London can be so whiz whiz whoosh whoosh… and it’s nice to know a few little secret spaces where you can disappear to, sit on a bench, read a book, soak up the sun or just enjoy the moment…
If you’ve been following me on Snapchat recently, you’ll have seen how London can change in the blink of an eye, from loud and hectic, to peaceful and tranquil… and these gentle and serene spots are not always where you’d think they’d be hiding!
Here are ten of my favourite secret gardens in beautiful London…
St Martin’s Le-Grand, London EC1A
This scenic park acquired its name due to its popularity as a lunchtime garden with workers from the nearby old General Post Office. It is home to the famous Watts memorial, built in 1900 by Victorian painter and philanthropist GF Watts (1817-1904).
Bonnington Square Garden
Bonnington Square, London SW8
Pretty small gardens on Bonnington Square in Vauxhall harks back to the glory days of Vauxhall’s famous Pleasure Gardens, which were a major feature of London for three centuries; a place of curiosity, promenade and play…
Kyoto Garden at Holland Park
Holland Park, London, W11 3RB
A gorgeous Japanese garden in Holland park, complete with a waterfall, carp and manicured lawns… an incredibly peaceful place to while away a couple of hours…
Wildflower Meadow in London Fields
London E8 3EU
In 2013 the Council turned a sandy area of London Fields into a giant pictorial meadow, which is now full of butterflies and bees and apparently the local honey production has “gone through the roof” Love this!
Kensington Roof Gardens
99 Kensington High Street, London, W8 5SA
A message from Sir Richard Branson – “Welcome to The Roof Gardens and Babylon, a unique space unlike any other in London which is very close to my heart. My family, friends and colleagues have all shared some great times here. I hope you have the chance to experience The Roof Gardens and Babylon yourself.”
The gardens are free to visit for the public and you won’t believe your eyes when you arrive at the top… the flamingos are the just the beginning…
At the end of the day, head for a slap up finger licking dinner at Dirty Bones.
The Phoenix Garden
21 Stacey Street, London, WC2H 8DG
“Where is this woodland glade where you may read a book in peace and calm away from the bustle of the city? Like so many other little parks in London it is hidden in plain sight, but this one really is in the heart of the West End. This one is a true community square, though, facing social housing properties and run by locals, who host an annual agricultural show. It’s at the back of the Phoenix Theatre just off Charing Cross Road, and a narrow passageway from it will take you to the Church of St Giles.”
Mount Street Gardens
South Audley Street, London W1K 2TH
This beautiful little garden was originally the burial ground belonging to the Parish of St. George Hanover Square… it was closed in 1854 following an Act of Parliament which prohibited burials in central London on health grounds. However the gardens came back to life in 1889 and and looks very much like it used to back then. It’s very manicured and neat, but with a lovely calmness to it… I could sit and watch the birds queue for the drinking fountain for hours…
Go for Brunch at the Montagu as well – it’s a 12 min walk away ;)
20 Fenchurch Street, London, EC3M 3BY
For a London garden with a stupendous view, you can’t get better than the new Sky Garden. Apparently. I actually haven’t been yet but will be booking a ticket asap! With its three storeys of exquisitely landscaped public gardens, I can’t wait to explore and hide away in one of London’s greatest serene secrets…
Camley Street Natural Park
12 Camley Street, London, N1C 4PW
If you don’t already know about this gem of a place, you won’t believe it when you see it. It’s a two acre natural reserve of wild green space right in the heart of London on the banks of the Regent’s Canal in Kings Cross.
It was created from an old coal yard back in 1984 and is now popular with all kinds of people seeking respite from the buzz of the city around them, as well as being a hub for London Wildlife Trust volunteers. The reserve has a visitor centre and provides natural habitat for birds, butterflies, amphibians and a rich variety of plant life. It’s special. That’s what it is.
(Pop into Drink Shop Do for cake and tea afterwards…)
Culpepper Community Garden
1 Cloudesley Road, Islington, London, N1 0EG
Culpeper Community Garden is a beautiful public open space in the heart of Islington, London, which serves both as a city park and as an environmental community project. Managed by and for local people, it is a unique project where people from all walks of life come together to appreciate and enhance their environment….
(When you go, make sure you have an amazing breakfast at Sunday beforehand!)
Do you have any secret London gardens you’d like to share with me?
Oh go on…