Writer and photographer Barbara Chandler shares her top five secret gardens in the capital
The Phoenix Garden
This green oasis (pictured; image sourced from Horticultural Cities by Maija Astikainen & Aischa Berg) is tucked behind the junction of Charing Cross Road and Shaftesbury Avenue. Once inside, views of Centre Point and the spire of St Giles in the Fields Church are framed by an abundance of trees, shrubs and flowers: the garden is maintained by green-fingered volunteers.
21 Stacey Street, London WC2 (thephoenixgarden.org)
Just off City Road you’ll find thousands of picturesque weathered tombstones – including William Blake’s – amid the greenery of Bunhill Fields. There are plenty of benches within the foliage, making it the perfect spot for a lunchtime break in the city.
38 City Road, London, EC1 (cityoflondon.gov.uk)
Enter via unassuming iron gates on St Martin’s Le-Grand, continue past the fish pond to find yourself in the tranquil green of Postman’s Park. The chief attraction here is the Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice, which was built by Victorian painter George Frederick Watts and has heart-rending inscriptions.
St Martin’s Le-Grand, London EC1 (cityoflondon.gov.uk)
The Garden Museum
Right beside Lambeth Bridge is a derelict church that was transformed into the Garden Museum in the 1970s. It is also the burial place of John Tradescant, Britain’s first great gardener, whose tomb is the centrepiece of a delightful knot garden planted with 17th century-inspired plants.
Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1 (gardenmuseum.org.uk)
This is my local wood and I can see its birch trees from my study window. It’s usually deserted and I love to sit by the pond with a book, or make a circuit round the well-kept paths. The park’s entrance is on Bollo Lane, opposite Chiswick Park station. (wildlondon.org.uk/reserves/gunnersbury-triangle)