Now that springtime is upon us and summer is near, there’s no better time to make the most out of your lunch break and explore some of London’s amazing lesser-known gardens and public spaces. Exposure to greenery has a significant positive impact on mental and physical well-being, so a small dose of mother nature on your lunch hour might be all it takes to ensure you have a productive, calm afternoon. We have compiled a list of 9 beautiful places that are perfect for escaping the hustle and bustle of the city for an hour, all within a ten minute or less walk from one of our incspaces London locations.
St Mary Staining – 6 min walk from incspaces Becket House.
St. Mary Staining garden is the site of a former parish church, dating back to the 12th century. Like most of the city at the time, the church was destroyed by the 1666 Great Fire of London, and never rebuilt.
The site is now a City of London Corporation Garden, dominated by a large tree that grows in the middle. The adjacent office block, designed by Norman Foster, features a striking curved wall that was designed specifically not to disturb the growth of the tree.
Postman’s park – 9 min walk from incspaces Becket House.
This patch of public green space was originally the site of a church and its graveyard, then in later years, the site of the General Post Office. The garden was a popular spot for the post office employees during lunch breaks, which earned it its name – “The Postman’s Park”.
The main feature of this park is the memorial that pays homage to ordinary people who died during extraordinary heroic acts, that would have otherwise been forgotten.
St Mary Aldermanbury garden – 5 min walk from incspaces Becket House
This garden includes the remains of the St. Mary Aldermanbury church, which was destroyed during the Great Fire of London in 1666, then rebuilt and destroyed again during the blitz of 1940. The remnants of the church are now Grade II listed, and the garden also houses monuments to Henry Condell and John Heminges, who were co-partners with Shakespeare in the opening of his Globe theatre, as they lived in the St. Mary Aldermanbury parish and were buried in its courtyard.
Cleary garden – 9 min from incspaces Monument + 7 min from incspaces Becket House.
Named after Fred Cleary, who was a prominent campaigner for increasing the number of green spaces around London, the Cleary Gardens are the perfect place for anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city during their lunch hour. Despite the namesake, the garden was originally created by a shoemaker from the Cordwainers company, Joseph Brandis. After the Blitz of 1940 left the area as a bomb site, he carried mud from the nearest riverbanks to create a communal green area. At one point, there was so much hype around this little London pocket garden that the Queen Mother visited in 1949.
This garden is also recognised as a site of local importance for nature conservation, providing a home for sparrows, blue tits, green finches, robins, blackbirds, and dunnocks.
Whittington Gardens – 7 min from incspaces Monument
This garden is named after Lord Mayor Dick Whittington, who is buried in the nearby churchyard of St Michael Paternoster Royal. He built the church with his own money around 1409, which was later destroyed during the Great Fire of London, like most buildings in the area. Since 1956 the garden has been owned by the Corporation of London, and consists of a large, paved area surrounded by lawn, trees, flower beds and a small fountain that sits in the west part of the space.
Saint Dunstan in the East Church garden – 4 min from incspaces Monument.
The bombed-out ruins of the St Dunstan church provides a beautiful, tranquil break from the crowds of the city. Named after St Dunstan, a former Archbishop of Canterbury, the church was – you guessed it – damaged during the Great Fire of London. A new tower was built, which is now the only part that remains as the rest was destroyed during the blitz. The Anglican church then abandoned the site, and now it exists as a Corporation of London garden.
Brown Hart Gardens– 6 min from incspaces Mandeville
Back in 1889, a public garden was opened on this site, called Duke Street Gardens. In 1903 the site was taken over by an electricity company who built a substation over the public space. The residents were so upset at losing their garden that a park was built on top of the station, which is how the Brown Hart Gardens came to be a rooftop public space.
Manchester Square – 2 min walk from incspaces Mandeville
Manchester square is an 18th century garden square in Marylebone. Originally a private garden, the space is now public. Just outside the east entrance a drinking fountain that pays homage to Sir James John Hamilton can be found. The fountain, originally installed in 1887, has recently been restored to provide fresh drinking water in a bid to reduce waste from plastic bottles.
Seething Lane Garden – 6 min walk from incspaces Leadenhall
This small garden nestled between Seething Lane and 10 Trinity Square contains benches, a lawn and pergola. Carved paving slabs littered throughout the garden document the life of Samuel Pepys, who lived on Seething Lane. One in particular, shows the parmesan cheese and wine he supposedly buried in the garden during the Great Fire of London.