19. Oasis of Calm in London’s heart: Picnic in Phoenix Gardens

When you are stuck in town on a sunny day with hot pavement beneath your feet and air full of exhaust fumes, it all can get a bit too much.  Luckily tucked behind the Odeon on Shaftesbury Avenue, close to the hustle and bustle of Soho and the exhausting entertainments of Covent Garden is a little oasis of calm. Phoenix Gardens are the ideal place to take a picnic (or just a coffee or book) and relax for a while.

Looked after by volunteers with an innovative approach to gardening; a few rambling brambles and wayward nettles amongst the plants help attract even more birds, butterflies and bees. The garden seems to absorb people so you can always find some space to yourself and the rule of no ball games mean you are free from flying footballs.  Although the other rule of no alcohol means your picnic will have to be without some Pimms, but then again an afternoon of abstinence before heading into Soho is no bad thing.

Whether you have 5 minutes to spare next time you are nearby or decide to organise a picnic, these gardens are well worth a visit. There are few places right in the centre of London that can be called truly peaceful and generally tourist free but this is definitely one of them, so make the most of it! If you like the gardens but are not in to the whole peaceful thing then you can hire them and have a party so that all your friends can see its delights.

On a summers day this is the perfect place to take some time out and dream of the countryside before immersing yourself back into the London life, you had forgotten was just a plant bed away.

TOP TIP M&S at Covent Garden does very good picnic food and is only a few minutes walk away!

Author: Rose Atkinson

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