City life is amazing – there’s always something to see, do or experience, people to meet and learn from, and a general buzz about life.
But sometimes we need to get away from it all; take a step back and find some respite in more natural things and places. This is especially important during the colder months, when the days shorten, the leaves fall and the sun seems not to shine quite so much.
According to mental health charity Mind, nature is proven to be beneficial to both our mental and physical wellbeing, working to improve our mood, reduce feelings of stress, anger and loneliness, and improve our activity levels.
Luckily for us, there are plenty of spaces in and around the City where nature presides, in the form of parks, allotments, open gardens and small sanctuaries, among other places.
So, grab your coats, because we’re heading outside to explore what Mother Nature has to offer in the City.
London Dock by St George, Wapping
Tucked away in the splendour of gorgeous new development London Dock by St George, you’ll find a smattering of beautifully landscaped gardens. Though they are nestled beneath sprawling residential buildings and located just moments from Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, St Katherines Docks and the City, the gardens offer a calm oasis from the hustle and bustle of urban life.
Wander around the open space, run through the water feature, take a pew underneath the bamboo arches, and if you can, try to spot the bug hotel.
Though London Dock won’t be fully completed until 2030, including the rest of the 7.5-acre gardens, those that have already been landscaped are truly a wonderful place to run away to on your lunch break.
Wapping E1W 2AA
Just off Cannon Street, right next to St Paul’s Cathedral, step through a circle of trees and bushes and you’ll find a quiet spot for relaxing on your own and socialising with others.
Known as Reflection Graden, this little pocket of flora and water isn’t jam-packed with tonnes of greenery, but it offers a little burst of nature for when you don’t have too much time to spend searching further afield.
In the middle of Reflection Garden, surrounded by evergreen bushes sits a beautiful pool of water, ideal for inspiring quiet reflection and meditation. With the backdrop of St Paul’s Cathedral, and surrounded by busy London roads, this green space offers a perfect contrast to urbanity, and is a true symbol of balance.
Cannon Street EC4M 9AF
Finsbury Circus Gardens
Set within the historic surroundings of Finsbury Circus, you can enjoy the largest public open space in the Square Mile – Finsbury Circus Gardens. With a lush lawn, and colourful flowers and bushes, the circular gardens offer a tranquil spot to read a book, listen to a podcast or ponder your own thoughts.
As part of new proposals by the City of London Corporation, Finsbury Circus Gardens are due to undergo major revamp in the years to come, in order to transform the space into a hub for both wildlife and people.
The proposals aim to retain and enhance the Gardens’ character of a green haven, deliver more varied and colourful plantings and introduce additional seating throughout.
We can’t wait to see how the gorgeous Finsbury Circus Gardens’ blossoms.
Finsbury Circus Gardens EC2M 7DT
If you take a short journey outside of the City and hop across the River Thames, you’ll find yourself at Southwark Park. Covering 25 hectares, it was one of the earliest parks to be opened by the Metropolitan Board of Works, and boats London’s first public memorial to a working class man: a spectacular drinking fountain.
Complete with plenty of grass, trees, flowers and bushes, as well as a splendid lake, Southwark Gardens is a real gem of London, and ideal for long autumnal strolls. Sit yourself beside the lake and bask in the freshness of a November morning, and you are sure to start your day with a smile on your face.
Gomm Road SE16 2ET
St James’s Park
For one of the capital’s most beautiful green spaces, head to St James’s Gardens in the heart of ceremonial London. Surrounded by some of the country’s most famous landmarks including Buckingham Palace, Clarence House, St James’s Palace and Westminster, you’d think that people would visit merely for the architecture. Luckily, that is not so.
St James’s Park is a tranquil place, with perfectly planted flowerbeds, a calm lake and gorgeous shrubberies, as well as abundant wildlife.
The park provides habitats for a variety of different species, including a wide range of bird life, like ducks, blue tits, robins, tawny owls, great spotted woodpeckers and pelicans (yes, really!). If you’re lucky enough, you might even spot foxes scuttling by in the evening, badgers foraging for food or a Nathusius’ Pipistrelle hunting, a small chestnut-coloured bat.
Morning, noon or evening, we recommend grabbing a deckchair and watching the world go by.
London SW1H 9AP