After the Olympic madness and a radio silence it’s time for another little write up from me.
Coloured theme: green.
Being a city girl I love all the pro’s of living in a city – plenty of café’s, restaurants, theatres, 1000-nds of shops, the tea-to-go (which doesn’t sound as cool as coffee-to-go, but that’s the downside of not drinking coffee); I’m not complaining. But that doesn’t necessarily mean I don’t like nature or silent places. In fact, I love it. And I need it! I need places where I can be surrounded by leafy green, without having to travel too far. I think every city boy or girl secretly does. Silent places where you can peacefully read a book, hear birds sing, spot an accidental butterfly. Peace and (a bit) quiet.
Although the streets of London are mainly filled with taxi’s, buses and cars and the pollution rate is quite high, I dare say London has some very green skills. Not only the many parks and trees make London pretty (and) green, also the countless numbers of so called “green” projects make London a city that is one step ahead of many other big cities. I think.
Maybe some of you might not be convinced yet… but loving these projects and searching for hidden green spaces, I thought I’d give it a go and show you London’s green side on If I were in London right now…!
Run your errands
This is a concept that makes me wanna dance around my living room! We’ve all experienced the moment you come home desperate to use your newly bought item or food….which turns out to be so stupidly and unnecessarily wrapped in plastic, it takes you two hours and a broken pair of scissors before you’re finally able to use or eat it. Gosh, the amount of plastic used and un-recycled, just because of our urge to consume?
And therefore Unpackaged was opened.
Not far away from Angel (and also on skipping-distance from King’s Cross and Russell Square) you can find this shop where you can buy all the food you need without plastic. Just bring your own (clean) storage containers, bottles, jam jars, or whatever you find suitable and fill them with what you need. As simple as that!
And if you are proud owner of a loyalty card, you might even enjoy discounts and surprises every now and again.
42 Amwell Street, EC1R 1XT
My favourite organic grocery when I lived in East. They really have everything you need and the staff is so very friendly. And fingers crossed they still sell those yummy pineapple ice lollies!
54 – 56 Kingsland Road, E2 8DP
The shop where you may find Colin Firth behind the counter…? This shop is co-founded by Mr Firth and his wife Livia, who is the Creative Director. It’s an inspiring shop for the Eco-pessimistic and everyone else and I’d advice you to pop ’round and have a look.
213 Chiswick High Road, W4 2DW
Nearest Tube Stations: Turnham Green and Chiswick Park
Silent and green places to hide from the city and eat your lunch
You are so right. It never will be possible to find an entirely silent place in London (unless you’ve got a sound proof studio build in at the attic), but I do have a few favourites where I love to read my book on a sunny day, that come close to silent. And of course show some signs of green.
Camley street Natural Park
I wonder how many Londoners know about this little green oasis build on an old coal yard in the middle of London…? Having spotted this park many a time from my Eurostar window seat (if I was lucky and on the right), I always wanted to visit it and so I finally did last June.
Camley Street Natural Park can – surprisingly – be found on Camley Street which is just behind King’s Cross and St. Pancras. I’m not telling any lies here; there is a natural park hidden there and it is as green and leavy as you can imagine. Two acres of it!
It’s a place where you can hide away during lunch time, where school kids can experience nature and do things such as planting trees and plants. It’s really lovely. So pack your lunch and walk onto Pancras Road (St. Pancras on the left, King’s Cross on the right). Simply walk straight on. At first you might think you’re going the wrong way as all you can see is building sights and cars. But after a 5 – 10 minutes walk you’ll see I’m not mistaken.
Go see for yourself; entrance is free, the park is opened daily. Do check the opening times before you go. More info click here.
The St. George’s Churchyard Gardens at Long Lane
This nice little courtyard is buzzing with bees and coloured with flowers during Spring and Summer. It is surrounded by beautiful old walls (with flowers growing out of the joints and all!) and although you can still see and hear the street, I really do think this is a perfect lunchtime spot to eat your sarnies.
