can be found on the Southeastern website. I would recommend taking a look and seeking some out next time you are in the capital.

Do you have a favourite hidden gem in London? If so, please leave a comment below outlining what it is. I’d love to hear about it.



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  1. Anthony Padbury
    November 7, 2016 / 2:42 pm

    Really great tips! I have to say that I commute to London every week and I haven’t been to any of the places mentioned. The Kensington Roof Gardens looks especially interesting, as does the pizza!

    • John Adams
      November 12, 2016 / 5:51 am

      Kensingnton Roof Gardens are amazing. I suggest a visit to the oof gardens and then going for lunch.

  2. November 10, 2016 / 6:26 pm

    For someone that’s worked in London for nearly three years; I was clueless about these. Must check them out soon!

    • John Adams
      November 12, 2016 / 5:46 am

      It’s interesting you say that as Kensington Roof Gardens has apparently appeared on several TV shows but it was new to me. Well worth visiting. As for Pierino, it is a lovely place if you want authentic Italian. Just such a lovely little place.