By Koray Hussein
We here at Maybe It’s Because may love this city so much that we’re willing to dedicate an excessive amount of time to writing about it but don’t get it twisted, we understand that London is a pretty harsh city. Everything moves at a hundred miles an hour (apart from the service at MEATmission) and it always feels like London’s biding it’s time before it decides chews you up and spits you out just for the fun of it.
So, with that cheery image firmly in your mind, I thought I’d write up a list of places to go to when this city just gets a little too much and you need to go and clear your head.
St Thomas’ Hospital Garden
Yes, a hospital garden.
Well, the garden is open 24 hours a day, overlooks the houses of parliament and is usually completely empty through the night. It isn’t exactly the quietest spot on this list as the traffic from Westminster Bridge can get a little distracting during the day but once the a.m’s send the p.m’s on their way, this little place turns into a godsend for a perennially fucked off insomniac like myself. It’s almost always a stop off point on one of my night shoots/walks down London’s South Bank and It doesn’t hurt that there’s an all night coffee shop in the hospital to grab a cup of energy if need be.
I know, I know, this place again. Like the garden at St Thomas’ Hospital, St Dunstan-in-the-East is a literal stones throw from busy traffic and crowds of bustling tourists… unlike the garden at St Thomas’ Hospital though, you’d be hard pressed to know it once inside.
The garden at St Dunstan does get a little busy during lunch hours due to the office buildings nearby but if you ever find yourself in the Tower Hill area in the morning or later in the afternoon then this is a great spot to just slip on some Mazzy Star (my personal soundtrack to St Dunstan-in-the-East), whip out a book, or curse the world.
Millennium Bridge… At 3am…ish
London’s Millennium Bridge may be an absolute shit-storm of slow walking tourists and selfie sticks during the day but once the lights go out and everybody who knows what a bed time is goes home, it becomes one of the most peaceful parts of Central London.
You’ll still get the odd couple wandering home after a night out or an overly enthusiastic jogger trudging along but most of the time you’ll be left on your lonesome with St Paul’s Cathedral at your feet, Tower Bridge and The Shard looming over you to your right, Blackfriars Bridge all lit up to your left and the intimidating Tate Modern standing behind you.
Victoria & Albert Museum
This could easily have been the British Museum or Tate Britain but (in my opinion at least) there is no better museum or gallery to lose yourself in than the Victoria & Albert Museum near Sloane Square. I’m not exactly sure why it is, but even when the V & A is ram packed with visitors it still manages to maintain that extremely calm and relaxing atmosphere that it’s known for… a feat that only The Sackler Room at the National Gallery can match. That being said, I don’t think there’s a spot in the entire National Gallery more peaceful than the large balcony overlooking the Cromwell Road entrance.
Highgate East Cemetery
Is including a cemetery weird? It’s weird isn’t it? I don’t care.
I really could have put any of London’s Magnificent Seven cemeteries on this list but after thinking about it for way longer than I had initially planned, I stumped for Highgate’s Eastern Cemetery. It’s quiet, has many nooks and crannies to explore and has enough benches dotted around to make finding a spot to sit down and take it all in a breeze. The only negative I’ll give Highgate is the fact that there’s an admission of £4 whilst both Brompton and Abney Park Cemetery are free to enter. If you don’t feel like paying the £4 entry, then I’d probably go with Brompton.
What do you guys think? Do you agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments below or hit us up on Twitter.