London’s hotting up right now and while there’s no end to the things you can see and do in this wonderful city, Sloanies like to avoid total burnout by heading for the city’s parks and gardens for some much-needed peace, quiet and shade. While St James’ Park, Green Park and Hyde Park will always be firm favorites for summer picnicking, we can thoroughly recommend checking out one of London’s gardens if you’re out and about in the city and keen to recharge the batteries with some good old flower power.
The Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden, Southbank
This is our favorite place to rest our tired feet after a hard day’s shopping and brunching in London. A gorgeous roof garden that’s open until late September, the garden is found on top of the South Bank Centre and has real grass as well as some of the best views of London. And this is a real-life working garden too, with a potting shed and vegetable patches sprouting real vegetables. Find yourself a cosy bench amongst the tangles of lilacs and tumbling trellises, and enjoy something cold and refreshing from the bar.
The Secret Garden, Regent’s Park
Attached to St John’s Lodge – one of the houses built for the Prince Regent when sprawling Regent’s Park was constructed in the 1800s – this garden was later re-landscaped in order to be ‘fit for meditation’. The Secret Garden is all floral pergolas, sunken lawns and statues of nymphs – a true city escape that not many people know about. Open to the public during Regent’s Park’s opening hours, this is the perfect place to picnic on a summer’s day in London.
Chelsea Physic Garden
Hidden away in a quiet corner of Chelsea by the River Thames, these beautiful gardens are actually a world-class centre for botanists after being founded in the 17th century by a group of Apothecaries. But even if you’re not particularly green-fingered or medically-inclined this is a fabulous place to take a stroll and gain some inner peace… plus, it’s moments from the King’s Road. The gardens’ Tangerine Dream Café is worth a visit in itself, though there’s a waiting list for tables. What did you expect, Sloanies? This is Chelsea, after all…
Situated in leafy Richmond on the outskirts of Central London, Kew is where King George III lived during his infamous spell of madness. But don’t let that put you off – Kew is a stunning and rambling botanical garden that runs tons of special exhibitions throughout the year. It’s also home to a fabulous collection of botanical artwork, and it has its own land train for ferrying visitors around. Try a relaxing Barefoot Walk or set off on a guided tour if you get a spare day in London and fancy getting away from the hustle and bustle. And don’t forget to climb the pagoda for jaw-dropping views over London. Blooming gorgeous.
Don’t forget to check out our Garden Bohemian post for ideas on how to dress for your botanical day out!