I’ve been itching to write this blog post about London hidden gems and my favorite photoshoot locations for far too long!
It started in my mind when I was searching for different places to go shooting with our couples. Although London is absolutely beautiful and there are so many things to see and visit, I could not find a good, clear article about locations for a photoshoot.
Places like Regent Park, Hyde Park, and so on are all pretty but too touristy for my liking, so it had to be something different. A London hidden gem that only locals really know of, which meant fewer people around and more freedom for shooting!
After much research and traveling from North to the South, far and wide, I am so excited to finally be sharing our list of London Hidden Gems and Photo Shoot Locations in London. It is meant to not only help us and our couples to find the best location for their engagement shoot or portrait session but also anyone who is looking for those amazing and less touristy locations in and around London. Believe me, they do exist.
You need to carefully consider researching Wedding and Lifestyle Photography Permits. This is London after all, so there is a permit required pretty much for any patch of land where you shoot, especially for commercial photo shoots.
I do not take responsibility for any inconvenience encountered at any of these locations! You are fully responsible for your actions!
We’ve also written an article with our top 15 Cotswolds hidden gems and beautiful villages we highly recommend you visit! Definitely worth checking if you’re planning a visit to the beautiful Cotswolds countryside!
London Hidden Gems and Photo Shoot Locations Ideas
According to Wikipedia, “Kew Gardens is the world’s largest collection of living plants”.
From the exotic glasshouse gardens filled with succulents and tropical blooms to a stroll down to the Chinese Pagoda, there’s much to see and photograph.
A great perk, if you’re a member, you can get to visit Kew before any of the tourists, which means you could almost have the place for yourself, to enjoy as you please.
It is most certainly one of my top favorite places to go to and the best photoshoot location spots thanks to the glasshouse that provides the best light one could dream of. If you don’t believe me, check out this Autumn engagement session in Kew Garden we did or this Summer portrait session from the glasshouses!
Ah, Richmond Park is pretty special to us. We lived in the South West of London for nearly 3 years. It was very close to Richmond Park but also a perfect spot to easily get anywhere in and around London. There are always deers, majestic stags, and also patches of forest where we love walking through.
We loved shooting quite a few engagement sessions in the park, so we got to see the forest changing colors each season and also at different times of the day.
Probably my favorite time of the day is just before sunset when everything seems to just slow down and the light between the trees is magical.
This place is yet another London hidden gem. I have heard about it in an article, but little did I know I would fall in love with it! Part cafe, restaurant, part store, or events location, there’s beauty at every corner you turn!
Important to note, before planning your journey: check the opening times for Petersham Nurseries, as they always have lots of events happening and it would be so sad to arrive at closed gates.
You can also plan your wedding reception here, in case you were wondering!
St. Dunstan in the East
A former Church of England parish, St. Dunstan in the East was largely destroyed in the Second World War, so the ruins are now a public garden.
It’s certainly one of London’s hidden gems, as this garden is found between London Bridge and the Tower of London, in one of the business areas of London, as an oasis of tranquility and history. One could easily miss if you didn’t know about it beforehand.
A brilliant spot for some photographs, if I may say so myself, as I love the grunginess and somewhat Mediterranean feel of it. It’s a very unexpected gem, I believe.
Discovered this place purely by chance, as I was trying to hide from rain one day. When I got in, I was completely mesmerized.
Leadenhall Market is one of the oldest markets in London, dating from the 14th century, and is located in the historic center of the City of London‘s financial district. It’s still very much in use as a local market, which I find absolutely amazing.
Surrounded by skyscrapers and forever rushing business people, enter this market and you instantly get taken back in time. Leadenhall Market has also been one of the filming locations for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Just saying.
Wilton’s Music Hall
Best described by Wilton’s Music Hall own website, ” it is a gem in the heart of London and the oldest grand music hall in the world.” Or, as The Guardian would say, “this vast barrel-vaulted venue is the East End’s best-kept secret.”
If this is not enough to make you want to see it yourself, I don’t know what is.
My favorite thing though is the fact that Wilton’s are also hosting weddings (among other events) in this pub! How amazing is that?
Now, this is a location I could rave about for hours as it is by far one of my favorite places to walk in and definitely a London hidden gem!
Although everyone knows about Hampstead Heath Park, it seems that not many know of Pergola and Hill Gardens, which is quite convenient as you get to have some peace and quiet and not having to dodge tourists at every step you take.
My personal favorite photoshoot location, we shot some beautiful engagement sessions at Pergola Gardens. If you’re ever in the area, do yourself a favor and go inside. You can thank me later.
I’m over the moon to share with you an actual wedding we shot at Pergola Gardens in London and absolutely loved shooting the outdoor wedding ceremony by the pond.
Beware, though, there are quite a few new restrictions lately in regards to shooting here, so you may want to check their website about this!
When one thinks of the South Bank area in London, one immediately thinks of London Eye, Big Ben, Tate Modern, and the famous bridges.
This right here is the perfect spot for hundreds and hundreds of tourists walking constantly and stopping for photographs. As they should.
But I felt there must be something more to South Bank, places that are a bit more private (yes, that is quite possible) and different.
So what do you do when everyone is going one way? You go the opposite. Instead of taking photos on the main South Bank, why not go few steps down and maybe walk on the shores (same amazing view, less the people) or under the bridges which offer amazing architecture.
The best part yet, during Sunset, the tide goes out, not in, so you could get beautiful light and nobody would even know you’re there!
Really important though, as I don’t want to have anyone on my conscience.
Please be extremely aware of the tide coming back in, as you do not want to be caught in the river Thames. Safety comes first!
Isn’t this place exciting? For years I had no idea of its existence, until one day when we decided to go explore further from Tower Bridge.
St. Katherine Docks almost takes you back in time, surrounded by old buildings, an inn, and lots and lots of boats. Completely hidden from the main attractions in the city, this place is a London hidden gem located very close to Tower Bridge, so why not adding it to your list while in the area?
A beautiful open garden, glasshouses, flowers in bloom, and brick walls, all in a place less visited by tourists which make for one great location for a photo shoot or a private event.
And if you’re looking for some diversity, just walk a few steps out of Fulham Palace and you’re right on the shore of river Thames.
Lincoln’s Inn, the Chapel
It’s always exciting discovering a new location and this one didn’t disappoint. Very close to Temple Tube Station, Lincoln’s Inn chapel beautifully stand hidden behind office buildings and quite narrow streets. But the moment we could see it, I was pretty excited, as you can imagine.
There’s actually a church that’s in use all year for concerts on the higher level, while below the chapel, there is a 17th-century vaulted undercroft, as you can see in the photos. Isn’t it just beautiful?
Situated on the Southside of the Strand in central London, overlooking the River Thames, Somerset House is a major art and cultural center in the heart of London.
For photographers, this is the most amazing light scenario, with white faded walls and floors. It’s basically a huge outdoor studio, with beautiful light bouncing off everywhere.
I wouldn’t say this is necessarily a London hidden gem, as pretty much everyone heard or knows about its existence, has become very popular in the West End. Nevertheless, I think it’s definitely worth mentioning. It is such a beautiful market and trading area, especially during Christmas time when designers get a chance to show their creativity with some amazing decor.
If you plan on taking photos here, you might want to go on the off-peak times, as this place gets pretty busy, quite quickly.
All photographs were taken by Green Antlers Photography
To make this London hidden gems post complete, I’ve also added a map with all of London’s photoshoot locations and London hidden gems as well!
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