Think you’ve uncovered the entirety of London‘s green spaces? Think again. Steer clear of the crowds and travel to one of London’s secret gardens. From a rooftop vegetable plot to a former parish church, here’s our pick of the best – just don’t tell anyone.
London’s Best Secret Gardens
St Mary’s Secret Garden
A community garden in Hackney, St Mary’s Secret Garden has been blooming for more than 25 years, inviting locals to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of gardening. Amongst an array of plant life, you’ll find a tranquil pond, wildflower meadow and beehives in the garden woodland.
Find it: 50 Pearson St, Hackney. stmaryssecretgarden.org.uk
The Garden At 120
OK, ‘secret’ is generous – but The Garden At 120 is infinitely quieter than its Fenchurch Street neighbour, the Sky Garden. Here, feel the breeze in your hair in the open air, and feel smack bang in the middle of it all, with skyscapers shooting up all around you. If you manage to get up there during a weekday, you’ll find one of London’s most tranquil, sky high spots.
Find it: 120 Fenchurch St, London EC3M 5BA. thegardenat120.com
You’ll find this Japanese-inspired oasis located within Kensington’s Holland Park. Surrounding Holland House, the tranquil garden transports visitors to East Asia with its pretty waterfall, stone lanterns and Japanese plants. You’ll even find peacocks wandering through the greenery.
Find it: Holland Park, Holland Park Ave, Kensington. rbkc.gov.uk
St Dunstan In The East
Less secret since its appearance on TikTok, Saint Dunstan in the East is a former parish church torn down by the Second World War, which has been transformed by nature into a flourishing garden with plants and vines sweeping the church ruins. Hidden within the City of London, you’ll find this pocket of greenery located between London Bridge and the Tower of London.
Find it: St Dunstan’s Hill, London. cityoflondon.gov.uk
The Hill Garden & Pergola
What was once the private garden of an impressive Hampstead manor house is now a paradisiacal plot available for all to enjoy. Overrun with greenery, wisteria weaves amongst the property ruins and pergola. Influencers take note: this one is popular on Instagram.
Find it: The Pergola, Inverforth Close, London. cityoflondon.gov.uk
Chelsea Physic Garden
Dating back to 1673, Chelsea Physic is London’s oldest botanic garden. Nestled alongside the River Thames, the garden is home to an impressive 5,000 functional plants. Explore The Garden of Medicinal Plants, discover an array of rare species in the Atlantic Islands Border or take to the Pond Rockery (supposedly the oldest in Europe) and be sure to indulge a spot of ‘garden antipasti’ at the Physic Garden Café.
Find it: 66 Royal Hospital Rd, Chelsea. chelseaphysicgarden.co.uk
The Culpeper’s Rooftop Garden
One certainly doesn’t expect to find a garden occupying the roof of a London pub, but The Culpeper begs to differ. The Spitalfields pub’s 1,400 square foot rooftop garden is filled with growing vegetables, herbs and greenery which provides the kitchen with a variety of homegrown produce – plus, the perfect spot to enjoy a pint or two.
Find it: 40 Commercial St, Spitalfields. theculpeper.com
St Paul’s Church Gardens
No, not that one. While St Paul’s Church in Covent Garden is instantly recognisable, most don’t know about its adjoining ‘secret’ garden, a peaceful hideaway at the heart of the West End.
Find it: Bedford St, Covent Garden. actorschurch.org