Secret London – Places You’ve Never Heard Of:
Visit London, whether to live, for a holiday or just for a day out and I can guarantee you’ll walk past places every day without noticing them. Places with a fascinating history, places that you should spend time exploring, places with a great view or just places where you can relax and find yourself in another world. I’ve been working with photographer and instagrammer Avi Gorkhan (@gcooler) who has taken a few shots with the new Huawei Mate S illustrating some of those places in London that you may never have realised existed. Secret London!
- One of my favourite secret spots in London is the Japanese Garden in Holland Park. Donated by the Chamber of Commerce of Kyoto in 1991, it was built to commemorate friendship between Japan and the UK. It’s somewhere to sit and take a book, relax and just forget you are in the heart of London.
- Another tribute to our multicultural Capital is the Jamme Masjid mosque on Brick Lane. If I’m honest, it doesn’t really look like a mosque at all, probably because it was first built as a Protestant chapel, by Heugenots fleeing persecution in France. Later, it became a synagogue providing a religious centre for Eastern European and Russian Jews who had made their home in the East End of London. And now, it’s a mosque – serving the largest concentration of Bangladeshi Muslims in the UK.
- Spitalfields was originally the land belonging to a hospital or a priory called St Mary Spital, a priory or hospital – it makes sense when you thing about the name, an abridged version of Hospital Fields. Now you’ll find market stalls, restaurants and bars. And a stunning church built by Nicholas Hawksmoor between 1714 and 1729. It’s a part of London with history on every corner, well worth exploring.
- Right in the heart of the City of London you’ll find the Guildhall Art Gallery. Although the exterior looks quite traditional it was actually only completed in 1999, to replace the Victorian gallery on the same site that was destroyed during the blitz. Apart from a fine collection of Victorian art, the Gallery has another secret. Take the lift to the basement and you’ll find yourself in London’s Roman Amphitheatre, originally built in AD70. Step inside and join the Roman avatars at the games…
- We tend to think of Monument as just a stop on the District Line. But, of course once again the clue is in the name. The Monument tower was built between 1671 and 1677 to commemorate the Great Fire of London and to celebrate the rebuilding of London. You can still climb up the spiral staircase for a great view across the City.
- The exterior of the Royal Horseguards Hotel has been used in many film sets includings Octopussy and Skyfall Inside there are hidden underground vaults, with a secret railway line was intended to be the world’s first underground railway tunnel from Scotland Yard to Waterloo, planned to carry freight and powered by air pressure; digging was abandoned in 1868, and when the company wound up in 1882, the National Liberal Club adapted the tunnel to its present use as a wine cellar. Used by MI5 and MI6 during World War II it really does feel like something out of a spy movie.
- Back to West London, Brompton Cemetery has lots of hidden surprises, including the grave of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst and of famous cricketer John Wisden. It’s also supposed to have been the inspiration for many of Beatrix Potter’s characters – you’ll find Peter Rabbett, Jeremiah Fisher, Mr Nutkins, Mr Brock and Mr McGregor buried there if you search hard enough.
I’m amazed at the quality of pictures Avi has taken to illustrate some of London’s secret places. Remember, each and every one of these pictures was taken with the new new Huawei Mate S. Check out his instagram stream, @gcooler , for more fabulous phone pictures
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post from Huawei to illustrate the capability of the Huawei Mate smartphone. All content is editorially given and the photography has not been edited by me.