London is a busy place and can be a little hectic.
Londoners are sighing with disdain at the thought of cramming themselves into sweaty tubes and scrambling through heaving crowds of tourists.
So, whether you are a local or a traveler from overseas, the team at My Destination have come up with a few urban escapes for you, for when it all gets a bit too much...
Firstly, I’d like to make a case for escaping to the Square Mile. The area, especially around Bank and Monument, is practically deserted at the weekends, and is so densely packed with architectural treats that you will likely get neck ache from staring up so often. Among the high-rises, there is also a beautiful little courtyard within the tumbledown confines of an old church (St Mary’s on the Hill) that is just so perfectly pretty that you will even forget about comparing your own finances to those of the wealthy workers around you.
Secondly, and because it just wouldn’t be London without a little hustle and bustle, I’d recommend the delights of Kingly Court’s upper levels. The little haven (just off Carnaby Street) is a hub of ever so quaint and quintessentially British boutiques, offering the best of what Blighty has to offer. Better to get a handmade and totally unique souvenir here than any of the countless tourist tat shops that line the high streets. Also - amazing vintage tea room, a rockabilly barbers and cupcakes in abundance. Spiffing.
Crystal Palace Park has come down in the world since its titular structure spectacularly burned to a melted cinder 76 years ago, and worse now the outdated sports facilities have been denied Olympic inclusion. At least this means it’ll be free of tourist hoards come summer. The park’s seen better days, for sure. But where else can you laugh at the Victorian’s woefully inept life-sized dinosaur recreations, navigate a maze with bushes so emaciated they instantly give up their secret, and clamber over crumbling Egyptian sphinxes, all for just a half hour trip on the Overground? It’s a gloriously shabby way to escape the crowds this summer.
My top tip for avoiding the crowds would have to be to go to the top of hill in Greenwich Park. It’s only a 20-minute drive (or 50 minutes on the train, it’s one of those awkward places) from the Olympic Park and the views from the top of the hill are staggering. You can see the whole of London’s skyline and at night when the sun is setting you can watch London turn from a metropolis to a circuit board. Plus, it’s also where the Greenwich Observatory and the meridian line are. You can literally stand in the middle of the world.
My London escape lays tucked away in the shadows of multiple high-rises near Hackney Central, East London. The charm of the quaint, yet relatively unknown, Broadway market in London Fields is the perfect escape for those of us who gravitate towards hubs of activity over quiet abodes. Sip on a fresh mint tea whilst listening to the various folk singers dotted on the market’s periphery…and then treat yourself to some seriously expensive (but oh so worth it!) baked cheesecake under one of the oak trees that line the park next to the market...heaven.
One of my favourite spots to get away from it all for an hour or two would have to be the Rookery in Streatham Common. Tucked away in the middle of this South London stretch of greenery, the Rookery is an idyllic summer’s day hideaway. This public garden was once the site of the Streatham Spa, whose local springs were renowned for their healing properties. Now, surrounded by woodland, the winding paths leading to open spaces and flower gardens take you away from the frantic to-ing and fro-ing of life in the city, even if just for a moment.
Travel tip shared by My Destination