5 must-see hidden gardens in London

While Britain’s capital is best known for its endless list of royal attractions, historical monuments galore and a booming cultural scene, there are lesser-known gems and hidden gardens in London to uncover…

London’s secret gardens are a must-see for anyone visiting the city, especially those with an interest in horticulture and botanics. Grab a takeaway coffee, pick out your favourite book and hunker down for a free day out in one of these 5 must-visit hidden gardens in London.

Phoenix Garden, Soho

Phoenix Garden SohoEscape the hustle and bustle of Shaftesbury Avenue and venture into Soho’s Phoenix Garden. Built and maintained by its local community, this pretty little spot is a must-visit for anyone in need of a break from the city rush. As well as surviving a potential uprooting by CrossRail and a 2017 revamp, the garden itself is a symbol of endurance.

Built in the 1980s using leftover bomb rubble from WWII, the garden has since been a haven for locals to take a quiet moment. Inside, you’ll find a whole host of bee-friendly flowers, thriving plants and pollinators galore.

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Postman’s Park, St Paul’s Cathedral

Postman's Park LondonPostman’s Park is the tranquil garden of dreams and the perfect place to sit and rest after a busy afternoon at St Paul’s Cathedral. Named after the General Post Office workers who once frequented the park at lunchtime, this historic spot is often missed by tourists.

Despite being slightly off the beaten path, the garden has lots to enjoy, including seasonal bedding displays and plenty of benches to rest on. You can even pay witness to the famous Watts Memorial, built in 1900 by Victorian painter and philanthropist, GF Watts. Hop off the tube at St Paul’s and take the Aldersgate Street exit to visit.

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Hampstead Hill Garden and Pergola

Hampstead Hill Garden LondonHampstead Heath is one of London’s most popular spots, especially in the summer months. Sprawling over 800 acres and offering 18 ponds (some for swimming), it’s certainly worth the visit. One of the park’s most underrated landmarks is the Hampstead Hill Garden and the famous Pergola, commissioned by Lord Leverhulme in 1904.

While the Manor House the gardens once accompanied has since been demolished, this fascinating landscape offers visitors the chance to travel back in time. Why not imagine you’re in your very own episode of Bridgerton by galavanting around the gardens yourself? Experience breathtaking views of the Heath and explore the Pergola in all its rundown glory.

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Crystal Palace Park Maze

Crystal Palace Garden MazeLose yourself in the historic maze of Crystal Palace Park, famous for the historic event that occurred here in 1909. During a Boy Scouts rally, a small group of girls dared to approach Lord Baden Powell, requesting he set up a similar organisation for girls. Soon after, the Girl Guides was formed. Originally planted in the 1860s, this expansive labyrinthian garden was re-grown in 1987 by Bromley Council, following its original design.

In celebration of the Girl Guiding Centenary celebrations in 2009, the ancient maze was completely redesigned again and renovated for all to enjoy. This included adding new artwork and granite monoliths too. In the vicinity, you’ll also find a beautiful fishing lake, a farm, a museum AND a dinosaur trail – a perfect free day out for the whole family.

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World Peace Garden, Camden

World Peace Garden CamdenDespite being incredibly central, Camden’s famous World Peace Garden is one of the capital’s hidden gems. Once a wasteland, transformed into an award-winning community garden by volunteers, the woodland space is a great spot for a cost-free afternoon wander. Explore winding pathways, a stage for outdoor performances and a trio of small ponds, as well as a range of beautiful plants and wildlife.

Often hosting tea parties, puppet shows and competitive chess tournaments, the tranquil garden is a location suited to people of all ages. Take a picnic, walk the grounds or sit down to contemplate life – surrounded by some of London’s incredible horticultural beauty.

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