The Fountain Court at Middle Temple
You have to search for this one and no, you won’t be the only one there when you’ve found it. But, whilst being in the middle of The City, this really is a beautiful little square with stunning old fountain you should visit one lunch-break soon.
Here’s a hint to find it: nearest tube station is….Temple. Good luck.
Some other pretty spaces
Postman’s Park; one of the largest parks in The City of London and built on the site of the former burial ground of at St. Botolph Aldersgate Church. Just a short walk from St Paul’s, it has entrances on both Little Britain and Aldersgate Street.
Christchurch Greyfriars Rosegarden; Where King Edward Street and Newgate Street (EC1) meet, you’ll find this lovely old Rosegarden in the ruins of a church. Best to visit when full in bloom and I have to admit it’s not one of the quieter spaces, but history-wise interesting.
St. George’s square; what can I say… If you want to be surrounded beautiful chic houses and relax in lovely atmosphere, this long and narrow Pimlico square is perfect. It’s very stately, but is also a good place to hide away especially in Spring and Summer when the trees are leafy. This square is not around the corner from above mentioned St. George’s Churchyard at Long lane, but just a short walk from Pimlico tube station.
Apart from these little green places, the Metropole also offers the bigger parks and private gardens which are worth visiting:
Plus, don’t forget the amazing and award-winning gardens of the Horniman Museum. And even if gardening isn’t your favourite hobby, you should visit (and surely have lunch at) the Garden Museum. If this still isn’t enough to sooth your hunger, you’ll find more information on green spaces in London, walk and cycle tours here.
City farms, buzzing bees and green coloured projects
What’s the buzz
Apart from parks there’s more “green” on offer. City farms and bee-keeping in the middle of a city – nature is always near in London.
I think it’s pretty underestimated how much city farms actually do; it’s not just about goats and chickens… Did you know Stepney City Farm is about to “cultivate 10 new areas for growing food on unused green spaces and wasteland”? That’s the way to go; make use of the unused spots left!
Two of my favourite City farms:
And bee-keeping in the city – you’ll be surprised at how many beehives London has! Both Urban Bees and Capital Bee are organisations that entirely focus on the bees, their well-being and bee-keeping in an environment that’s not rural. And that is so needed.
Another beautiful project for the bees but also for other pollinators is River of Flowers. Planting green meadows through London, this project is keen to make London a perfect place for “pollinators, bees, butterflies and hoverflies, to find forage in the city”.
Yes, she’s mentioned this one before. Yes, she’s a fan! Farm:shop is one of those green projects that I love so well… If your fingers are greener than mine – which in many cases is fact – why not get creative and start growing your own vegetables (inside)? It’s possible even if you live in a city!
Have a look at their website or pay their 20 Dalston Lane shop a visit.
Dalston’s secret garden
Eastern Curve Garden is located on the site of an old railway line and can be found a bit of Dalston Junction. It’s a beautiful space with lots of interesting things going on. For example: on the 30th of September they launch the East London River of Flowers (yes, part of the above mentioned River of Flowers) during the Urban Meadows Festival – will you be there?
Also mentioned this project before, I know…. But again it’s one of those “green” projects I like and that really should be mentioned in this blogpost! Orchards in the middle of London. Everything’s possible.
Greening the Theatre
If you like the idea of combining “theatre” and “green”, than The Arcola Theatre might just be your theatre to visit.
With Green Arcola the Arcola Theatre was amongst the pioneers of greening the theatre. Green Arcola provides “support through researching and implementing sustainable resources” for the Arcola Theatre productions. Also, they’re involved in the Eastern Curve Garden and Dalston Energy Angels – a project set up to help people living in Hackney making their homes greener – just to name a few. They’re everywhere…
If you’d like to visit Arcola Theatre, click here.
Well, I hope I’ve managed to make you all curious enough to start your own hunt for green spaces to read your books. And maybe some fanatics amongst you have even picked up the plan to start a bee-hive in the garden or grow your own vegetable in your kitchen? If still you are not convinced about London and it’s green skills … I’m not sure what will convince you.
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