London’s Top 5 Secret Gardens

London’s Top 5 Secret Gardens

London’s Top 5 Secret Gardens

London, though an urban metropolis, is interspersed with myriad parks and verdant spaces. The city’s green retreats are almost as iconic as the historical structures and glistening skyscrapers defining its skyline, but there are many lesser-known, more elusive corners of the city. Join us as we bypass the Richmond and Hyde Parks of the capital and instead discover the top 5 secret gardens in London.

1. St Dunstan in the East Church Garden

St Dunstan Gardens in London
A church ruin reclaimed by nature - St Dunstan in the East church garden is a sanctuary in the city

Originally built in 1100, St Dunstan in the East has been repaired and redeveloped many times, having even survived the Great Fire of London in 1666. The historic structure also features a steeple (which is, thankfully, still standing) designed by the great architect Sir Christopher Wren and added in 1701. However, the church suffered major damage in the Blitz of 1941 and only the tower, steeple and north and south walls survived. It was ultimately decided that the church would not be rebuilt but instead transformed into a public garden. Today the garden is filled with beautiful flowers, vines and trees and features a seating area in which countless visitors escape the bustling city streets to find tranquillity in the church grounds. This unique location is the ideal spot to visit in the afternoon with a flask of coffee, good book, and hours of time at your disposal to relax and unwind: without doubt one of the very best secret gardens in London.

2. Streatham Rookery

Bee on flowers
The Rookery is filled with flower beds which attract an array of wildlife

Streatham Common is an expansive green space frequented by joggers, dog walkers and picnickers year-round. However, few know of the secret garden within its boundaries – Streatham Rookery. Formerly the site of a mineral spring spa, the Rookery is today one of the most beloved gardens in London. Replanted in the 1900s as an Old English Garden, the space features a woodland walk, pergola, pond with fountain and ‘White Garden’ – comprised exclusively of white flowers. The popularity of the ‘White Garden’ alone is said to have inspired the one at Sissinghurst, and it was even frequented by Queen Mary, consort of George V. Finish your relaxing visit to the Rookery with a spell in The Rookery Café – a perfect end to a perfect afternoon.

3. Hampstead Hill Garden

Hampstead gardens of London
The pergola at Hampstead Hill Garden is wonderfully eccentric

Another garden hidden within a green expanse is Hampstead Hill Garden, nestled within the grounds of Hampstead Heath. This unusual structure and garden was once the site of Lord Leverhulme’s lavish London parties – for which he had the site specifically constructed in the 1900s. Though the pergola and grounds fell into disarray following the Lord’s passing, it was rescued by the City of London in 1989 (and continues to be restored), enabling thousands of curious visitors to explore the now serene pergola and accompanying garden paths. Canopies of plants and beautifully adventurous wall creepers abound, resulting in a mystical, anachronistic experience with views of contemporary London beyond…

4. Phoenix Garden

gardens in London garden glowers
Beautiful wildflowers can be found throughout the wonderfully wild Phoenix Garden

The very aptly named Phoenix Garden quite literally rose from the ashes – having been developed on a former WW2 bombsite! This community garden is completely maintained by volunteers and is geared towards wildlife and tranquillity. Visitors can enjoy a range of bird and insect species which flock to the garden to enjoy its range of indigenous and exotic plant life, in addition to the West End’s only frogs! Indeed, the garden’s verdancy is partly due to the inner-city climate, providing an especially warm atmosphere in which a range of species can thrive. To help maintain its upkeep, the garden can even be hired out and includes a covered area, perfect for birthdays and other events. A truly hidden gem, this is certainly one of the lesser-known (and eccentric) gardens in London.

5. Kyoto Garden

kyoto garden pond
The beautiful rockpool in Kyoto Garden presents a superb photo opportunity

Last but by no means least, Kyoto Garden in Holland Park is a true treasure that has somehow remained elusive to most non-Londoners. Opened in 1991 as a gift from the city of Kyoto, the garden quickly became popular for its aesthetic beauty and unique Japanese feel. Stone lanterns, peacocks, koi carp and a serene tiered waterfall all create a peaceful, Zen atmosphere craved by many in the capital. Providing ample opportunities for photography, an afternoon stroll with a camera is a perfect way to enjoy this humbling space. Alternatively, simply sit, observe, listen, and relax.

Our list of top 5 secret gardens in London complete, you’re hopefully well on the way to booking your perfect London break. Explore our entire portfolio to find the perfect property for you. New to luxury serviced apartments? Not to worry – we have all you need to know right here.

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