This week we’d like to share with you some lesser known spots in London to enjoy these soaring summer temperatures. London is one of the greenest cities in the world for its size and is home to over 8 million trees. It’s full of many weird and wonderful places to explore. If you are not at Ham Yard Hotel’s Roof Terrace or Number Sixteen’s garden this weekend, here are some more hidden spots to explore.
1. St Dunstan’s in the East Church Garden
St Dunstan’s Hill, London EC3R 5DD – closes at 7pm
St Dunstan in the East Church Garden is a truly unique space set within the ruins of a Wren church. This green oasis has benches and a fountain with greenery draping the historic walls. The church was destroyed in WWII and the ruins have been preserved as a public garden.
2. Isabella Plantation, Richmond Park
Richmond Park, Richmond TW10 5HS – closes at 5.15pm
There is a secret garden in the centre of Richmond Park. Embark on a walk through the grassy fields and you will discover a park within a park. Entry is free and once inside you are presented with an oasis of calm. It might be late in the season for the rhododendrons to be in full bloom, but there is plenty of other wildlife on display and it’s a great opportunity to experience Richmond Park at the same time.
3. Chislehurst Caves, Chislehurst
Chislehurst Caves, Old Hill, Chislehurst, Kent, BR7 5QX – closes at 4pm
A short journey from central London will take you to the Chislehurst Caves. This is a great place to avoid the heat at 30 metres underground. First opened in 1900, there are almost 15 acres of man made caves in this secret spot. It was one of the largest underground air raid shelters during The Blitz and they protected around 15,000 people. During the 1950’s to 1970’s, the caves were used as a music venue with the likes of The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin playing there. Today the caves are an attraction open to the public and are filled with years of history.
4. St. John’s Lodge Gardens, Regent’s Park
This was a garden designed for meditation by Robert Weir Shultz in 1889. St John’s Lodge is owned by the Sultan of Brunei and he has chosen to keep the garden public for all to enjoy. Each part of the garden feels like its own room decorated with wonderful plants. We love finding these little oases of calm in the midst of London. Similar to Isabella Plantation, it’s a park within a park. See if you can find the ‘Hylas and the Nymph’ statue by Henry Pegram.
5. The Crystal Grotto at Painshill
Portsmouth Rd, Cobham KT11 1BE – last entry at 4pm
Painshill is considered one of the foremost and finest examples of the English Landscape Movement. The English Landscape Movement came about in the 19th century where gardens had to have gentle rolling hills against a forest backdrop as well as water, either in the form of a lake or pond. Painshill ticks all of those boxes and even has gothic temples and a crystal grotto. The crystal grotto was created using over 10,000 crystals that sparkle in the reflection of the water. It is a beautiful place to walk, explore, have a picnic and while away those summer days.
We hope you’ll feel inspired by nature over these coming weeks and enjoy all that the outdoors has to offer. Don’t forget to wear your sunscreen!