Great Places to Relax in the Sun in Central London

With the weather getting warmer and more of us returning to the office, it’s good to know where the beautiful open spaces are around central London so you can sit, relax, and enjoy the sun.

St Dunstan-in-the-East Church Garden 

Frequently referred to as “London’s secret garden”, this is one of the city’s most unique areas to relax in. 

The St Dunstan’s church that once stood here was badly damaged from the 1666 Great Fire of London and the Blitz in 1941. So, in 1970, it was decided that the remains would be turned into a public garden.  

Today, lush green shrubbery winds its way in and out of the Gothic window arches to give an almost rainforest vibe to the garden, while a combination of flowers and ivy growing along the walls are quintessentially British.

You can sit on one of the many benches to enjoy the beautiful peace and quiet this garden has to offer – this truly is an oasis of calm in the middle of a bustling city. 

Located at: St Dunstan's Hill, London, EC3R 5DD.

Open: Year-round from 8 am until dusk. 

Nearest stations: Great Tower Street, Monument Station, Fenchurch Street.

St Dunstan in the East Church Garden

Victoria Embankment Gardens 

Located along the River Thames, this is the perfect spot to look out over the South Bank and soak up the warming sunshine. Once you have taken in the view, take a gentle stroll around the gardens, frequently voted one of London’s Green Flag Parks. 

Opened in 1865, this beautiful open space winds its way along the river and offers three different gardens to explore; Temple Garden, Villiers Street Garden and Whitehall Garden. Onsite, you will also find the Embankment Café, where you can enjoy a refreshment or cooling ice cream on the charming garden pavilion or terrace. 

Incredibly popular with local office workers, there are plenty of benches and walls to sit on and enjoy your lunch, or for a full day of relaxation, you can even hire a deckchair during the warmer months. 

Located at: Victoria Embankment Gardens, Villiers Street, Charing Cross, London WC2N 6NS

Open: Year-round from 7 am until 9 pm.

Nearest stations: Embankment Station, Charing Cross Station and Temple Station.

Hyde Park

If you are currently living in London, you will already know how popular Hyde Park is with the locals and tourists. 

Only a stone’s throw from the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street, Hyde Park has been offering a peaceful green retreat for residents since it opened to the public in 1637. 

You will find plenty of space to sit and relax on the enormous 350 acres of land. If you fancy stretching your legs, take a walk to the south east corner of the park where you will find the majestic Serpentine Lake – walk across the beautiful bridge or sail around the lake on one of the charming rowing boats. 

This park is ideal for lunch breaks and after-work picnics. On lazy sunny afternoons, consider hiring a deckchair for maximum comfort. 

Located at: Westminster, London, SW7 1NR.

Open: Year-round, 5 am until midnight.

Nearest Stations: Hyde Park Corner, Marble Arch, Knightsbridge and Lancaster Gate.

Hyde Park

Soho Square 

An often-forgotten gem, this adorable square is located just behind Oxford Street and provides a quiet escape from the hubbub of London.

Dating back to 1681, the square is famous for its unique Tudor style hut that sits in the middle of the garden. The unique hut was once used as an access point to the electricity substation beneath it, and later on, the 3,200 square-foot space doubled up as a bomb shelter during World War II.

With numerous benches and seating areas throughout, this relaxed garden is the ideal spot to enjoy the sun during your lunch break.

Located at: Soho Square, Westminster, London, W1D 3QN.

Open: Year-round, 8 am – dusk.

Nearest stations: Tottenham Court Road, Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus.

St James’s Park

Bordering Buckingham Palace and Clarence House, St James’s Park is arguably one of the most famous of London’s eight Royal Parks. Each year, the country’s attention turns to the park to witness the Horse Guards Parade for the annual Trooping the Colour, marking the Queen’s official birthday.

Sitting on 57 acres, the park boasts an abundance of lush greenery, bright yellow daffodils in Spring and exquisite wildlife, from ducks to geese and even pelicans. 
Sit back and enjoy the incredible views of the Royal Palace or wander to the Blue Bridge, where you will have magnificent views back across the park. 

This is the perfect park for a full day of relaxation and reconnecting with nature. 

Located at: London, SW1A 2BJ.

Open: Year-round 5am-midnight

Nearest stations: St James’s Park, Charing Cross Station, Westminster and Green Park.

St James Park

Russell Square 

The second-largest square in central London is located in the heart of the West End, just a four-minute walk from The British Museum.

Originally created in 1804, the square was originally owned by the affluent Russell family and formed part of their expansive Bloomsbury Estate. The square was re-landscaped in 2002 and the gardens are now Grade II listed.

Russell Square is a popular place for locals and workers to sit and watch the world go by. Surrounded by fragrant flower beds and a selection of oak, lime and holly trees, this will feel like your own piece of nature in the middle of busy London.

On your way out, don’t forget to pick up a refreshing drink from Walkmisu, the two former red telephone boxes that have been conveniently converted into an Italian tiramisú and coffee shop.

Located at: London, WC1B 5LF.

Open: Year-round, 7am until 10pm.

Nearest stations: Russell Square

Holland Park 

Located in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea lies Holland Park, formerly home to Holland House. After the house was badly damaged during the Second World War, the grounds were transformed into the public park you see today. 

Holland Park remains a popular place for locals and visitors to come and sit, chat and relax. Try to catch a glimpse of the numerous wildlife that roam around the 52-acre park or wind your way through the woodland to see tulips in Spring and roses in bloom during the Summer.

Holland Park is also home to the charming Kyoto Garden, a Japanese garden that was donated by the Chamber of Commerce of Kyoto in 1991. It provides a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of London’s streets. 

Located at: Ilchester Place, London, W8 6LU.

Open: Year-round, dawn till dusk

Nearest stations: Kensington High Street Station and Notting Hill Gate

Holland Park
If you would like to take advantage of these incredible open green spaces all year-round, take a look at our extensive collection of London apartments available across the city.