I’ve made it a point to ensure this blog is composed exclusively of my own stories and photographs. Now and then I’m asked to promote content for other people and usually I say no. However, I loved this list of places to go in London because as it’s pretty much my second home and I’d been to none of them — I thought it might be worth a share. Perhaps I am not alone and I can help you too discover places in London you didn’t know about until this post.
Regardless of the city you live in – whether it’s New York, Sydney or anywhere in between – it’s easy to feel trapped inside a great metropolis. With the cycle of commuting, working and socialising (if we’re lucky!) taking up most of the time in a given day, by the end of an average week you probably feel about as grey as a cloud of London fog.
Speaking of London, it’s actually pretty easy to discover a bit of momentary calm amidst all the commotion — whether you’re working in the city, or just visiting. It goes without saying, not everyone has the money to fund a summer trip abroad, even with the amount of low cost holidays and airline codes around nowadays. If you’re looking for a replacement oasis to soothe your soul this summer, here are a few top picks for the best beauty spots in the city!
The London LibraryYou can’t beat a bookstore or library for a bit of peace and quiet, and although there are lots to choose from – with the British or King’s College libraries also coming close – the old London is a bit more magical than most. Founded in 1841, its past patrons include the likes of Dickens, Tennyson and George; but if the echoes of such literary legends aren’t enough to draw you in, the sheer grandeur and beauty of the book-lined walls will have you browsing the shelves for hours. The only downside is that it is a member-only library; however you can get a reference pass for £10 a day- so if you’re the type who gets lost in Waterstones during your lunch break, a dedicated trip is likely to be well worth it.
St. James’s ParkFrom Kew Gardens to Hampstead Heath, there are endless places to get a bit of fresh air in London. However, in our ever so humble opinion, St. James’s comes out top. Although the smallest of the eight Royal Parks, its lesser size certainly does nothing to dampen its loveliness; located in the very heart of the city – surrounded by the magnitude of Buckingham Palace and St. James’s Palace –it is the place to go to sample London in its ultimate ceremonial finery. With its tranquil central lake and beautifully kept gardens, it’s the picnic-spot to beat.
The Royal ObservatoryThere’s nothing like a starry sky for a bit of reflection; but of course, thanks to reams of traffic pollution, it can be a bit difficult to find one in London. Unless you go to a planetarium of course! Located in the Royal Museums in Greenwich, the Royal Observatory is best known for being the location of the prime meridian but is now also home to a planetarium to rival the world’s best. Combining state-of-the art technology and scientific research, a show here is a fully immersive experience (and is bound to provide a better escape than any two hour flight ever could).
Geffrye Museum Period GardensYou might assume the only type of oasis in Shoreditch would be its beer gardens, and yet, just yards away from the hustle, bustle and throng of bursting café’s and pubs lies the Geffrye Museum. A place designed to show how life in Britain has changed over the past four hundred years; its beautifully furnished rooms and peaceful herb gardens provide great insight into the evolution of society as well as the perfect place to find a few moments of peace. If you live or work nearby but have never visited, it should be the next destination on your list. Trust us, you’ll be bowled over that such a place exists in the very heart of hipster London.
If you can’t afford a flight to the Mediterranean this summer, it doesn’t mean you can’t escape for a while. Take this advice and get yourself to any one of the aforementioned beauty spots, and I bet you’ll quickly discover a side to London you never even knew existed. I certainly didn’t!
Photo Credit: Paul Raftery, UGArdener, John & Tina Reid, Markle1