What are the best lesser-known parks in London for a quiet afternoon?

London, a city known for its vibrant life and bustling streets, holds an impressive array of quiet, green spots - a perfect respite from the city's everyday hustle. While popular gardens such as Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens might be the first ones to come to mind, there are many lesser-known parks in London that are just waiting to be discovered. These hidden gems offer the perfect atmosphere for a tranquil day trip; an escape to nature right in the heart of the city. So, let's embark on this hidden garden tour and uncover the best parks that London has to offer.

A Visit to St Dunstan in the East

Situated between Tower Hill and Monument tube stations, St Dunstan in the East is undeniably one of London's best-kept secrets. Originally built around 1100, this Church of England parish was largely destroyed during the Second World War. Instead of reconstructing it, the decision was made to turn the ruins into a public garden.

As you walk through its iron gates, you'll find yourself transported into a different time. The park is a beautiful blend of nature and history, with its gothic architecture intertwined with climbing plants. St Dunstan is a great spot to escape the urban buzz and spend a peaceful afternoon.

The Enchanting Bonnington Square Garden

In the heart of Vauxhall, a short walk from the station, you'll find Bonnington Square Garden. This place has an incredibly rich history, being a squatters' haven in the 70s before it was turned into a vibrant community garden. Now, it's a slice of tropical paradise in the middle of the city.

The square has a mix of exotic plants, including banana trees, giving the garden a sense of being in a warm, far-off place. The resident-run Café in the Garden, open at weekends, is a great spot to stop for a cup of tea as you enjoy the tranquil surroundings.

Camley Street Natural Park: A Hidden Oasis

Nestled alongside the bustling Kings Cross station, Camley Street Natural Park is a true hidden gem. It's maintained by the London Wildlife Trust and despite its modest size, this place is a haven for local wildlife.

The park is teeming with a stunning variety of birds, butterflies, and other insects. It's a great place for nature enthusiasts, or for those of you who want some quiet time amidst the greenery. The park's website provides information on the various flora and fauna you might find during your visit to help you make the most out of your trip.

The Understated Beauty of Parkland Walk

Often overlooked, Parkland Walk is a linear green pathway running between Finsbury Park and Highgate station. It used to be a railway line and now, it's London's longest Local Nature Reserve, offering a peaceful, scenic route to those wanting to escape the city's concrete jungle.

With its wildflowers, thickets and waving trees, the walk delivers the illusion of being deep in the countryside, a far cry from the boroughs of Haringey and Islington. This spot is perfect for an afternoon stroll, jog or cycle ride.

Discovering the Phoenix Garden

Tucked away behind the crowded streets of Soho is the Phoenix Garden. This community garden is a vibrant mix of flowers, shrubs and various sculptures. It's also a wildlife site, housing birds, insects and occasionally, you might spot a fox.

The Phoenix Garden is a testament to the power of community effort. It's managed by volunteers and is open every day, providing a green sanctuary in one of London's busiest streets. It's a great place to take a quiet break and absorb the natural beauty around.

In conclusion, London is not just about the hustle, the grand museums or the famous landmarks. It's also about the lesser-known, quiet corners that are just waiting to be explored. So, why not take time off your busy schedule and embark on a trip to discover these hidden parks? After all, there's nothing like a peaceful day in the midst of nature to soothe and rejuvenate. So, grab your picnic basket, put on your walking shoes and set out to find these hidden gems! Happy exploring!

A Trip to the Serene Bunhill Fields

Centrally located between the Old Street and Moorgate stations, Bunhill Fields is a historic cemetery turned public garden. Often overlooked in favour of the more popular Hyde Park or Richmond Park, this hidden gem in central London, offers a unique blend of history and tranquility, away from the city's hustle.

Bunhill Fields, once a burial ground, now houses many famous graves, including those of poet William Blake and writer Daniel Defoe. Its rich history, combined with its lush green space, makes it a perfect spot for a quiet day trip. Grab a book, sit under the shade of the old towering trees, and enjoy a peaceful afternoon among the rich tapestry of London's history and nature.

Walking around, you'll see well-maintained paths lined with benches, providing a perfect setting for a leisurely stroll. Its meticulously cared-for flower beds bloom in a riot of colours, providing visual delight to visitors. Bunhill Fields is open every day from 7:30 am to dusk, offering ample time to soak in its serene beauty.

The Exquisite Kyoto Garden in Holland Park

Holland Park, located near the Holland Park station, houses one of the most exquisite gems London has to offer - the Kyoto Garden. This Japanese garden, gifted by the city of Kyoto, is a slice of the Far East right in the heart of London.

The garden is a stunning blend of traditional Japanese elements like stone lanterns, tiered waterfalls, and a large pond filled with koi carp. The carefully manicured trees and shrubs add to its beauty, while the resident peacocks add a dash of colour.

The Kyoto Garden offers a uniquely peaceful and calming experience. The sound of the waterfall, the sight of vibrantly coloured fish and the overall tranquillity provide a much-needed escape from the city's buzz. Visit during autumn to see the garden explode into a spectrum of rich, warm colours.


London's charm lies not just in its high-profile parks like Hyde Park, Kew Gardens, or Primrose Hill, but also in its lesser-known parks and gardens. Each of these hidden gems offers a unique experience - whether it's a day trip to the historical Bunhill Fields or a serene walk in the Kyoto Garden in Holland Park, each visit promises a memorable retreat from the city's everyday hustle.

So, next time you find yourself craving some green space, remember to go off the beaten path and explore these lesser-known parks in London. Soak in the tranquillity, appreciate the local flora and fauna, and let the history of these places transport you to a different era. A visit to these hidden gems will undoubtedly leave you feeling refreshed and invigorated. So, what are you waiting for? Let the exploration begin!