Fantastic four: a quartet of ideas for a relaxing day out in London


Yes, famed it may be as one of the most hurly-burly cities in the world where everything’s done at an electric pace, but London’s also about relaxation – especially for visitors. After all, why would millions flock to the UK capital every year if they didn’t enjoy (their own brand of) rest and recuperation in the place. Doubtful? Well, just take a gander at these four varied ideas for passing several hours of the day in as relaxed a manner as possible in The Big Smoke…


Wallow in the London Wetlands Centre

Across the River Thames from the traffic hotspot that’s Hammersmith, these 100 acres of gardens, lakes and ponds in Barnes are, by contrast, a terrifically tranquil haven of natural beauty and wildlife activity. Indeed, to spend any length of time in this environment is to feel like you’ve just stepped into the English countryside, such an ideal venue it is for birdwatching and observing river- and pond-life of all kinds.

Take a solar-powered ride along the Serpentine

Sure, you could rely on peddle-power to get about on this most glorious of man-made lakes that separates Hyde Park from Kensington Garden in the heart of the city, but why go out on a pedalo when you can enjoy a quiet, calming sojourn aboard the UK’s first vessel powered by the sun alone, the Solarshuttle? Indeed, it’s surely just the dignified excursion to go along nicely with an elegant stay at a centrally-located boutique hotel London, like The Montcalm Chiswell Street with its highly recommended Brewery restaurant.

Discover the sights and delights of Southwark

Lying between the London Bridge and Waterloo areas of London just inland from the Thames’s south bank, Southwark may not strike one as the most sought-after destination in the capital, nor its most relaxing. But, like appearances, reputations can be deceptive. You’d be wise to start off with Nunhead Cemetery, an elegant, old Victorian-gothic place of rest for many (include some notable people from years past), then move on to the near-rural reality of Sydenham Woods, where the friendliness of the local dog-walkers is matched only by the tranquillity of the yawning trees and beauty of the area.

Feed a llama at Mudchute City Farm

Finally, this one’s a doozy should you feel like you’re in need a serious – or not so serious, as it happens – dose of destressing. The fantastic family-friendly attraction that’s Mudchute City Farm is to be found on the Isle of Dogs, the promontory that helps create an enormous bend in East London. As this is all about trying to remain stress-free, don’t hop on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR; the Tube equivalent in this part of town); instead, take a water-bound river bus to Masthouse Terrace on the Thames’s north side or Greenwich on the south.

From either of these stops, the farm’s a mere 15-minute walk (healthy and refreshing if the weather’s decent!) and, once there, you’ll doubtless discover the stresses lift off you as you come face-to-face with, stroke the heads of and, yes, feed the likes of alpacas, pleasant horses and lovely llamas. Entry to the farm’s free, but to show your appreciation – and help maintain its running costs – you could contribute a mere £1 to their coffers; they don’t ask for anything more!