Behind, or even above, London’s busy streets, there are many secret spots where workers relax, during the working day or at weekends. Unwind in a few of these hidden spaces, where nature still rules. Check www.opensquares.org for more.

Any comments - or a suggestion for a London secret? Please e-mail me.

Secret Gardens

Culpeper Community Garden

Largely maintained by volunteers, this lovely organic garden has ponds, rose pergolas, ornamental beds, vegetable plots and a small wildlife area. With a busy shopping area nearby, it is an oasis of calm in the heart of London.

1 Cloudesley Road N1
Tel: +44 (0)20 7833 3951

Redcross Garden

Set up in 1888, by Octavia Hill, co-founder of the National Trust, the garden was a green space for one of London’s poorest areas. Behind the garden is a set of model cottages Ms Hill designed as an alternative to the disease ridden tenements of the time.

Redcross Way SE1
Tube: Borough

Postman's Park

Three churchyards combine to make this park, once popular with postmen for their lunchbreak, hence the name. Painter and sculptor George Frederick Watts started a gallery of ceramic Doulton plates in 1887 that mark fatal feats of bravery by ordinary men, women and children.

Postman's Park EC1
Tube: St Paul’s

Freightliners City Farm

A real working farm in the heart of Islington, open all year round from Tuesday to Sunday. Animals range from rare breed pigs and goats to new born lambs and chicks. The farm is a charity and there is a very strong educational aspect.

Sheringham Road N7
Tel: +44 (0)20 7609 0467
Tube: Highbury Corner

Golders Green Crematorium

Musicians, actors, writers, philosophers and many others co-exist peacefully in Golders Green Crematorium. Its lovely grounds are home to the ashes of everyone from Marc Bolan to Sigmund Freud. A restful place to meditate on passing.

Hoop Lane NW11
Tube: Golders Green

Bonnington Square

Created by locals on waste ground left from World War II bombings, this tribute to the historic Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens which were nearby is open to all. The garden’s greening the city philosophy is also being extended into the surrounding streets.

Bonnington Square  SW8
Tube: Vauxhall
Bonnington Square website

St Mary’s Secret Garden

This Hackney project has four interlinking areas: a natural woodland, a food growing area (including vegetable beds and fruit trees), herb and sensory garden and an area of herbaceous borders. It is named after a former nearby church destroyed by World War II bombing.

50 Pearson Street E2
Tel: +44 (0)20 7739 2965

Kyoto Garden

The Kyoto Japanese Garden in leafy Holland Park was built for the 1991 London Festival of Japan and refurbished in 2001 by a specialist team flown over from Japan. It is being given an even more authentic Japanese feel as the planting improves with time.

Holland Park W8
Tube: High Street Kensington/
Holland Park