London has it all.
Centuries of unrivaled history, tantalizing restaurants and bars, cultural events found nowhere else on earth, and the friendliest people on the planet. Ok, maybe scrap that last one. We’re not that bad though. Just a bit on the frowny side.
Unsurprisingly all of London’s charm, attractions, and convenience comes with the price every major metropolis has to pay. Constant, unceasing, cacophony.
No matter how much London has to offer, the hustle and bustle can all get a little bit too much at times. Maybe that explains the frowns.
From the outside looking in it may appear like the heaving mass of London moves at a 100 mph. And it does, but fear not, there are many spots in the city locals utilize to slooooow down the pace. Places we go to relax, and to turn that London frown upside down.
So if you are new in London and feel you need a break, slow down the pace, and find some much needed alone time to check these places out.
Quiet Places in London to Chill
Hampstead Heath – Hampstead
This awesome park is 790 green acres of dreamy hills, usable ponds, ancient woodlands, and a lido! All this and awesome views of the skyline too! Parliament Hill is the largest hill in the park, and its views over London are protected by law, meaning there will never be a huge billboard blocking the city (errr, hopefully).
Do yourself a favor even if you are only visiting London for a short time and check this park out.
St Dunstan in the East – London Bridge
This 11th century church was extensively damaged during the Second World War. The remaining ruins, however, have been turned into an oasis in the middle of bustling London. Tourists walk by this place all the time without noticing, so make sure not make that mistake too.
There is a well manicured lawn, and a fountain within the ruins, as well as plenty of benches arranged in a meditative circle. A true gem in the heart of London, and a great place to chill the fudge out.
Lesnes Abbey – Abbey Wood
This little gem in South East London contains the ruins of a 12th century abbey and 69 hectares of thick woodland. The ruins of the abbey are fully accessible and free for you to explore.
The accompanying woodland is regularly covered in thick blankets of bluebells, contains 3 ponds that are home to many birds, and has many benches and picnic spots to pass the hours.
The Royal Parks – Multiple Locations
There are 8 royal parks dotted across London. Greenwich Park is my local and personal favorite – not being biased at all. The park includes an extremely secretive deer enclosure and an often deserted flower garden that has ponds, tones of squirrels, and beautiful flower arrangements.
Visit the Royal Parks website for a full list of all 8 parks, and what they have to offer.
Kyoto Garden – Kensington
Situated within Holland Gardens, this serene Japanese garden was donated by the city of Kyoto to London and celebrates the friendship between Japan and the UK – how nice!
Here you will find everything you associate with Japanese; waterfalls, plenty of fish, stone lanterns, contemplation gardens, and peacocks roaming free!
Mile End Park – Mile End
Regent’s Canal runs through this cool park, allowing you to watch canal boats silently pass by as you relax, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the city. If you are into boats and canal locks (and who isn’t into canal locks?!) you can watch the locks as they raise and lower the boats to different levels of the waterway.
The park itself is a great place to chill out and includes a small ecological area for you to relax in.
Crossrail Place Roof Garden – Canary Wharf
This 300 meter long luscious roof garden is open to the public until 9 PM. The main path through the garden takes lots of detours into the varied trees and plants. There are also lots of little hidden benches to relax on – during the lunch hours you will find city bankers having a peaceful lunch here.
The garden also contains a 60 seat performance area where community activities take place.
The Barbican Centre – Moorgate
The strangely unattractive glass and concrete mass that is the Barbican Center is Europe’s largest arts and conference center. As well as playing host to a myriad of events it also contains London’s second biggest conservatory.
Home to exotic fish and over 2,000 species of tropical plants and trees, the Center is a pretty good way to spend a few hours on a Sunday, which is unfortunately the only day it is open to the public.
The Barbican also has a huge square at its center with water features and little hideaways where you can read, work or study for hours.
Find out more about the center here.
Stave Hill Ecological Park – Rotherhithe
Stave Hill focuses on urban ecology and is also a nature reserve. The area contains varied habitats from wetlands to woodlands and tours through the park are available which are led by a park warden.
You are also free to explore for yourself and wish away the hours, if you so choose.
Postman’s Park – St Pauls
Postman’s Park is located in central London, a short walk north from St Paul’s Cathedral.
Postman’s Park’s “main attraction” (other than being a really cool place to chill) is the Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice. Erected in 1900s this monument is a memorial to ordinary people who died while saving the lives of others and who might otherwise be forgotten. Really cool, huh?
The Park’s garden is covered by trees providing a lot of shade and has many benches that are surrounded by gorgeous plant arrangements. There are many pathways for you to explore and lose yourself in the middle of London.
Highly recommended if you are looking to get away in the very heart of the city.
Where to Stay in London
London can be a pricey city to visit, so for those traveling on a budget saving every and any penny on accommodations is pretty essential. Thankfully there are some really great hostels in London that can help you keep costs down.
Wombats Hostel London: Wombat’s runs a well known and high quality chain of hostels in Europe, and its London hostel is no exception. Sporting multiple common areas, a huge kitchen, and an awesome on site pub, Wombat’s is without a doubt one of the best hostels in London. Click here to read reviews or for more information about Wombats Hostel London!
Astor Hyde Park Hostel: The hostel is located in a beautiful Victorian Townhouse and sits right across the street from stunning Hyde Park, in one of London’s poshest neighborhoods. The location, awesome staff, and its relaxed vibe make it one of the best hostels in London. Click here to read reviews or for more information about Astor Hyde Park Hostel in London!
For more affordable accommodation options check out our guide to the best hostels in London!
About the Author
Michael Gregory of the site The Wandering Broski is a 25 year old travel blogger from London. He has a distinct love for London and all that it has to offer, and wants to share the glorious city with you. His tips, top 10’s and adventures can be found at thewanderingbroski.com, check him out on Twitter for some awesome pictures and articles from around the world!
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