There are many peaceful and chilled-out London places on this blog. But sometimes you want pure silence.
So I’ve compiled the places where I’ve felt truly rested after my visit — where you can just sit alone with your thoughts. Call them mindful, or just peaceful — they’re just great places.
The Brunei Gallery, Bloomsbury
The Brunei Gallery at SOAS University of London is pretty well-known for its Japanese Roof Garden, but the gallery is probably one of the most peaceful places I’ve ever explored in London.
There are a few different areas — all dedicated to exhibits from Asia, Africa and the Middle East — each perfect for sitting still for a while.
Opening times: Tuesday to Saturday, 10.30am-5pm (open Thursday until 8pm)
Nearest Tube: Russell Square
More information: Visit the SOAS website here
RHS Lindley Library
This little library was such a surprise to me. It’s so central, but also so hidden that there was just me and two others there when I visited.
The library itself holds a collection covering gardening — from history to design — and there’s also free wifi available, plus desk space and sofas.
Opening times: Monday to Friday, 10am-5pm
Nearest Tube: Pimlico
More information: Visit the RHS website here
Chelsea Physic Garden
‘London’s secret garden’ has its own microclimate within its walls, thanks to the shelter on three sides from the Chelsea buildings and its proximity to the Thames.
This (along with the shelter afforded by the trees) also means that it’s incredibly peaceful, and there are so many little corners to escape to when you’re done admiring the 5,000 plants.
Opening times: Monday, 11am-5pm; Tuesday to Friday 11am-6pm; Sundays, 11am-6pm
Nearest Tube: Sloane Square
More information: Visit the Chelsea Physic Garden website
St Bartholomew the Great
Long-term readers of this blog will know I am a huge fan of St Bartholomew the Great (plus the hospital and museum).
It’s honestly one of my favourite places and the 11th-century walls are incredibly protecting against the noise of Smithfield outside.
There’s also a cafe and you can currently see a Damien Hirst artwork in the south transept. Read more about St Bart’s history here.
Opening times: Monday to Friday, 8.30am-4pm (until 5pm in spring/summer); Saturday, 10.30am-4pm; Sunday, 8.30am-8pm
Nearest Tube: Farringdon / St Paul’s
More information: Visit the Great St Bart’s website
St Etheldreda’s Church
When I pushed open the heavy door of the oldest Catholic church in England, I really didn’t know what to expect.
The door to the 13th-century church is hemmed in by office buildings either side, on a gated road behind Hatton Garden in Holborn. This already means it’s pretty quiet, but inside the church I literally could have heard a pin drop, plus I was the only one in there.
If you’re ever in the Holborn area, visit this hidden gem for break from everything.
Opening times: Monday to Saturday, 8am-5pm; Sunday: 8am-12.30pm
Nearest Tube: Liverpool Street
More information: Visit the St Etheldreda Church website
Another one of my favourites, Skoob Books was one of the first places I wrote about on this blog and I have been back several times since.
One of my favourite things about Skoob is that it’s underground, so no one can get phone signal, and there’s no background music, either.
Oh, and they do really good deals on a lot of books.
Opening times: Monday to Friday, 10.30am-8pm; Sundays and bank holidays, 10.30am-6pm
Nearest Tube: Russell Square
More information: Visit the Skoob Books website
The Petrie Museum
Forget the British Museum — the best place to see the product of Egyptian and Sudanese archaeology is the Petrie Museum at University College London.
This small museum is hidden away in the museum buildings and you can see 8,000 objects completely free — not that many other people know about it. Alongside the Grant Museum of Zoology, it’s one of Bloomsbury’s most peaceful hidden gems.
Opening times: Tuesday to Saturday, 1pm-5pm
Nearest Tube: Euston Square
More information: Visit the UCL website here