The Best Places to Escape London's Mania
Finding the quiet spots in the capital will be key when it re-opens...
Living in London is a diverse and visceral experience. It would be impossible to have a population of almost 9 million different people living in the same place and not have rushing crowds and people in every direction that you look. It is one of the great strengths and weaknesses of the capital. London is an amazing city because people from all backgrounds come together to live side by side.
The downside of this is that you can easily be left feeling worn out by the constant company of strangers. If living in the concrete jungle starts getting to you, it’s important that you find your own little quiet areas where you can feel more yourself. With the recent spread of Covid-19 and lockdown across the city, you would be forgiven for feeling a little isolated. When the outbreak is eventually under control, here are some of the best places across the city to explore.
It is widely known, from a health and wellbeing point of view, that fresh air and green spaces are good for you. London has no shortage of these, especially in the form of places like Hyde Park, Green Park or Clapham Common. To the North West of the city is the expansive Hampstead Heath, and probably the closest you can get to the proper countryside while still be close to the city. Here you can get some wonderful views of the city and take in the wide spaces as a means of recharging your batteries.
While Covent Garden may be a popular area of the city, at certain times, it can be a peaceful oasis in the city centre. The range of coffee shops and cafes mean that you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to taking a few minutes to yourself. You can go out and try some coffee shop relaxation techniques if you only have a short amount of time to yourself and you want to feel more like yourself again.
The National Portrait Gallery
London’s museums are world-class and naturally attract a lot of visitors. That’s not to say that you can find your own relaxing corner in one of the many free to visit attractions across the city. While the likes of the British Museum and the Natural History Museum might attract a livelier crowd with interactive exhibits, the National Portrait Gallery makes for a much more relaxing experience. You don’t have to take in the full museum. Just a few minutes in a single gallery can take you out the commuter chaos and into more peaceful surroundings.
Eel Pie Island
It might sound like something out of the Mary Poppins view of Victorian London, but Eel Pie Island is very much a real place that exists as a mudflat in the Thames around the Twickenham area of the city. The small area has been renowned as a hive of artists since the days of swinging London and the 60’s. Today, it has remained relatively untouched by the corporatisation of the rest of the city and serves as a haven for the artists, sculptors and creatives who have been there for decades. A wander around here via the footbridge over the Thames will make you forget you are in the biggest city in the UK.
While London can seem daunting at times, it’s important to remember that there are a lot of places that allow you to get away from it all. Take some time to care for yourself and the city will care for you.