We all know London has some pretty mega stuff to offer. This town boasts a frankly silly number of iconic landmarks, museums and feasts for the eyes and ears.
But with great attractions come great crowds. For those of us who like a slice of culture without company, it can be hard to find under-the-radar spots in London. And many lesser-known attractions are gate-kept to keep hidden gems, well, hidden.
The latest to pull together a list of the world’s finest ‘hidden gems’ is none other than airline Wizz Air. And, excitingly, it crowned a London institution the best on the planet: Marylebone’s very own Wallace Collection.
Wizz Air’s methodology was extensive, so bear with. The airline first selected cities in Wikipedia’s ‘Most Visited Cities’ and TripAdvisor’s ‘Travellers Choice: Best of the Best Destinations’ lists. The study then dived into those cities’ attractions with the highest number of mentions of ‘hidden gems’, ranking them by their percentage of ‘Excellent’ or ‘Very Good’ reviews. Still with me?
The Wallace Collection had a total of 6,598 user reviews with 551 of them mentioning the location as a ‘hidden gem’. The art gallery also received a TripAdvisor rating of 4.5.
And we’re also big fans of Wallace. Housed in a rather grand, not at all inconspicuous eighteenth-century mansion in Marylebone (hidden, maybe not), the Collection holds an opulent feast of eighteenth-century French paintings, furniture and other artistic spoils. Founded with the private collection of Sir Richard Wallace and the Marquess of Hertford, the collection opened to the public in 1900. Galleries are draped with works by the likes of Velázquez, Gainsborough and Titian.
Though it might feel like you’ve seen all that London has to offer, the Wallace Collection is just one of many of the capital’s sights that are slightly off the beaten track. For more under-appreciated spots, check out London’s best secret bars, or Time Out’s mammoth secret London guide.
Listen to Time Out’s brilliant podcast ‘Love Thy Neighbourhood’: the newest episode with Ginger Johnson in Walthamstow is out now.
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