The South West London Gardener

Exploring London’s Secret Gardens: Hidden Gems for Garden Enthusiasts

bridge over path in park

If you think of London, your mind will probably wander to historical landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and newer additions such as the London Eye.

While there are many famous gardens in London, some of which we touched on in our guide to London’s gardens, there are also some hidden gems that may not be as commonly known, but certainly pack just as much of a punch when it comes to delighting garden enthusiasts.

Here at The Southwest London Gardener, we are proud to be London Gardeners, and love visiting these lesser-known places and having a wander through the amazing natural scenery.

We love them so much that we thought we would share five of our favourites with you, so let’s take a look.

The Joy of Lesser-Known Gardens

There are many joys to visiting these gardens, including these five key ones:

  • Less Crowds: Lesser-known gardens tend to be quieter and less crowded compared to popular tourist destinations. This provides a peaceful atmosphere where you can unwind, connect with nature, and escape the noise and stress of city life. This allows you to get a more personal connection to the gardens, and really immerse yourself in the beauty and environment on show.

  • Discovery of Unique Features: Lesser-known gardens often feature a diverse range of plants and landscapes that may not be as commonly seen in popular tourist gardens. Exploring these hidden gems allows you to encounter rare and exotic plant species, discover unusual plant combinations, and witness innovative garden designs. This is great for people looking to grow their knowledge of different and exotic plants and learn new ideas about gardening.

  • Authentic Experiences: Hidden and secret gardens frequently have rich cultural and historical backgrounds. They may be attached to historical sites, have ties to local traditions, or represent specific horticultural practises. By visiting these gardens, you can delve into the unique stories and heritage associated with them, gaining a deeper understanding of the cultural significance of gardening in the area.

  • Unique Photography Opportunities: Visiting these spaces often provides a myriad of captivating and less-explored photographic opportunities. With fewer visitors around, you can take your time to capture the beauty of the garden from different angles, experiment with composition, and focus on the intricate details. It’s a chance to unleash your creativity and create stunning images that showcase the hidden beauty of these gardens.

  • Supporting Local Initiatives: Funding doesn’t always come easy for these gardens, and many are run by community groups and volunteers. By visiting and appreciating these hidden gems, you contribute to the preservation and maintenance of these valuable green spaces. Your support can help sustain their efforts in conserving biodiversity, promoting gardening education, and enhancing the well-being of the local community.

So, now you know why you should visit these places, let’s take a look at five great ones right in the heart of London.

Chelsea Physic Garden. Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia.

5 Lesser-Known London Gardens

Chelsea Physic Garden

Tucked away in the heart of Chelsea and covering four acres, the Chelsea Physic Garden is London’s oldest botanic garden.

Founded in 1673 (it’s celebrating an amazing 350-year anniversary in 2023 so there’s never been a better time to head on down!), it boasts an impressive collection of medicinal and edible plants.

This hidden treasure offers a chance to wander through carefully curated plant displays, explore the greenhouses filled with exotic species, and even enjoy a picnic in the beautiful surroundings.

There’s something for all the family here, with workshops, horticultural tours, and even a theatre to keep everyone entertained.

Discover the healing powers of plants and delve into centuries of botanical history in this delightful green space that is nestled right on the edge of the Thames.

The Nomadic Community Garden

Located in the vibrant neighbourhood of Shoreditch, the Nomadic Community Garden is a dynamic green space created by local artists and residents.

This urban oasis blooms with creativity, combining art installations, upcycled structures, and an abundance of plants.

Experience the harmonious blend of nature and urban art, take part in workshops, or simply find solace amidst the greenery.

The Nomadic Community Garden showcases the power of community and the transformative nature of gardening and is a great place to wander around and soak in the culture and environment.

While not your typical green space, this is an exciting spot that offers something a bit different for plant and flower enthusiasts in London.

The Phoenix Garden

Situated in the heart of London’s West End, the Phoenix Garden offers a serene escape from the bustling city streets.

Opened in 1984 and created on the location of an old World War 2 bombsite, this is another garden that is great for embracing the culture and community of the local area.

This hidden gem is maintained by a dedicated team of volunteers, who have transformed the once derelict space into a thriving community garden.

Wander through the winding pathways, admire the colourful flower beds, and unwind in the peaceful atmosphere.

There’s lots to love about this spot, including a lovely event space, plenty of relaxing spots, and an abundance of amazing plants and flowers.

The Phoenix Garden stands as a testament to the transformative power of community gardening initiatives.

The Garden Museum

This one is something a bit different and can be found in a converted church.

With the London Eye and Thames on the doorstep, this is a great stop on your tour of the hotspots of London.

The Garden Museum provides a unique insight into the history and culture of gardening. Located in Lambeth, this hidden gem showcases beautiful gardens and exhibits, including a recreation of a 17th-century knot garden.

Explore the museum’s collection of horticultural artifacts, attend informative talks and workshops, or simply relax in the charming café overlooking the tranquil churchyard garden.

This is a really interesting spot and is perfect for people looking to learn more about garden design, as they can really take everything in and learn from plenty of other like-minded enthusiasts.

St. Dunstan-in-the-East Gardens

Nestled in the heart of the city, the St. Dunstan-in-the-East Gardens offer a picturesque retreat amidst historic ruins.

This hidden gem features enchanting gardens intertwined with the remnants of a medieval church destroyed during World War 2.

Delight in the juxtaposition of vibrant greenery and ancient stone arches and find solace amidst the tranquillity of this unique space.

Taking a wander around this location can take you a million miles away from London and into a historic landscape, with greenery intertwining with the ruins of the old church.

It’s a truly stunning place to visit and definitely one to add to your London bucket list.

St. Dunstan in the East Gardens. Photo from Shutterstock, taken by Jonathan Hoseana

The Southwest London Gardener

London’s secret gardens offer an escape from the urban jungle, allowing garden enthusiasts to reconnect with nature and find solace amidst the city’s frenetic pace.

The places on this list are historic, exciting, packed with culture, and most importantly, brimming with wonderful greenery and nature.

We hope you get to pay a visit to one of these soon, but in the meantime, why not turn your own outside space into an outside haven with the help of our team?

We can transform your garden, providing a revamp that can make it feel brand new.

Want to know more? Or if you would like to discuss a project with our team, then get in touch today.