From Postman’s Park to Abney Park Cemetery: Five hidden gardens and green spaces in London
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As Londoners we’re blessed with an abundance of green space, with over 3,000 parks of varying sizes dispersed throughout the capital.
From Curve Garden in Dalston to Abney Park Cemetery in Stoke Newington, we’ve rounded up five of London’s best hidden green spaces.
Dalston Eastern Curve Garden
13 Dalston Ln, E8 3DF
Step away from the hustle and bustle of Dalston into this little pocket of peace in one of the most built-up areas of London.
Once a railway line, Dalston Eastern Curve Garden has operated as a community garden since 2010, where locals grow fruit, vegetables and flowers.
It’s open to the public all year round, and its popular café is a fine place to enjoy coffees, pizzas, and botanically inspired cakes.
The garden also runs a programme of activities year round to help combat social isolation and to bring residents and neighbours together.
King Edward St, EC1A 7BT
Just a short walk from St Paul’s Cathedral, Postman’s Park is home to one of London’s most touching monuments: George Frederic Watts’s ‘Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice’.
The memorial contains 54 plaques, each dedicated to an ‘ordinary’ person who did something most extraordinary: gave their life in an attempt to save someone else.
The park acquired its name due to its popularity as a lunchtime garden with workers from the nearby old General Post Office.
You might also remember the park from the 2009 film Closer, where one of the characters adopts a pseudonym from one of the plaques.
Abney Park Cemetery
215 Stoke Newington High St, N16 0LH
Abney Park in Stoke Newington, is one of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ garden cemeteries of London, created in the Victorian era to alleviate pressure on inner city burial grounds that were becoming overcrowded.
As well as being the burial place for nearly 200,000 bodies, it is also a local nature reserve, quietly buzzing with woodland life.
Among the cemetery’s more notable residents are William and Catherine Booth, the founders of the Salvation Army, Anna Vassa (daughter of Britain’s first black activist) and William Tyler (the first police officer shot and killed on duty).
Hampstead Hill Garden and Pergola
Inverforth Close, North End Way, NW3 7EX
Tucked away on the West Heath, Hampstead Hill Garden and Pergola is an eerie and elegant pocket of faded grandeur.
Built at the start of the 20th century by Lord Leverhulme, as a setting for his extravagant parties, it includes impressive gardens and a dramatic elevated walkway.
The Hampstead Pergola is an immensely popular spot for photoshoots and is also a licenced wedding venue.
Vauxhall Park Lavender Garden
Vauxhall Park, 12 Lawn Lane, Vauxhall, SW8 1UA
Breathe in lovely lavender scents in the middle of south London. This small square field of purple buds and fragranced green foliage can be found between the rose pergola and miniature model village in Vauxhall Park.
At the end of summer, you can also join in on a community lavender harvest, where the crops are then distilled to produce litres of lavender oil.