London Secret Gardens - Inner Temple
The Inner Temple is one of the four Inns of Court in London consisting of the Honourable Societies of the Inner Temple, Middle Temple, Lincoln's Inn and Gray's Inn. The Inner Temple Garden is located within the area of the Inner Temple - a three-acre garden, of wide lawns and rare and unusual trees, facing the north bank of the Thames. The garden is famous for its spectacular herbaceous borders some of which were being renewed and laid out on the mid-summer's day I visited. It's a little bit of heaven and tranquillity right in the heart of London.
The garden is normally open to the public from 12.30-3.00pm on weekdays. Access is via the main gate opposite the Treasury Office on Crown Office Row.
There is no public access catering on-site. I noticed that many of those enjoying the calm and shade of the gardens were office worker spending their down time over the lunch break eating sandwiches or from food boxes from local cafes and food stores. Occasionally private tours of the garden are arranged with Andrea Brunsendorf, Head Gardener at Inner Temple, hosting lunch in the Middle Temple Hall, before exploring the Middle Temple Gardens with Head Gardener Kate Jenrick. Google search for dates and info.
The Natural Kitchen (26 Tudor St, London EC4Y 0AY) is very close and great if you want a good selection of prepared salads, sandwiches, cakes, juices and drinks. My suggestion? - head here first, order a few things to eat alfresco then make straight for the Inner Temple Gardens. Sit on the lawn in full summer sun or by the pond in calm dappled light...kick off your shoes....and relax right in the heart of London!
Once you've spent enough time exploring the gardens, wandered through the small linking courtyards surrounding the Inner and Middle Temple or people watching the members of The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple ......then it's time to move on and explore more of London's hidden gardens.....
Entrance: Crown Office Row, EC4Y 7HL via Tudor Street security gate.
Buses: 4, 11, 15, 23, 26, 63, 76, 100, 172, 388
Underground Stations: Blackfriars, Temple