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Hidden Treasures of London

When it comes to attractions in London some of the city’s most well-known landmarks such at Tower Bridge, Big Ben and Buckingham Palace are the first that come to mind.  However if you take the time to research London before your trip, you will discover there is so much more.  Some popular attractions, such as the landmarks briefly highlighted below, are occasionally referred to as hidden treasures. This is because many tourists are unaware of wealth of attraction available in big cities such as London and are both pleased and surprised when they stumble across them. 

The Freemans Hall 


Freemasons Hall WHTV

The Freemans Hall is located at 60 Great Queen Street and is in the Covent Garden neighbourhood of London.  Here you will find a large, but sometimes hard to see from afar building.  Today’s structure was built in 1931, the original building (1776) was demolished as it was declared unsafe at the time. 
This hidden treasure is home to a memorial for those who lost their lives during World War I.  Guided tours are available and last an average of one hour.  On those tours, you can view the lodge rooms, library, museum, and Grand Temple. 
Freemasonic Hall is considered a must see, but you can only visit on the weekdays.  Opening hours are Monday through Friday from 10am until 5pm.  Admission is free. 

Brompton Oratory 


Brompton Oratory WHTV

This colourful Italianate church on Brompton Road in the South Kensington is a monument to the English Catholic revival of the late-19th century.  The present building, based on a church in Rome, was completed in 1884.  Its façade and dome were added in 1890s. The interior, rich in marble and mosaics, has been progressively enriched since the building was completed. Most of the eye-catching treasures of Brompton Oratory predate the building and many of the pieces were actually transported to London from Italian churches.
The huge marble figures of the 12 apostles were carved by Giuseppe Mazzuoli in the late-17th century for Siena Cathedral.  The wonderfully elaborate Lady Altar was created for the Dominican church in Brescia in 1693.  
You can stop by for a quick view of the church from the outside at any time.  If you want to step inside, you are encouraged to join in their Sunday service, where you will also hear a professional choir. 

Interesting Fact about the Brompton Oratory – During the Cold War the Brompton Oratory was used by the KGB as a dead letter box.
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Holland Park 


Holland Park - WHTV

Holland Park is located in the Ilchester Place, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.  Although many have heard of Holland Park before, it is considered a hidden treasure because many tourists pass up the opportunity to stop here, but you will not want to. 

The Royal Borough’s largest park with 22.5 hectares of gardens, children’s play facilities, sports areas, a cafeteria and large areas of woodland abundant with wildlife. Contained within the park is the beautiful Kyoto Garden; a Japanese garden donated by the Chamber of Commerce of Kyoto in 1991. 

Certain facilities are only open to members, but there is still so much for you to enjoy, including a children’s centre, ecology centre, and clean grass area. Lastly Holland Park is in the centre of Greater London, therefore its in easy reach or more popular tourist attractions such as Houses of Parliament, Tower of London and St Paul’s Cathedral. 

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Speakers Corner at Hyde Park


Speakers Corner WHTV

Located on the corner of Park Lane and Cumberland Gate, opposite Marble Arch tube, Speakers' Corner is the spiritual home of the British democratic tradition of soapbox oratory. 

The history of Speakers Corner began in 1872.  It was then that an Act of Parliament, otherwise known as law, was passed giving up a small corner of Hyde Park to pubic speaking.  While Karl Marx, Lenin, George Orwell, and William Morris have all used this spot to express their ideals and beliefs, your average speaker isn't quite as high profile. Throughout the years, great debates and large crowds were common, however today, not so much, but this is still considered a must see.  
If you are easily offended by many of today’s political and religious issues or if you cannot stand to hear another word about the impending apocalypse, then other close attractions such as Westminster Abbey or The Tate Modern is more for you.  However if you fancy it,  Sunday morning is the best time to visit, although speakers can now be found on the corner throughout the week. 


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