London is a huge place – while it can seem as though everything that’s possible to see and do in the capital has been well documented, even its residents can be pleasantly surprised by its secrets: a new discovery is always a pleasant thing. Regent’s Park has a few hidden gems of its own, so read on to find them out for yourself.
An award-winning restaurant near Primrose Hill, Odette’s is a restaurant with a beautifully leafy summer garden and intimate rooms. It’s been around since 1978, but it’s only now, with Welsh chef Bryn Williams at the helm that it’s getting recognition. It is stylish and charming, with a menu of delicate and subtle tastes.
St John’s Lodge Gardens
Originally built in 1818, you can find these tranquil gardens in the Inner Circle of Regent’s Park. If you spot a small gate and a corridor of flowers, then you’re on the right track. It looks like they might be private, but they are in fact secluded public gardens of a private lodge. Gorgeous for a spot of lunch or a reflective walk, there are several compartments with sculpture and stonework.
York and Albany Hotel
Gordon Ramsay’s York and Albany restaurant also has a lesser known hotel attached to it. A stylish townhouse with nine suites, it is gorgeously decorated with period antiques and decadent fabrics. If this is your idea of the perfect place to return to after a busy day of shopping and wandering, book a room with Chic Retreats.
To the west of Regent’s Park is London’s Little Venice, so called for its network of canals, waterside cafes and pubs. Take a boat trip, or stroll down the towpath. Go downstream towards the regency streets of Maida Vale, Regent’s Park and Camden or go upstream for peace and tranquillity. Perfect during spring and summer time and especially for a romantic afternoon stroll.
The Royal College of Physicians
The RCP is a functioning college, but it also has a museum attached to it. There are lots of events and exhibitions that go on, and the entry is free. The building was built is a Grade I listed building, opened in 1964, and is considered one of London’s greatest post-war buildings. Head to the second floor for the anatomical tables that display human veins, nerves and arteries dissected at Padua’s famous anatomy theatre in the 17th century, beautifully arranged on varnished wooden panels.
The best way to discover hidden gems is to follow your nose. Don’t stick to your routine and you may well happen upon something worthwhile.