You've seen Big Ben, gaped at the Crown Jewels and eaten enough English fish and chips to last a lifetime. It's high time you did something a bit more unusual. Here are a few unusual places to visit in London – a hidden side you might've never noticed.
Step back in time
You wouldn't think windmills would be easy to find in London, and it's true that the excellent and fully restored Brixton windmill at the west end of Blenheim Gardens, off Brixton Hill is a bit of a hidden gem. It reminds all who visit that Brixton wasn’t always just about late night clubbing, and serves as a reminder that pastoral villages once stood in this very spot. It's best to book the tour ahead if you fancy a step back in time. The windmill is open in the afternoons between the months of April and October.
If the journey back to times of old appeals, continue the history lesson at Chelsea Physic Garden. It was founded in 1673 by the magically named Worshipful Society of Apothecaries and remains a peaceful spot to find a unique and living collection of roughly 5000 useful, medicinal, edible and historical plants.
Hit the beach
The beach? In London? Surely not. But actually, you'll find a man-made beach every summer just under an hour from Central London – at the luxury hotel and resort The Grove (Chandler's Cross, Hertfordshire). As the choice summer destination for Queen Victoria in her heyday, The Grove still draws a crowd looking to pamper themselves, and you might even see Tiger Woods, who’s been known to play on the golf course.
Hanging with the undead
If it's haunted London you're looking to see, look no further than the Ubiquitous Undead Walk, a quest to learn about the Highgate Vampire on a tour that meets outside the library at the Highgate Hill exit at Archway station. The most famous vampire of course is Vlad the Impaler, a Romanian fanged ruler who was allegedly the inspiration behind Dracula. Walk around the famous Highgate cemetery and the remains of a nearby house in which the vampire was famously destroyed and listen to the spine-chilling accounts of the British Occult Society.
If the dead rocks your living world, you won't want to miss a Jack the Ripper tour. London's East End was a minefield of crime and sin in the 19th century, and when Jack the Ripper struck in 1888 and murdered five women, all hell broke loose. On this fascinating but frightening tour you can walk through the murder sites and investigate the unsolved case yourself.
Visit a small museum
The Tate and the Natural History Museum might be top of the list for regular tourists in London, but there's a lot to be said for London’s smaller museums too. Head to the Museum of Freemasonry near Covent Garden and not only will you find yourself touring one of the most fascinating buildings in London, you'll also learn a bit about the secret Mason society, now huge on charity work throughout the city.
Want to know what London life was like 400 years ago? Close to Old Street, you'll find the Geffrye Museum, showing the changing style of English homes in a series of period rooms. Old almshouses still boast intriguing interiors from 1600 to present day. Marvel at somewhat newer reminders of your childhood days and take a stroll around the herb garden for a side of beautiful, fascinating London that few get to see.Another fantastic spot to visit is the Museum of London Docklands in Canary Wharf. A little more quirky than your average London museum, this one offers a glimpse into the city’s long history as a port through stories of trade, migration and commerce.