• Little Secrets in Big Places

    It’s time to turn your nose up at the Eiffel Tower, tell the Great Pyramids of Giza to get lost and leave the Statue of Liberty in the dust, because we’re going underground to find the greatest locations you never knew existed.

    Image by Ford Buchanan

1. The B29 Superfortress, Bleaklow, Derbyshire

Just off the Snake Pass road, hiding deep within the rolling, barren moorland of Bleaklow, lies the wreckage of a fallen American Boeing B29 Superfortress, largely untouched since it came down on a fateful, foggy November night in 1948.

 To reach the eerie site , which sits around 2,000 feet above sea level, is a bit of a leg stretch (a five mile hike from the roadside, to be precise), but it’s well worth turning off the engine and dusting off the compass to see this remarkable remnant of the past.

2. Kelvedon Hatch Nuclear Bunker, Brentwood, Essex

Brentwood might be better known these days as the backdrop to popular tan-athon ‘The Only Way Is Essex’, but there is a lot more to the borough than meets the eye.

 Boasting military associations stretching back two centuries, it was on the receiving end of over a thousand bombs during World War II and hides a large, secret underground nuclear bunker within its midst. With enough room to house and sustain hundreds of people for up to three months, Kelvedon Hatch dates back to the Cold War and, due to it sitting some 38 metres underground, it’s the perfect place to get away from an attack of tango-tinged reality TV stars.

3. 18 Stafford Terrace, Kensington, London

This charming townhouse, situated in the upmarket district of Kensington, looks just like any other from the outside. But behind the heavy, bottle-green front door, lies a spectacular 19th century time machine.

 Displaying a virtually untouched and perfectly preserved piece of Victorian life, the property has survived for over 100 years with all of its fittings and furniture completely intact, and once counted famed Punch cartoonist, Edward Linley Sambourne, among its inhabitants. Stepping over the threshold offers a fascinating insight into a London of time gone by.

4. Chysauster, Penzance, Cornwall

Around 5km north of Penzance, right in the nook of England’s big toe, lies Chysauster: an ancient Iron Age settlement, abandoned sometime around the Roman occupation.

Under the site, the secrets of the mysterious subterranean chambers – their dark depths connected by hollowed out passages – have long puzzled architects, with no-one quite sure what purpose their excavation would have served. The stone-walled dwellings sitting above are said to represent the earliest identifiable village in Britain and with clear views of the stunning sea to the south, it’s no wonder that the inhabitants decided to make it home nearly 2,000 years ago.

5. The Water of Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland

The Scottish capital is famous for many landmarks; from Castle Rock and the cobbled streets of the Royal Mile, to the formidable fortress of Edinburgh Castle itself. But not many people realise that the city also boasts a flowing river, which carves its path down from the Pentland Hills all the way to Leith Docks.

 Described poetically as ‘a silver thread in a ribbon of green‘, the waters are a haven for wildlife, plants, and visitors with an urge to escape the hustle and bustle of the busy centre. With a footpath snaking along the shore beside them, and passing several points of interest (including Murrayfield Stadium and the Royal Botanical Gardens), it is the ideal place to get back to nature, whilst still taking in everything the Midlothian metropolis has to offer.

IMAGE CREDITS: Peer Lawther / Scott Wylie /Warren Elkes / Jenni Douglas

Got your own top secret spot? Let us in on it over here (we promise not to tell).