The Best Gardens In London That Won’t Cost You A Penny
Call us biased, but we believe that London is one of the best cities on the planet. The culture, the food, the pubs, the tube, need we go on? However, with all of this great stuff going on, it can sometimes feel a bit hectic, right?
Occasionally most of us need to break away from the rat race and grab a bit of breathing space. Luckily for us London is also one of the greenest capital cities in the world, so there’s plenty of spots to choose from.
Here we take a look at just a few of our favourite gardens to take a moment away from all of the hustle and bustle, some in the beating heart of the city and others slightly further afield. Best of all, none of these beauties will cost you a penny in these economically challenging times. Win-win.
The Barbican Conservatory
Unless you’ve been living under a rock since the 80’s then you’ll be fully aware of The Barbican.
This listed Brutalist beauty encompasses far more than just slick city flats. There’s a library, a school, a cinema and an award-winning arts centre and gallery which has housed the works of such legends as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Oscar Wilde and Le Corbusier.
One facet of this iconic estate which somehow manages to stay somewhat under the radar, however, is the incredible conservatory.
The second biggest glass house in London, it was planted in 1980 and contains an amazing array of tropical plants from around the world. Having been established for so long now, they appear to have almost taken over the stark concrete facades, giving an almost subterranean vibe.
In addition to the plant life, beneath the towering steel roof there are three pools with koi carp and terrapins as well as an “arid house”.
Visiting slots are released online every Thursday and opening times are pretty random so be sure to check in advance. On Sundays you can even book in on a tour with one of the gardeners if you wish, to discover hidden corners and learn how best to tend to that monstera at home.
Crystal Palace Dinosaur Park
Stepping off the train at Crystal Palace you may expect to find little but the rows of suburban streets which are so synonymous with this part of south east London, but within two minutes of the platform you are in one of the city’s most underrated parks.
This vast green space offers woodland walks, an athletics stadium, pedalo’s, a city farm and stunning views. If anything, the remains of the palace itself could be one of the less impressive features here.
Hidden beneath the treetops there is one more surprise within these grounds, a fauna more often associated with the Natural History Museum. Around the ferns and ponds numerous large dinosaur depictions can be found, and they look oddly at home here.
The reason for this could be that these prehistoric beasts have called the park home since Victorian times, when this would have been a far more prominent tourist attraction.
This timeline would also explain why these garden dwellers appear less like the dinosaurs that we have come to know today and more like supersized, morbidly obese lizards. Still well worth a look though.
From this vast triple storey glazed atrium atop the Walkie Talkie building in the heart of The City you can take in views across the entirety of London.
Rarely does an opportunity arise to see the sites and landmarks of the metropolis in three hundred and sixty degrees, but the Sky Garden offers just that. There are lush landscaped gardens, observation decks and a large open air terrace to explore.
Surely you would assume that this sort of experience would cost a pretty penny in a location where money talks but, amazingly, there’s no charge.
Slots are released every Monday for the upcoming week, so it’s as simple as logging on, booking in and turning up.
Deer at Richmond Park
There are few green areas in the capital that can truly claim to offer the space, feel and serenity of non-urban life but Richmond Park is one.
Deep in affluent south west London, it is flocked to by residents and tourists alike for biking, walking, horse riding or just to relax amongst the natural flora.
There is woodland, lakes, playgrounds, views towards St. Paul’s Cathedral and even a historic burial ground to keep you busy. The park is also an important centre for wildlife conservation, with many different species setting up home here. Amongst all of these, one is the clear headline-grabber.
The beautiful deer that roam the grounds freely are truly a site to behold, particularly within one of the biggest cities in Europe. Go on an early, misty morning in early Spring or Autumn to avoid the crowds and grab that perfect shot for the album (or you Insta wall).