London is a capital city so crammed with attractions and excitement that visitors — and Londoners themselves — tend to focus on the famous centre of town. But there is another, secret London, which many people know nothing about.

Perhaps because we cannot imagine that anything very interesting exists in the city’s outer suburbs, hidden among the semi-detached commuter homes and far-flung tube stations, we rarely take the time to look. Yet this is where you can find the most exquisite historical gems — surviving here while the bustling centre of London repeatedly demolished and rebuilt its past.

You will not find many intact medieval churches in central London, for example. But the finest you could wish to see is in Hayes village in the borough of Hillingdon. You enter St Mary’s Church through an early 16th century timber lych-gate. Inside, the intricately-carved roofs and 12th century font are a delight to the eye. Look for the extremely rare wall painting from around 1500, showing St Christopher wading across the river with the Christ Child on his shoulders. In the water swim charming crabs, eels and even a small mermaid.Learn more from Europe at this website www.europe-cities.com.

Travel clockwise from here through outer London and you arrive in Ealing, a district that has played a fascinating role in London’s cultural history, plan visiting this amazing city by one check at the best hotel price comparison website.

Ealing comedies, including Kind Hearts nd Coronets, The Lavender Hill Mob and assport to Pimlico, are still much enjoyed day — as is more recent Ealing output s ch as hit movies Star Wars Episode II: attack of the Clones and Notting Hill. While you are in Ealing, take time to visit Pitzhanger Manor — the country home of eccentric 18th century architect Sir John Soane. Designer of the Bank of England, Soane’s inner London house in Lincoln’s Inn Fields is famously bizarre. But this earlier residence is rather more relaxed -filled with elegant Greek columns and classical friezes. Part of it is now a lively art gallery open to the public.

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Keep travelling east and you will enter the borough of Harrow, dominated from the hilltop by the famous Harrow School. You can visit parts of the private school on organised tours to see where Sir Winston Churchill and scandalous poet Lord Byron learned their lessons as schoolboys.

At the very top of the hill, by St Mary’s Church, look for a tiny gravestone beside the church entrance. It commemorates Allegra, the daughter of Lord Byron and Claire Clairmont — a love-child who sadly died in infancy.