London offers a never ending list of tourist attractions, museums, theatre viewings, quintessential British afternoon teas and cosy pubs, but it's the city's secret gardens that may well prove to win your heart.
Hidden away and off the beaten track, these slices of serenity are what secret London is all about...
Phoenix Garden, Covent Garden
Looking for a secluded space of tranquillity tucked away amidst thriving West London? The magical Phoenix Garden takes the crown. Nestled behind Charing Cross Road, this urban retreat is full of roses, daisies, banana palms and even a few frogs, playing as the perfect hidden lunch spot. The community garden is maintained using sustainable techniques and welcomes visitors all year round. If you’re keen to grab a bite in this beaut spot pop into the nearby churchyard of St Giles in the Fields for weekly food stalls and delicious coffee from Rosie & Joes’ Coffee Stall.
Hampstead Hill Garden and Pergola
This hidden treasure is situated on the western side of Hampstead Heath and is by far one of the most enchanting hidden treasures London has to offer. The garden was first imagined by Lord Leverhulme, a wealthy philanthropist in the early 1990’s, with the desire to create a summer space to throw lavish Edwardian parties. With its raised walkways, romantic pillars, exotic flowers and overgrown vines, this is definitely a garden fit for Lords and an absolute must for escaping within the city.
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Kensington Roof Gardens
‘A world away from the hustle and bustle of London’ pretty much sums up the spectacular Kensington Roof Gardens, high above West London. Open to the public free of charge, the gardens are split into three sections: the vivid Spanish Garden, the quintessential English Woodland Garden and the Tudor Garden ornamented with traditional archways. Taking the title of the very first rooftop bar and garden, this glamorous venue offers a rooftop bar, club, restaurant, live music nights and of course some unique gardens to swan around in.
Sexby Garden, Peckham
This isn’t just any park; situated in the middle of Peckham Common, Sexby Garden is blooming brilliant. The formal style park was originally called the Old English Garden and has recently been restored to its former glory. With vibrant purple wisteria plants, archways, shrubs and a central fountain this is an absolute gem, proving a romantic oasis in the midst of south east London.
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St John's Lodge Gardens, Regent's Park
Yes Regents Park may seem a little obvious and this tourist trap is hardly known to be a secret escape, however St John’s Lodge Garden is located through a small gate off the Inner Circle and known to few. The ornamented garden, decorated with sculptures and stonework, is based behind a grand 19th century house and has quite the royal feel.
Kyoto Gardens in Holland Park
Opened in 1991 as a gift from Kyoto to celebrate the friendship between Great Britain and Japan, Kyoto Gardens is by far one of the most insta worthy secret garden settings in London. Offering a pocket of Japan in the middle of London, the garden is covered with lanterns, koi carp fish, an oriental bridge at the foot of a waterfall and pretty peacocks, recreating the key traits of a Japanese garden.
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Chelsea Physic Garden
Founded in 1673, the Chelsea Physic Garden is one of the most beautiful botanical gardens around, and the second oldest of its kind in England. Housing around 5,000 species of plants, the oldest rock garden in Europe, glasses houses, a herb garden, rare plants ANNNND the largest olive tree in Britain, it’s the perfect educational trip… or maybe just a good spot for a stroll in the sun.