London is known as one of the most exciting and vibrant cities in the world, with people from all over the globe and relishing the chance to call the capital of England their home. A city in high demand often indicates a 24/7 hotspot full of life, colour, flavour and buzz. While this is eminently a good thing, there are times when you need to take five from the constant hustle and bustle and de-stress, so you can take stock and recharge the batteries.
While some may think the answer lies in a weekend escape from the city, there are actually many areas that you can visit in the capital which allow you to unwind in peaceful and scenic surroundings that offer calm, serenity and relaxation.
On our mission to making renting better (and more relaxing), we've teamed up with Urban Massage to explore five relaxing and tranquil areas in London you might be interested in moving to. As we know moving home can be a bit of a headache, you can enjoy £10 off your first Urban Massage with the code MOVEBUBBLE. We did say we like to take the stress out of renting.
Now, about the five most relaxing areas...
You might think that we’d plump for Hampstead when it comes to a relaxing area in North London. But we have gone for Highgate, its neighbour just a couple of miles up the road. As lovely and scenic as Hampstead is, overcrowding can be an issue - especially on weekends. Highgate, however, offers the same level of charm, easy access to the beautiful Hampstead Heath and has only half of the people.
So, how do you create a relaxing experience in Highgate? For starters, we suggest a lazy afternoon stroll on Hampstead Heath, which covers over 790 acres. Alternatively, Highgate Wood offers scenic woodland where you feel like you're a million miles away from the noise of the city.
If you're looking for something peaceful to do that doesn't require much movement, visit the Highgate Pantry in the village and indulge with something sweet. Or head to one of the many gastropubs for a lazy Sunday lunch. The Angel Inn on Highgate High Street is a particular favourite.
Home to one of the most famous and tranquil botanic gardens in the world, it’s hard to replicate the level of relaxation on offer in Kew, where you can spend time wandering around Kew Gardens’ 130 acres, which include treetop walkways and tropical glasshouses.
In fact, Kew Gardens offers a plethora of relaxing treats, including Palm House, the beautiful Victorian glasshouse, and a Japansese Landscape garden. You will easily find inner peace at Kew Gardens.
When you’re not experiencing a dose of relaxation in the gardens, the area of Kew itself provides the backdrop to escapism from the regular London lifestyle. The leafy area is popular with families thanks to green spaces and 18th century buildings that wouldn’t look out of place in a country village.
It's hard to beat Barnes when it comes to relaxation in the capital, thanks to a scenic riverside setting combined with a rural feel. Cottages and Georgian architecture adorn the SW13 postcode, which is just a 15-minute train ride into central London.
If you want to picture the scene in Barnes, think lunch at a charming 17th-century pubs like The White Heart, a stroll on the local village green, perhaps stopping to admire a game at the local cricket pitch, before stopping to visit an ancient church just for good measure. And you can round it off with an afternoon tea at Orange Pekoe on White Hart Lane.
If anywhere says ‘lazy Sunday afternoon’, it’s Barnes and its tranquil surroundings.
Wapping enjoys a certain charm thanks to its position as a waterside town tucked away from the cauldron of the City. Yet the E1W postcode is located close enough for you to quickly switch between quiet cobbled streets and a hectic city lifestyle with minimal fuss.
The area has a peaceful vibe and features riverside pubs, warehouse apartments and quaint restaurants and coffee shops, such as Cinnamon Coffee Shop on Wapping Lane. There is also the Wapping Old Stairs, which is probably one of the quietest and most relaxing places in London.
Greenwich might be one of the most well-known areas in South East London, but if you feel like turning the tempo down a notch or two, head to Blackheath, which is around three miles away. Stroll through Blackheath Common while taking in the pleasant sights of the village-like town.
Blackheath is less than six miles from Canary Wharf, but they are a million miles apart in terms of atmosphere. For Canary Wharf’s dominating skyscrapers and high-intensity hustle, Blackheath offers quaint cafes, boutique shops and period properties set to a backdrop that looks more like a country village than London town.
For those of you looking for the full relaxation treatment, Intercontinental O2 is located just three miles away and offers a five-star spa service where you can truly unwind and embrace complete serenity.
Summary of the top five most relaxing and peaceful areas in London
- Highgate, North London
- Kew, Twickenham
- Barnes, South West London
- Wapping, East London
- Blackheath, South East London
So, there you have it: our five favourite areas to unwind, relax and enjoy a laid-back and peaceful atmosphere. Despite the reputation London has garnered for constantly being on the go, there is always somewhere where you can go to escape the intensity.
We’d love to know some of your favourite areas for relaxing in London. Let us know where you go to escape in the comments below.