The A-Z of Quiet London

  • M is for music

    Concerts by candlelight You’re unlikely to find much peace and quiet at your average London gig, but for a serene musical experience head for St Martin-in-the-Fields. Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday (and some Tuesdays) at 7.30pm it hosts these soothing classical concerts – upcoming highlights include Pergolesi’s ‘Stabat Mater’ (11 Aug) and Bach violin concertos (18 Aug). St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, WC2 (020 7766 1100/ Charing Cross tube/rail.

    N is for nature

    Camley Street Natural Park This two-acre haven of quiet is hidden in the middle of the gigantic new King’s Cross developments. The pond, meadow, marsh and woodland provide a habitat for all manner of birds, insects, butterflies and amphibians. Camley Street Natural Park, Camley St, NW1 (020 7833 2311) King’s Cross tube/rail. Open Mon-Thur 10am-5pm, Sat-Sun 11am-5pm.Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park An alternative to the wetlands and wildlife centre out in Barnes, this park is a great place to birdwatch, and around this time of year it’s teeming with the dragonflies and damselflies that have just emerged from their larval skins.Thames Path, John Harrison Way, SE10 (020 8293 1904) North Greenwich rail.

    O is for oasis

    Calm by design Designed by architect Laurie Chetwood, the London Oasis, unveiled last week, features a giant sculpture designed to mimic a growing flower – photovoltaic ‘petals’ open and close in response to sunlight and darkness. The addition of a hydrogen fuel cell and a rainwater collector also make it entirely sell-sufficient. And it’s certainly something interesting to look at while you’re eating your lunch. Clerkenwell Green, EC1. Farringdon tube/rail.

    P is for parks

    Hampstead Heath PergolaStroll through the Pergola in the Hill Garden at Hampstead Heath and you’ll feel as though you’re a million miles away from the city. The beautiful Pergola was constructed between 1906 and 1925 and is covered in fragrant flowers including jasmine, honeysuckle and lavender. To get to it, head west over the meadows from Golders Hill and look for a spiral staircase through the gate in the railings.Hampstead Heath, NW3. Golders Green tube.Isabella PlantationThis beautiful woodland garden is heaven for flower lovers – carpeted with azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias, and magnolia. There’s a also a wild stream to complete the wilderness feel. Richmond Park, Richmond, TW10. Richmond tube/rail.Lincoln’s Inn FieldsJust behind High Holborn, London’s largest square is great for relaxing in with a spot of lunch. We’ve no idea why it’s not more popular – perhaps because it’s so well kept that passers-by assume these are private gardens. Lincoln’s Inn Fields, WC2. Holborn tube.

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