Patrick Dalton of Shit London listed five less-than-glamourous secret London spots a couple of weeks ago, but in a slightly sprightly mood, Kate Ingram (above) of City Girl Diaries has chosen some charming places to make you love London even more. These places will bring you history, culture and lovely stuff to buy, not that any of us need an excuse to spend money at this time of year.
Postman’s Park – King Edward Street, Smithfield, EC4M 7DQ
Nestled unassumingly on the edge of London’s financial district, Postman’s Park is a beautiful green space and spiritual sanctuary. Paying tribute to ordinary people who lost their lives saving others (via the stunning, tiled Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice), Postman’s Park is a special, humbling place to sit upon a bench and take a step back from the bustling world beyond.
Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art
The Estorick Collection is found within a handsome Georgian house in Islington which, along with the lack of crowds compared to other London galleries, adds to its appeal and the sense that you are uncovering extraordinary art in a secret space. The UK’s only gallery devoted to modern Italian art, a trip here is a treat. The permanent collection includes work by Modigliani which shares the spotlight with temporary collections, an impressive library, shop and outside café. Canonbury Square is a picturesque spot in itself.
Queen Square – Bloomsbury, WC1N 3AR
Queen Square is one of London’s many squares featuring grand, attractive architecture and a magical, historic ambience, yet not many people (even London cabbies) seem to know how to find it. Surrounded mostly by medical buildings, the inner green space is a hidden gem and would make a serene picnic spot to enjoy before exploring the surrounding area. Maybe a film at the nearby Renoir cinema?
It seems that only locals know and love this delightful shop, where expertly edited indie (often Scandinavian) fashion labels and enchanting gifts are displayed in an irresistibly pretty way. A treasure trove for the shopper looking for something different, your first trip here will certainly not be your last.
Sourced Market, St Pancras International station
Whether or not you are en route to Paris, St Pancras International is an awe-inspiring station to visit. A welcome respite from the many chains surrounding it, Sourced Market celebrates the best of British produce and is open seven days a week, 7am to 9pm. Find your fresh fruit and vegetables or magnificent Flour Power City brownies then sit down for (or take away) a hot breakfast, lunch or dinner. A heavenly pit stop for foodies and a great place for gifts. Ashleigh Arnott