If, like us, you’re longing for more of last weekend’s weather – the hottest of the year so far – you’ll be saddened to hear that there’s rain predicted for the rest of April (we guess it had to get its showers in somewhere). But fear not, for we’ve lined up some of the best indoor green-spirational places the capital has to offer to keep you canopy craving, sun-starved Londoner's satisfied until the downpour decreases.
A garden at 525 feet – the sixth tallest in the City – with spectacular views over London? Of course we’re into it. The distinctive glass dome located on Fenchurch Street encompasses three stories of public gardens – landscaped by award-winning green architecture practice Gillespies – with social spaces, an observation deck and an open air terrace (should the unwanted showers cease). The predominantly green garden also boasts flowering plants. Impress your companion by reading up on African Lily, Red Hot Poker, French Lavender, and Bird of Paradise stems (or go solo to avoid intellectual embarrassment).
Located on the Thames, next to Lambeth Palace, The Garden Museum celebrates British gardens and gardening through its expertly curated collection, and its exhibition and events calendar. Right now you can choose from Cedric Morris: Artist Plantsman – a 30-year strong collection of the artist’s painted portraits, still lives and landscapes – and Charlotte Verity’s watercolour exhibition titled In Their Garden. Oh, and of course there’s a garden too, in which you can enjoy a menu of seasonal dishes.
A plant-filled space just off Clekenwell’s Exmouth Market, the Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings combine a restaurant, greenhouse, cocktail bar, cookery school and a late night underground drinking den. Each room in the large light-drenched space is gloriously-green, filled with hanging plants, trailing creepers, potted palms, and botanical themed soft furnishings. We suggest ordering a pot of herbal tea and working from a tropical palm-printed chair next time you’re “working” from home.
Chances are you’ve visited our friends Petersham Nurseries in Richmond, but have you been to their Covent Garden space that’s set within an impressive Grade II listed Victorian building? It features a florist, a delicatessen, and an emporium of hand-curated homeware and furnishings, surrounded by greenery and exotic indoor potted plants. If you’re looking for a slice of the country in zone 1, and you’re got a penchant for artisanal gardening tools – set aside an afternoon to explore Petersham Nurseries’ newest venture.
We first fell in love with the brutalist exterior of the Barbican, standing defiant against the city skyline. But one of the main things that keeps us coming back is the stunning conservatory that functions as the heart of the complex. Its tropical interior is home to a multitude of fantastical-looking palms and over 2000 species of fish (there really are more fish in the… pond). Take a moment’s respite on the bench near the pond, drink in the tropical sensations and imagine yourself far far away… It’s the perfect foil for the urban extravaganza that houses it, and therefore also feels like the best place to end our exploration of London’s natural escapes.