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You haven’t lived until you’ve experienced secret London

Whether you’re in town for Fashion Week or looking to escape the crowds, there’s a lot more to London than its tourist landmarks – from beekeeping and botanical gardens to houseboats and vintage bicycle trips. PORTER opens its address book for where to indulge in the individual and fantastical. By DELILAH KHOMO


The secret cinema

While away the day (and evening for that matter) on The Berkeley Hotel’s rooftop with its open-air swimming pool and Bamford Haybarn Spa. Beat the chill at its al-fresco cinema screenings with mulled wine and Moncler blankets, and try the new ‘Out of the Blue’ immersive bar experience. Wilton Place, SW1

The less-known museum

Experience the Sir John Soane’s Museum, ideally by night, when on the first Tuesday of every month, guests can admire Greek antiquities and and paintings including work by Hogarth, Turner and Canaletto by candle light. 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, WC2A

The cycle route

Hire a Pashley bike from the vintage bicycle dealer Tally Ho! and cycle along the Regent’s Canal path towards Whitmore Bridge in East London. Stop by the Towpath Cafe, an enticingly rustic affair, born out of four containers on the waterside. 172 Westminster Bridge Road, SE1

Enjoy hot chocolate, mulled wine and homemade shepherd’s pie while watching a classic movie at The Berkeley’s rooftop cinema
Browse for antiques then stop by the bar for a cocktail at LASSCO on Maltby Street

The foodie haven

Maltby Street Market is the go-to for unusual bric-a-brac from LASSCO (The London Architectural Salvage and Supply Co.), plus irresistible artisan nibbles and cocktails from Little Bird gin. Be sure to try the legendary cream doughnuts from St. John Bakery. Ropewalk, SE1

The botanical escape

Tucked away out of sight in the heart of Chelsea, the Chelsea Physic Garden is a perfect oasis away from the maelstrom of city life. Book ahead for the bee-keeping courses, botanical painting classes and herbology talks from March to June. 66 Royal Hospital Road, SW3

The atmospheric theater

The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse puts on exceptional Reformation-era dramas on Bankside, lit by flickering candelabras, just as they would have been performed in Elizabethan London. 21 New Globe, SE1

The converted 108ft Dutch shipping barge boasts four bedrooms, a living area and deck

The hotel alternative

There’s no more romantic way to experience London than a stay on One Fine Stay’s river barge Cheyne Walk II, which comes with a wood-burning stove and a freestanding bath overlooking the Albert Bridge in Chelsea.

The antiques treasure trove

Find ’30s bias-cut slip dresses and mid-century antiques at Alfies Antique Market, which houses over 75 dealers in a grand Art Deco building in Marylebone. 13-25 Church Street, NW8

The underground secret

Visit The London Silver Vaults for the largest retail collection of antique silver in the world, housed in underground high-security storage units – the same ones that protected the aristocracy’s valuables during both World Wars. 53 Chancery Lane, WC2

The people featured in this story are not associated with NET-A-PORTER and do not endorse it or the products shown.