You don’t have to fly halfway around the world to uncover new locales filled with potential and wonder. In fact, with summer on the way, it may be that heading to our very own capital and throwing away that travel guide is the best way to experience a place that feels completely new.

One of the best ways to see London in a new light is to simply walk around. Heading for London in the summer will allow you to do just that, ensuring that terrible weather doesn’t have you running for the tube at every possible opportunity. By exploring the capital on foot, you are likely to find locations you never even knew existed, from luscious parkland to breathtaking architecture.

The location you choose to stay in may also make a huge difference, and those staying too close to the centre may only have limited motivation to stroll long distances and in turn stumble across paths less travelled. Furthermore, some hotels are themselves hidden gems, with London boasting a host of historic and luxurious accommodations. Aesthetic treats such as The Landmark London in Marylebone may instantly transform one’s view of the big smoke, allowing them to see the capital in a whole new light.

So choosing the right hotel and possessing a willingness to wander aimlessly will be the best way for holidaymakers to experience the city in a way that few get to see it. For those who need a helping hand, though, here are five great hidden gems to start you off:

brixton-windmill

1. Brixton Windmill

When most people think of Brixton, they probably don’t think about historically-rich grade II listed architecture, but in Ashby’s Mill they get just that. A glorious reminder of the rich tapestry of life that was abundant in London during its formative years, this lovingly-restored, early 19th century windmill is a true gem – and one that is open for tours in the warmer months.

2. Camden Passage

Lying covertly off the beaten track in Islington is this bustling thoroughfare of boutiques, cafes and market stalls. A treat for anyone who loves vibrant and unique independent outlets and the perfect place to find some great antiques and even better food.

3. The Thames Barrier

One part operational flood barrier, one part sculptural wonder, the Thames Barrier is far more than just a practical solution to rising water levels. Functioning since the early 80s, it is a truly inspiring sight, and one that comes with an added bonus – a sculpture that can only be seen at low tide.

4. Natural History Museum – After Hours

Whilst not a hidden gem by day, the Natural History Museum comes alive after dark once a month to allow visitors to sleep amongst the dinosaurs, receive guided moonlit tours and even to enjoy special menus, stand up comedy and all-night horror movie marathons.

5. The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town

A genuine hidden treasure, this bar is only accessible to those who are in the know. Behind a secret fridge door entrance you will find a nighttime cacophony of fun, thrills and fantastic cocktails.