Taking Time Out: Where To Relax In London
by Becky on 13 January 2012
Whether you’re stressed from work or simply fancy a break, take time out to relax in London at one of these chilled spots - a few of our favourite places to relax in the city.
1. Hampstead Heath
Hampstead Heath is a far cry from the neatly trimmed lawns of Hyde Park, but its wonderful wildness is what makes it so special in the eyes of local Londoners. For those who aren’t familiar with it, Hampstead Heath is a vast open space that’s teeming with untamed greenery and luscious forest land. It’s the perfect place for relaxing on a lazy summer afternoon with a glass of Pimm’s in one hand and a bowl of strawberries in the other.
Contrary to popular belief London can get quite hot in the summer, so you might want to take a swim at some point. What better way to cool down than to brave the icy British waters? The Heath has three swimming ponds– one exclusively for ladies, one exclusively for men and a mixed pond for everyone to enjoy.
2. St. Katharine's Docks
St. Katharine’s Docks is situated right next to the Tower of London, yet it is so well hidden that it is often overlooked by passers-by. Since its development in 1125, the dock has undergone a great number of transformations and facelifts.
Today, this beautiful Marina is home to around 200 luxury yachts and barges as well as a number of office buildings and apartments. Sit on one of the stone benches and watch the boats go by when the lock is lifted. If you get a bit peckish, make your way over to the cheerful Dickens Inn for a bite to eat and a cold glass of beer.
3. Greenwich Observatory
The Greenwich Observatory may be a bit out of the way, but you couldn’t find a better place to escape from it all on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Wander through the huge university grounds and let the delicate sounds from the famous Trinity College of Music fill your ears.
If you’re feeling up to it, take the trek up the hill to see the magnificent observatory where Greenwich Meantime was first established. Take a moment to enjoy the beautiful views and consider the contrast between the old fashioned university buildings and the towering metallic skyscrapers of the City. When you need a rest, there are plenty of wide open spaces to sit down and tuck into a picnic.
4. Camley Street Natural Park
Created from an abandoned coal yard in the mid-eighties, Camley Street Natural Park has become a haven for London Wildlife Trust volunteers who want to indulge their passion for nature. Situated slap bang in the middle of King’s Cross, you can’t find a better place to come and enjoy peace and tranquillity in the heart of the city. If you’ve got some time before catching your train, come and chill out for a while in this lovely expanse of greenery. Keep an eye out for the rare Earthstar fungi which has been known to flourish within the park.
Close to the former media powerhouse of Fleet Street, the area of Temple is a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of the city streets. Have a wander through the square to see the wonderfully preserved lawyer’s offices and the old fashioned cobbled stone streets. If you’re interested in spirituality or religion, the beautiful circular Temple Church (made famous by the Da Vinci Code novel) is close by. There is also a well-kept garden in the centre of the square where you can sit down and put your feet up for a bit.
Images were provided by the author, Becky Sage