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London’s Secret Gardens

Kensington Roof Gardens

London is one of those cities you can easily get lost in amid the greenery that hides in the concrete jungle.  London is full of lush corners to wile away the hours or just grab a sunny spot for lunch during your city escape.  Some of London’s secret gardens are reserved for residents with a special key but others can be had for free or nearly free.  Here are just a few secret London escapes, off the beaten path:

Kew Gardens (£14) – is one of my all time favorites.  It’s a short 30 minute train ride from central London but seems like a world away.   This botanical gardens has what may be the world’s most famous glass pavilion, an aquatic garden and flora and fauna from all corners of the globe.  You can be transported to Asia, take a rickshaw or trolley ride…even walk among the trees.  There are not many special gardens where you can also visit a royal palace and check out a princess’s play cottage.  And this fall, the gardens kick off its first Kew Literary Festival.  Nearest Tube: Kew Gardens on the District Line

Little Venice (free) – is my soul’s home in London.  You can walk along the canal where river houseboats line your path.  Grab a bench and a coffee and watch the ducks float by.  And whatever you do, don’t walk along the canal at street level.  Take the footpath down to the water side.  You’ll find the boat owners very friendly and it’s a colorful place to spend a spring or summer day…heck, any day.  Nearest Tube:  Warwick Avenue on the Bakerloo Line

The Roof Gardens Kensington (99 Kenginston High Street) (free) – where else can you stroll through a Tudor Garden or an English Woodland with a giant chess set high atop the hustle and bustle of the High Street?  Here at The Roof Gardens.  Back in the 80s, part of this wonderful space rocked out as the chic-chic club Regine’s.  Today, Sir Richard Branson has turned it into an urban retreat complete with flamingos. Nearest Tube: High Street Kensington on the District and Circle Lines

Kensington Roof GardensDalston Easton Curve Garden (free) – This is just one of the many green spaces created along London’s old rail lines.  Well-established wildlife trees and shrubs such as hawthorn, hazel and birch were supplemented by butterfly bushes and other flowering plants along the derelict Eastern Curve railway.  Area residents also have a raised bed for growing tomatoes, peppers and herbs.  There are toilets onsite and do grab a cuppa or a scone at the garden’s cafe since income from the eatery is the main source of keeping this parkland free.  Nearest Rail:  Dalston Junction Overground

Author Lisa Fantino London

 

The Inns of Court (free) – grab a look inside the hidden world of London’s barristers.  You’ll not only find a lovely few garden spots to sit and ponder the day but you can also stop to visit Temple Church, the 12th century church built by the Knights Templar.  Don’t be put off by the austere Gothic facade of the Inns of Court.  Enter and explore the hidden world of London’s law societies and their private gardens during most weekdays.  Nearest Tube:  Temple on the Circle or District Lines

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