Tucked away within the oldest part of London, also known as the City of London, are some of the most wonderful gardens and secret spaces.There are over a hundred gardens to enjoy.
Many of the gardens were created around Roman remains and church ruins, or after the Second World War when much of the area was bombed out. Newer additions include sky gardens or chill-out areas attached to newer developments
I am going to showcase a few of these gardens.
St Alphage Garden and Salters’ Garden
These gardens are adjacent to one another and are flanked by the old Roman and Medieval City Wall below the Barbican walkways. They are steeped in history.
St Alphage garden was part of St Alphage Church dating back to 12th century but was then destroyed during the blitz. The Salters’ Garden is owned by the Worshipful Company of Salters, one of the twelve great Livery Companies that represents the salt trade.
The gardens have their own distinct personalities. The Salters’ Garden is very much a modern urban space with a formal style of planting with hedges, lawns, pergolas, water features and seating areas but keep exploring and you will find the tranquil secluded corners of St Alphage Garden, situated in the old churchyard of St Alphage.
The Churchyard of St John Zachary
This fabulous garden is on the site of the former churchyard and church of St John Zachary. The Church was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666. The land was then acquired and built upon by the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths and destroyed in the blitz.
This multi-level garden, with its gravestones and mature trees and steps leading down to the excavated site of the church with seating, lawn, fountains and sculpture is a delightful distraction from the buzz of the City. Look out for the leopards’ heads in the garden, the mark of the Assay Office!
This is a gem of a park, a quirky delight, hidden away and surrounded by office blocks. It is named after the workers from a former sorting office who used to spend their lunchtimes there. It was once the burial grounds for three nearby churches but today it showcases trees from all over the world, even a banana tree! It is home to the touching memorial to heroic self sacrifice, the brainchild of the artist George Frederick Watts. On one side of the park there are over 50 plaques, each dedicated to an ordinary person in the Victorian era who gave his or her life in an attempt to save someone. These beautiful tiles are handmade and each one has a story to tell. Try to spot a fairly recent addition!