By Max Leonard, le cool London
Days like this are the reason why we should all hope the Mayor follows through on his promise for London-wide broadband. If there was, then I could be sitting in a park filing this, rather than cooped up in a darkened room. But you don’t want to be in with the hoi polloi, sharing patchy grass with screaming toddlers, so here’s a guide to the best green spaces you probably never knew about.
A little bit of a cheat you might think – it’s in a park already – but tucked away in the middle of East London’s favourite green space is a little ornamental garden surrounded by high hedges. In the middle, elegantly sculpted hedges, a little palm tree and a now-empty plinth, a manicured surprise in the rough-and-ready expanse of Vicky P. It’s always quiet, and the benches around the edge are lovely sun-traps.
Only a stone’s throw from the City, yet Bunhill Fields is as calm as it comes. OK, most people in there are, well, dead, but the former dissenting cemetery, the final resting place of John Bunyan, William Blake and other famous non-conformists, is a beautiful spot to spend some time. The last burial, of a fifteen-year-old girl, took place in 1854.
Chic chic chic this west London choice. Step into an unassuming building on Kensington High Street, ascend in the lift and arrive in this bar that doubles as an opulent rooftop paradise. They mix a pretty mean (if expensive) G&T here, too, so don’t forget your cocktail dress.
As if the residents of NW1 weren’t spoiled enough already with Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill, they – and only they – can also use Park Square Gardens. Located at the south end of the park, and surrounded by discreet hedges, inside the iron railings lie grass tennis courts, mature trees and lovely lawns. Perfect for pimms, picnics and croquet.
This one’s so secret, I’m not even going to name it or point it out. Located somewhere near Tate Modern is a secret garden for Southwark residents only. They – and only they – can apply to be told the secret password. Yup, I said secret password. GET THAT FOR COOL. I’m a north Londoner at heart, so how do I know? A friend of mine was proposed to there; her name, and her fiancé’s, are now in the visitors book forever more.
Feel free to share your own ideas below – if you can bear to spill the beans.
Photo credit: Bunhill Fields by dinoboy
Kensington Roof Gardens
99 Kensington High Street
London W8 5SA