Wednesday, July 16, 2014

quiet time, green spaces

One half of us is back in London, and the Wonder Wander Women are missing each other!

When we are in one place we always manage to find some quiet time to spend together, but once 'us time' is over and we go back to our daily routine it's sometimes hard to remember to give ourselves a little space.

Here are some of the places we visit for a little peace of mind.

The Barbican Centre is famous for its theatre, library and exhibition galleries, but it has a surprisingly green heart. The beautiful water gardens here are one of London's best open secrets.

Even Jane Austen listed Hampstead Heath as a favourite leisure spot. This park is enormous, and features swimming ponds which are open year-round, including a women's-only area where topless sunbathing is allowed.

There are some dark, wild spots in the Heath that are great for photography.

St. James's Park used to be the royal hunting park, right next to Buckingham Palace, and no one could hunt there except the King. These days it's a popular birdwatching spot, famous for the nesting pelicans.

Hyde Park is, of course, the most famous London park, and one of its biggest. During the summer much of the open space is blocked off for concerts, and the Serpentine is clogged with tourists trying the rowing and other activities. But because it's so large, it still has a few quiet, scenic spots away from the general congestion.

Sometimes London dishes up a nice surprise in an unexpected place. Grosvenor Square, the small green park next to the forbidding US Embassy, is a lesser-known summer recreation area for kids. 

This year young Londoners were treated to a touch of Surrealism in the park, with giant-size Jenga, chess and checkers games, and a Mongolian yurt with comfy bean bags for kids and their parents to take a break...and a few deep, calming breaths before they went back to their busy city life!

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