The words ‘relaxing’ and ‘chilled out’ don’t necessarily spring to mind when thinking about London. However, although it is one of the busiest cities in the world, London can actually be a gloriously peaceful city. Full of hidden retreats, the city is famous for its hidden nooks and crannies, providing locals and tourists alike a peaceful and calming area to waste away lazy afternoons. So if the pace of London life is all getting a bit too much, try heading to one of these beautiful spots.
Measuring 56 hectares, Burgess Park is Southwark’s biggest park. And what’s more, it is also one of London’s finest – yet most underutilised. Stretching from Camberwell and Walworth in the west to Peckham and the Old Kent Road in the east, Burgess Park offers a plethora of greenery ideal for getting away from it all and giving yourself time alone(ish) with your thoughts. Equally stunning on cold winter days as it is in the hot summer months, Burgess Park is the ideal spot for relaxing, reading and playing games with friends.
Camden is one of the city’s most popular areas. Multicultural and creative, the area is always busy with markets, bars and live music, so it may come as a surprise to be featuring on a list of the most peaceful parts of London. However Camden Arts Centre really is a million miles away from its surroundings. The moment you walk into the 19th century building, you are filled with a sense of calm, culture and distance. The home of intriguing art exhibitions and classes, as well as a hidden garden out back, it really is a hidden gem in the heart of London’s arts capital.
Open every day, the Barbican Cinema Café is a stunningly peaceful retreat. With free Wi-Fi available, plenty of space and a tranquil atmosphere, the café is the perfect, creative space to get on with work, read a book or meet friends. And if you happen to be there on a Sunday, pop round the corner to the Conservatory on the roof of the Barbican Centre. A sheer oasis of tropical plants, it provides a stunning backdrop and contrasts the brick and concrete of the centre perfectly in one of London’s most spectacular spots.
Hidden between Fleet Street and Chancery Lane, Gough Square is a little known nugget, only famous to those who have ventured far enough in. Instantly transporting you back to Sherlock’s time, the area is typical London. Stunning buildings surround the paved square where horses and carts once graced. Now however, you can sit and enjoy a spot of people-watching on the benches that adorn the square, before paying Dr Samuel Johnson’s house-turned-stunning-museum a visit (and his beloved cat Hodge, who sits outside). If you’re feeling fed up of London, it is definitely worth visiting Gough Square. After all, it was Samuel Johnson who said “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life”.