Sure, you may have danced to the beat of a festival in Victoria Park or lounged by the Serpentine in Hyde Park, but how many of London’s hundreds of green spaces have you actually explored? Our enormous concrete jungle is teeming with a leafy patchwork of hidden greenery, most of which you may not have clapped eyes on. Until now, that is.
This weekend, more than 130 of the capital’s greenest spots will unlock their gates for Open Garden Squares Weekend. The initiative, started 21 years ago, is a chance to explore all sorts of verdant spaces usually closed off to the public. Across 27 boroughs, you’ll be able to step into traditional gated squares, on to roof terraces and allotments, and visit unique gardens belonging to historic buildings, schools and even shops.
Visit Hackney’s Fassett Square, the original inspiration for the set of ‘EastEnders’, have a nosey around the quirky South London Botanical Institute, or visit the two-acre site of the historic Bell House in Dulwich Village. You can also marvel at some inner-city, small-space gardening wonders, like the tiny bee sanctuary next to Islington’s Union Chapel or the garden inside a rubbish skip in King’s Cross.
If you really want a walk on the wild side, there’s also a programme of tours, trails and alfresco events where you can hear Bel Canto Girls Choir sing in Cannon Bridge Roof Gardens or find out how attract garden wildlife at Oasis Farm. All that’s left is to keep your fingers crossed for sun.
Open Garden Squares Weekend takes place from Sat Jun 8-Sun Jun 9. Tickets are £20.
Get your green fix with our guide to London’s best hidden gardens and green spaces.
Find more fabulous things to do this month with our June guide.