When you need an escape from busy streets an double-decker buses, seek out Mudchute Farm, just one of many relaxing things to do in London. (Photo: Arcaid Images / Alamy Stock Photo)
As one of the world’s busiest and most important cities, London can prove stressful for even the most relaxed of travelers. The vices of capitalism, fast-paced commerce, endless noise and constantly rushing from A to B can take their toll — so much so you may think there is no where to escape. Fear not, there are many little known places to unwind in Londontown. Here are just a few of the most relaxing places in this hectic city.
Mudchute Farm. The last place that people would expect to find a farm is on the edge of Canary Wharf. Imagine the smell of freshly cut grass floating through the air with shining glass skyscrapers for a backdrop. After spending a day watching stocks flashing up on screens in the big banks of the city, come and see a different kind of stock — livestock. The sound of cars and planes is replaced by the relaxing calls of lambs to their mothers, the bleating of llamas to their friends, and the clucking of chickens. The 32-acre farm is connected to Canary Wharf via the Docklands Light Railway. This is a great place to escape during your lunch break. Admission is free when the farm is open between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.
London Wetland Centre. Just a 10-minute train ride from Hammersmith is one of southern England’s most tranquil nature spots. Even on a typically British rainy day birds can be heard tweeting merrily in the trees, frogs seen jumping from lily pads floating across the pond, and the usual smell of car fumes is replaced by a fresh floral scent. There are guides on hand to help in spotting the many rare birds that call the centre home. Entrance costs around $14 for a full day pass – or slightly less if you book in advance.
Gough Square. Nestled snuggly between Chancery Lane and Fleet Street, two of the City of London’s business hotspots, Gough Square is a haven of tranquillity. As you pass through the stone gateway the noise and high-stress in the surrounding skyscrapers just fades away. In the 18th century Dr. Samuel Johnson came here to write the world’s first dictionary away from outside distractions, it soon becomes obvious why he chose Gough Square – bright flowers in full bloom, a splashing fountain and whistling birds light up the senses. Johnson once proclaimed “when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.”
Selfridges Silent Room. When Harry Selfridge opened his first department store on London’s busy Oxford Street in 1909 he said that he wanted to allow shoppers to “retire from the whirl of bargains and the build-up of energy.” He established a silent room, where shoes, cell phones and 21st century electronics must be locked away before entering the soundproof room. Shopping can be a relaxing experience in its own right, so shopping in complete silence takes relaxation to another level. There is absolutely NO noise at all!