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My picks for the most peaceful places around London, to find a slice of solitude without ever having to leave the city.
London is a city of many talents. Its draw is its mind-boggling variety – the endless options for restaurants, attractions, bars, and events at any time of the day, week, or year. It’s the epicenter of the UK, and a consistent contender for the most popular city in Europe (a regular battle with Paris for that title most years).
However, the constant hustle and bustle can be as exhausting as it is invigorating. The beeping horns, loud sirens, the pollution, mad drivers that are always in a rush to be somewhere.
It’s hard to find stillness in a city of 8.1 million. And stillness is simply not the vibe of London. Its intoxicating atmosphere is one of constant movement, everyone seems to have a part to play as the Londoner who has places to be and no time to waste.
But, even though it may seem impossible at times, there are peaceful hideaways to be found in London, if you know where to look.
Many of my friends who have lived in the city for some time admit to craving a more peaceful existence once in awhile, which is probably why London has such an impressive amount of green spaces in the middle of the city.
No matter how much you love where you live, everyone needs a little break away from city life at times, right? And, interestingly enough, these spaces ended up being some of my favorite remarkable spots around London.
Whether you’ve lived in London for awhile or you’re visiting for a short amount of time, these are my picks for the most beautiful spots to get away from the city, without ever having to leave it.
Take a break from the city for an afternoon and pretend that you just stepped into Italy’s famous canals at Little Venice.
On a sunny day, it’s hard to think of a more a beautiful place in London than these glistening canals, with their personable boats and colorful bridges.
Take a stroll along the canals, sit in a couple of green spaces along the way, enjoy a boat ride, and maybe drop into one of the waterside pubs or cafes. This is a tranquil place in the middle of the city to get away from the hustle. And also a romantic place to take a date, or enjoy a good read by yourself.
How to get there
Little Venice is located just north of Paddington. Take the tube to either Paddington or Warwick Avenue station and walk for 5-10 minutes to get to the canals.
If you’re a garden-enthusiast, or even if you’re not, Kew Gardens is an impressive spot in west London to get lost in nature and feel like you’re a million miles away from the city.
It’s further out than Little Venice, and can get very busy on the weekends, but if you’re willing to make the journey out there and go during the week, you won’t be disappointed.
These royal botanic gardens offer 130 hectares of greenery. There are treetop walkways, more than a few greenhouses, and plenty of colorful plants and flowers. Kew Gardens is one of the most famous gardens in the world, and it also happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
How to get there
There are a number of ways to get to the gardens. As usual in London, it’s generally faster to get there on the tube. You can take the tube to Kew Gardens station (500m to Victoria Gate), by train to Kew Bridge station (800m to Elizabeth Gate), or take bus 65 that stops at Victoria and Lion Gate.
Note: It costs £16 if you buy tickets online, £17.75 if you buy at the gate. I recommend buying tickets ahead of time, especially if you go on the weekend so you don’t have to waste time waiting in line.
Being one of the most popular parks in London, you might question how peaceful Hyde Park really is. But besides being popular, it’s also huge and never feels busy because everything is so spread out. It’s also one of the easiest places to get to if you want a quick break from the city.
Hyde Park is one of London’s eight Royal Parks. It covers 350 acres, has over 4,000 trees, a meadow, lake, and colorful flower gardens.
It’s where you’ll find Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain, and it has plenty of little hideaways and benches to relax on and take in the view.
It’s also right next to Kensington Gardens and Palace, the official royal residence of a number of members from the royal family, including William and Kate and Harry and Meghan.
It’s an ideal place to have a picnic with a bottle of wine and good company on the weekend, or after work.
How to get there
The park is surrounded by a number of tube stations, including Lancaster Gate, Marble Arch, Hyde Park Corner, and Knightsbridge. There are also plenty of buses that will get you there if you plug Hyde Park into Google Maps for up-to-date times and schedules.
A slightly less glam version of Little Venice, the borough of Angel in London has its own canalway that allows you to take a step outside of city life.
This area is made up of Regent’s Canal, the same canal that goes through Little Venice, and Islington City Road Basin. The Angel canals feel a bit more local than their counterpart in Paddington, and it’s a popular place for people to walk or ride their bike along the water.
It’s also right next to a cozy local pub scene in Angel, including the Angel Comedy Club, which offers free (donation-based) comedy shows. So, if you fancy a pint after reconnecting with your quieter side, this is a good place to do it.
How to get there
Take the tube to Angel station, the canals are a 5 minute walk from there.
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Located near Kew Gardens, Richmond Park is another one of London’s Royal Parks created in the 17th century as a deer park by Charles the I. It’s the largest of the Royal Parks, located in a peaceful spot along the Thames, and is known for its impressive wildlife conservation.
The park is 2,500 acres, so you could easily spend a whole day exploring the vast amount of nature to be found here. You might even spot some of the red and fallow deer that still roam free around the park.
It’s easy to hire a bike near the Roehampton Gate, or you can simply tackle the many paths around the park with your own two feet and a good pair of walking shoes.
Once you’ve had your fill of nature, make sure to stop in for an afternoon tea at Pembroke Lodge (also in the park) for another peaceful (and very British) experience with great views.
How to get there
Take the tube to Richmond station, then hop on bus 371 or 65 to get to the Petersham entrance gate.
Abney Park Cemetery
There’s something about cemeteries that I’ve always found peaceful, and the Abney Park Cemetery is no exception. This overgrown Victorian cemetery is the perfect oasis for a relaxing stroll away from the city.
It’s home to a number of rare plants and animals, there’s also a crumbling chapel from 1840 located on the grounds that is still beautiful to walk around. While I was there I spotted Alfie Allen, aka Theon from Game of Thrones, so you also have the chance to run into famous Brits who live in the area.
In general, I found Stoke Newington, where the cemetery is located, to be one of the more peaceful boroughs that I visited in London (probably because it doesn’t have a tube stop). So, if you’re looking for a more local neighborhood with a low-key atmosphere, this is a good place to spend the afternoon.
How to get there
There are a few different buses that go through Stoke Newington if you Google Map it. The nearest tube station is Stamford Hill, which is about a 20 minute walk away. Alternatively, you can take the London overground to the Stoke Newington station, which is just next to the cemetery.
And lastly, there’s Hampstead Heath, a 790-acre park that covers one of the highest points in London, and provides sweeping views of the city.
At this green space you’ll find Parliament Hill, Golders Hill Park (where a zoo and butterfly garden are located), three swimming ponds, Pergola and Hill Garden, a Lido, and large portions of grassland and ancient woodland. It truly feels like you’ve left the city completely, and it’s only located 4 miles from Trafalgar Square, one of the busiest spots in London.
Hampstead Heath is also where you’ll find Kenwood House, a historic stately home surrounded by landscaped gardens. You can take a tour of the interior and oogle at the fine art, impressive decorating, and grand architecture (especially the Grand Library) inside the house.
How to get there
It depends on which part of the park you’re interested in going to, but you can take the tube to the following stations: Golders Green, Hampstead, Kentish Town, Hampstead Heath, or Gospel Oak. There are also a number of buses that will drop you off next to the park.
Have you been to London before? What are your favorite spots around the city?
If you’re looking for more peaceful spots around the UK for a relaxing getaway from London, don’t miss out on a weekend in Bath, one of my favorite cities in England.
Looking for a guided tour to some of these peaceful places in London and more? Look no further!
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