One of my favourite movies as a kid was The Secret Garden. The premise is essentially that three friends discover a secret garden and all sorts of wonderful things happen. Since I’ve seen that movie numerous times, I have always loved the idea of a garden as sanctuary, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the world, where one could simply stroll in, admire and also have a picnic.
On a recent trip to London, walking through the financial district, I saw some trees tucked away on a quiet cobblestone road. It seemed a little out of place considering the area and how it juxtaposed with the futuristic, sci-fi buildings of various financial institutions (as example, see the insurance giant Lloyd’s building).
To my surprise, I walked over and discovered St Dunstan-in-the-East.
It was remarkable even at this time of the year.
I also found great photos online of what St. Dunstan’s looks like in full-leafed summer glory. I’m sharing them here as they really do the place justice.St. Dustan’s was a Church of England parish church originally built in 1100. The gothic-style church was largely destroyed in the Blitz during the Second World War.After the war, it was decided that St. Dustan’s church would not be rebuilt. The ruins were left untouched for over three decades.It was only in 1971 that the City of London decided to turn the ruins of the church into a public garden.With wall shrubs and climbers, tall trees and a fountain in the middle, today it is the perfect garden retreat.This green oasis is busy on weekdays during lunchtime with office workers eating their lunches and taking it easy.St. Dunstan-in-the-East is a wonderful example of creative reuse and satisfies all of my childhood daydreams of a secret garden.
Do you know of any other secret gardens in London?