I’ve always loved going on long walks and discovering what London has to offer, usually during the weekends and especially during lockdown.
Regent’s Park has a little gem. On the Inner Circle, you will find an unassuming gate marked “St John’s Lodge” where you will stumble upon an archway covered in plants, with a vista of a statue at the end of the flower-lined pathway. Follow the path which leads into a secret garden of immense charm, possessing a sense of something cocooning and special. It’s a private garden and not many people know it is there. I didn’t know it existed during my 12 years living in the neighbourhood, only discovering it during lockdown. There are hidden sitting areas in between hedges amongst a variety of plants. This is a place you can relax, take a picnic or flask of tea, read, write, or just contemplate and daydream for a while. Good for your salvation.
The history of the lodge dates to 1818 when the grand house was first built and in 1847 it was owned by the eminent and wealthy Goldsmid brothers. The building was also used by disabled officers during the First World War and hence is rich with history. It later became the Headquarters for the Institute of Archaeology between 1937 – 1958, adding to its many stories to tell. St John's Lodge Garden was designed as a series of compartments ornamented with sculpture and stonework. It was created to be a garden 'fit for meditation' by Robert Weir Shultz in 1889. Unsurprisingly, I felt a magical sense of peace the moment I walked through the gate.
If you live around North or West London, this is a lovely place to visit - so quiet you can listen to the birds singing and you will leave the garden in a far better mood than when you arrived.
We are so lucky to have eight Royal Parks in London that are world famous and key to well-being. These are free to roam and I recommend everyone takes time out of their busy lives to spend time in the nature. Wishing you all peace and joy.