12 amazing hidden gems for you to discover
Away from the famous landmarks, all our destinations have equally fascinating lesser-known attractions we wanted to share with you. Discover some intriguing secret locations and wonderful surprises.
Passage du Grand-Cerf
One of Paris’ historic covered arcades, the Passage du Grand-Cerf was built in 1825 for the city’s well-heeled to shop in style. Today, the wrought iron arcade, topped with a stunning glass ceiling, is home to a wealth of independent boutiques offering a chic selection of antiques, jewellery, and more.
Passage du Grand-Cerf, 75002
© David Pendery
Jardin des Serres d’Auteuil
This may not be the largest botanical garden in Paris, but it’s certainly one of the most intriguing. The historic garden, which dates back to 1761, features a huge traditional French-style parterre and several greenhouses in which rare plants, flowers, and trees are lovingly cultivated. It’s a highlight for green-fingered visitors, and a beautiful spot for a morning walk.
3 avenue de la Porte d’Auteuil, 75016
+33 (0)1 40 72 16 16
© Paris Tourist Office Amelie Dupont
Handel & Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix and George Frideric Handel are two of the most important names in musical history. Unbeknown to many, the guitarist and composer lived in neighbouring houses, although in different centuries. The Handel & Hendrix museum occupies both houses and features reconstructed living spaces and exhibitions dedicated to each musician.
25 Brook Street, W1K 4HB
+44 20 7495 1685
© Phillip Reed, Handel House Trust
Leighton House Museum
Leighton House is a secret haven of Victorian architecture and art. Formerly the home of Victorian painter and sculptor Lord Frederic Leighton, the house museum showcases many of his best works, alongside pieces by his contemporaries. Extraordinary interiors transport visitors back to a time when art was paramount and artistic success came with great wealth.
12 Holland Park Road, W14 8LZ
+44 20 7602 3316
© Will Pryce
Dorney Court is one of the finest stately homes in England. Its historic charm hasn’t gone unnoticed, having been used as a filming location for movies and series such as The Other Boleyn Girl and Agatha Christie’s Poirot. While the house remains a family home, it’s open to visitors periodically throughout the year. Visit to tour the manor and discover historic furniture, impressive artworks and beautiful gardens. The Dorney Court Kitchen Garden is open all year.
Dorney, Windsor SL4 6QP
+44 1628 604 638
© Dorney Court
While Richmond Park is most famous for its herds of wild deer, the Isabella Plantation is a highlight for nature lovers. Set within a woodland plantation that dates back to the Victorian era, the colourful garden is best known for its stunning evergreen azaleas, which are particularly beautiful when they bloom in spring, and its collection of rare and unusual trees, shrubs and flowers.
Richmond Park, Kingston Upon Thames KT2 7NA
+44 300 061 2200
Piazza Dei Cavalieri Di Malta keyhole
For postcard-worthy views with a twist, head to Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta, the headquarters of the Knights of Malta. Get close to the unmissable giant door of the Priorato dei Cavalieri di Malta, and discover a secret lookout point in its lock. Peer through the keyhole to see the dome of St Peter’s Basilica, perfectly framed by green hedges.
Piazza Dei Cavalieri Di Malta 2, 00153
One of the most thought-provoking spaces in Rome, Centrale Montemartini displays classical statues against the industrial backdrop of a former electrical power plant. The museum’s clever juxtaposition of art with machines and the past with the present has a striking effect that’s sure to inspire art and history enthusiasts.
Via Ostiense 106, 00154
+39 06 0608
Across the road from Santa Maria delle Grazie – the home of Leonardo da Vinci’s famous ‘Last Supper’ fresco – is a garden that once belonged to the artist. Between painting sessions, da Vinci developed a passion for wine and began to grow grapes in his own personal vineyard. The space is now a museum, and visitors can explore the beautiful building and garden where oenologists continue to grow the grapes da Vinci cultivated.
Casa Degli Atellani, Corso Magenta 65, 20123
+39 02 481 6150
Via Lincoln (known as the ‘rainbow street’ due to its multi-coloured houses), is one of the most intriguing roads in Milan. A must-see attraction for architecture enthusiasts, the unusual cluster of painted houses stands out among the city’s more subdued tones. While the street is residential, it’s worth passing by for a closer look and a photo.
The Last Bookstore
The largest independent book shop in California, The Last Bookstore offers an alternative shopping experience to its chain competitors. The shop keeps the traditional bookstore concept alive by giving its regulars a welcoming space in which to browse an ever-changing collection of new, rare and antique books, international graphic novels and vinyl records.
453 S Spring St, CA 90013
© Martinez James
Quite literally under the streets of Los Angeles, the Underground Tunnels expose an important part of American cultural history. During the prohibition era of the 1920s, the former service tunnels were used as passageways to deliver banned alcohol to secret basement speakeasies, where locals could continue the party deep underneath Downtown Los Angeles. Keep your eyes peeled for a secret entrance near the Los Angeles County Hall of Records.
320 W Temple Street, CA 90012
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