The City’s Best Hidden Garden
You probably wouldn’t guess that London is one of the greenest cities in the world. But even discounting our huge Royal Parks, there are gorgeous green spaces hidden right under your nose, and my favourite is only a 10 minute walk from Bank Junction.
The original St Dunstan in-the-East was a massive church dating from the 1100s, but like most old buildings in London it wasn’t much of a match for 1) The Great Fire of 1666 and 2) The bombs of WWII.
Only the Gothic shell and steeple survived the bombs of 1941. The steeple was designed by Christopher Wren, completed in 1701 but the rest was finished in the 19th century by David Laing.
Photo from Bob Speel; www.speel.me.uk
The picture above shows the church as of Laing’s rebuild.
With seemingly irreparable bomb damage, The City of London took the decision to develop the site into a garden in 1967, transforming the ruins into a public space. It was opened in 1970.
I think it’s one of London’s most inspiring, haunting and hidden places, and you won’t be surprised to learn it’s incredibly popular with weddings and photoshoots.
There’s also this wonderful, understated fountain in the middle which quietly bubbles away. It’s surrounded by benches so provides perfect respite to a walk through the busy City.
The City of London website says it’s open all year round from 8am to 7pm or dusk, whichever is earlier.
I recommend seeking it out during the weekend, when The City in general, but especially spots like these, are eerily quiet.
Find it here.