5 Hidden Arts Gems in London

We’ve all seen the well known sights of London, The Tower of London, Madame Tussauds, the London Eye. We’ve also seen the queues that form outside these venues. Lines of budding tourists start (or at least used to start) first thing in the morning and didn’t stop until closing time. These places are great for a reason, hence the lines, but what about the locations that aren’t in the guide book? If you’re anything like me, you’re hapless when it comes to speaking to strangers and would much rather find out about secret places online in a guide, if you’re not, I’m jealous to be honest. Here are just some of the hidden gems in London you won’t find in any guide book.

The Leake Street tunnel near Waterloo Station

Ronnie Scott’s Late Shows

All good music lovers know Ronnie Scott’s prestigious jazz club. What all good music lovers also know is the high prices they charge for a show, for good reason of course with the talent they have. What a lot of people don’t know is that you can actually attend a show there for under £15 if you go for a show after 11pm. There is something truly special about this club during these shows, they have a much more laid-back attitude (no one-handed clapping for example *shudder*) and there is always such a unique crowd and mix of people there that this is definitely one to check out when you can!

You can find their website here.

Leake Street Tunnel

Are you a fan of street art, unique food and hordes of hipsters? I don’t know about you, but this sounds like a little slice of heaven to me. Hidden away under Waterloo Station is London’s longest legal graffiti wall which has now been joined by bars and restaurants. Pioneered by Banksy (yes, the Banksy) in 2008, this is certainly popular already with Londoners and tourists alike, but never sees the kind of crowds other places in the city does and is well worth a visit!

You can find their website here.

The Elephant’s Head

A true artists pub, The Elephant’s Head in Camden has been frequented by legendary stars like Amy Winehouse and Snow Patrol to name just a couple. Pre-pandemic, this place would be packed to bursting with artists, partygoers, steampunk enthusiasts and just about any other kind of person you can imagine. There is always an amazing atmosphere in this place and I have been there too many times to count. I even thought about getting their hand-stamp tattooed on my hand to save time. 

You can find their website here.

The Great Gatsby Immersive Theatre

Though it’s all in the title, this does need a little explaining. Set up originally near Borough Market, now in Mayfair, this is one of the most unique experiences you could ever have, theatre lover or not. To put it simply, it’s what would happen if a bar, a movie and a dance class combined forces and my god is it glorious. To avoid spoiling too much I’ll stop here, but just expect to have the time of your life and remember to wear shoes you can move in and to leave your social anxiety at the door. (The way I explained this sounds terrifying to me too but take the plunge socially awkward people!)

You can find their website here.

The 100 Club

Last but certainly not least is The 100 Club, who have the privilege of being the only venue we’ve ever spoken about twice (so far). Certainly not unknown for the most part, but in a similar vein to Ronnie Scott’s late shows, a lot of people don’t know that some of the biggest stars to grace this earth play secret, intimate shows at this location. If the name Paul McCartney means anything to you, I probably don’t need to say anything more.

​You can find their website here.