When it comes to relaxing, we all have different ideas about what will hit the spot. But no matter what your personality type, there are certain things that all of us crave when we need a bit of time out from the hubbub of daily life.
A bit of peace, great surroundings, something to feast your eyes on and in no time at all you can feel your batteries recharging. It’s something we all need once in a while.
So with that in mind, here are our top 6 places to relax in London. We’re pretty sure that most people don’t have a clue they even exist (which makes them all the more special). Just don’t tell anyone…
Geffrye Museum Herb Garden
The Geffrye Museum of the Home is dedicated to how homes have changed in the past 400 years. It’s a fascinating insight to how our living abodes have changed over the centuries, and makes for a really interesting day out.
But the real gem, in our humble opinion, is outside – and in particular, in the herb garden. If you’re lucky, you’ll have the garden virtually to yourself; enjoy the fragrant herbs and listen to fat bumblebees buzzing contentedly in the Wisteria. Take a book, your headphones, a coffee, find a sunny spot and simply relax in this little sanctuary within the city.
The museum is located in Shoreditch, close to the City of London. It’s easy to get to, with the Tube stations of Hoxton and Old Street within walking distance.
Daunt Books, Marylebone
If relaxing to you means a good book, then look no further than the amazing Edwardian bookshop that is Daunt Books. Think oak panelled galleries, balconies and acres upon acres of books to browse.
The books on offer range from the normal to the eclectic, as well as a great international range. A fabulous place to while away a few hours deciding which masterpiece amongst the thousands on offer will be your next read.
Located on Marylebone High Street, it’s just a short walk from either the Regent’s Park or Baker Street tube stations. Even better, the shop is open 7 days a week, from 09:00hrs-18:00hrs Monday to Saturday, and 11:00hrs to 18:00hrs on Sunday.
Eel Pie Island
This is a great place to get away from the hurly burly of city life, and is easily reached by a footbridge or, if you prefer, boat. A couple of times a year the studios are open for visitors with a chance to meet the artists. But of course, this is when the island has more people around.
For a quiet haven, visit during the working week, and you’ll likely have the island virtually to yourself.
Christ Church, Spitalfields
You don’t need to follow a faith to take advantage of this one, and this is perhaps one of the most beautiful churches in all of London.
This Anglican Church was built in 1729 and designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor, a protégé of Sir Christopher Wren. The architecture is amazing and the doors are open to all. Outside of the weekly services (Sunday and Tuesday), you’re welcome to enter, sit and stay awhile – a truly marvellous place to really get away from it all.
And once you’ve had enough time relaxing, head for Old Spitalfields Market for a browse through the iconic stalls and a wonderful selection of eateries to chose from.
London Wetland Centre
Peace and tranquillity hails just 10 minutes from bustling Hammersmith at the London Wetland Centre. This wildlife and conservation centre boasts many different breeds of birds, frogs, dragonflies and an abundance of flora. Time it right and you could well believe that the population of London has just faded into insignificance.
Be sure to bring your camera and, if you have them, a pair of binoculars to get a close up look at the flora and fauna.
To get there take a bus or train to Barnes Station, and then it’s a 15-minute walk to the centre.
Victoria & Albert Museum National Art Library
Walls lined with weighty tomes, huge desks to spread books out on, and the obligatory balcony that you’d expect from a typical British library, this one has it all.
You have to register before you can enter, but this can be done before you visit online. And afterwards, take a wander into the museum itself to see what current exhibitions are on display. The nearest Tube station is South Kensington, or it’s a 10-minute walk from Knightsbridge.