In busy London, there often isn’t a place to sit and gather your thoughts. However, hidden between the bustling streets are small gardens or courtyards perfect for seclusion. As long as you know where to look, there is always a space to escape the grind of London. Insider London’s pick out three great places: St Dunstan’s in the East Garden, Phoenix Garden and The Inner Temple Garden.
The Inner Temple Garden located opposite the Thames, is a beautiful serene place perfect to visit on your lunch break. Many professionals from the surrounding Barrister’s rooms retreat to the gardens for a chance sit in the sun. Although you are still aware of the city traffic in this garden, is well worth a visit, to be able to sit and watch the volunteer gardeners at work and appreciate the landscape.
Sitting in the courtyard, underneath a magnolia tree, is certainly a peaceful way to view Christopher Wren’s steeple of St Dunstan’s In the East Garden. The steeple lasted the Great Fire of London in 1966 and the Blitz of 1940-41. The church itself was rebuilt first after the great fire in 1817-1821, but lay in ruins for 25 years after the Blitz. The City of London decided to use the ruins to design a secluded garden to appreciate Wren’s remaining tower. St Dunstan’s beauty combined with the landscape and the burnt skeleton of the ruin, there is no doubt why it won the Landscape Heritage Award in 1976.
The Phoenix Garden is a volunteer run garden, originally inspired as a low maintenance all year round garden. First entering the garden, you have a sense of organised chaos – more of a jungle than your typical garden. There are many winding paths leading to smaller sections of the garden, a perfect spot to sit and contemplate the day away. Tucked away are plenty of garden benches, logs or stones to sit and admire their approach to wildlife gardening in the centre of Soho, near Tottenham Court Road. This garden is certainly isolated, as long as you steer clear of lunch hour on a week day. Phoenix Garden is open most days from 12 – 3pm and is also available for private hire.