Green space in a city is such a treasure and London is lucky enough to have parks in abundance. But London doesn’t do things by halves and the many Royal Parks don’t begin to cover the extent of the greenery available. London’s secret gardens are the hidden gems in that treasure. Here are some of the London’s finest secret gardens. Take some antihistamines and a picnic blanket and go exploring!
Can a garden be secret and famous all at the same time? Postman’s Park near St Paul’s Cathedral probably fits nicely into that box. It’s got such a history, thanks to the famous Watts memorial – the memorial for self sacrifice that was built in 1900. It’s a memorial that’s definitely worth a visit but the park itself is a beautiful little sanctuary in the city.
A secret garden in central London is definitely something to shout about (sorry, office lunchers and kissing couples). Phoenix Gardens on the edge of Covent Garden is one of those beautiful, slightly scruffy little treasures that feels so quintessentially London. Only share this place with your favourite people. Take your lesser favourite people to the lovely but not nearly so secret Victoria Embankment Gardens instead.
This is the most beautiful spot in Regents Park. It’s actually little-known and mainly populated by a handful of people with surprised faces and a few happy folk reading books. It’s right next to the coffee hut in the inner park and is well worth getting hayfever for. Bring a book, hope for sunshine. You probably won’t go anywhere for the afternoon.
Greenwich park is full of cute little gardens (and cute boys, and cute dogs). The rose garden is the most tucked away – right at the top of the park. If the walk through throngs of footballing students feels like a little too much effort, check out the little herb garden near the Crooms Hill entrance.
There are some really brilliant green secrets in Vauxhall. The city farm is a treat and the Pleasure Garden feels like it’s the hub of the community. Bit of trivia here too – the original Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens opened in the 1600s and at the time featured delights such as lion-tamers, clowns, fire walkers and ventriloquists.
Oh, you’ve got to have a bit of posh in a secret garden list. Kensington Roof Gardens actually is worth the hype. It’s a beautiful spot spanning 1.5 acres and it feels like a secret London world rather than a super-exclusive part of West London. There’s a restaurant and nightclub there and as long as the gardens aren’t booked for a private event, they’re open to the public. Just call ahead to double check.
The concrete jungle of the Barbican Centre (pictured above) isn’t the most obvious place to go looking for a secret garden, though it’s actually home to London’s second largest conservatory (after Kew Gardens). There are over 2000 species of tropical plants and it’s open to the public every Sunday and on bank holidays. It’s a good rainy day option too.
Words by Sian Meades and images of the Barbican Conservatory are from here.