This beautiful gift book is small enough to be shoved in your backpack as you head off to get your nature fix in London. Enticing photos and good directions make this one of those guides that is as good to fall into on the tube as it is to work out where to find a wildlife friendly pond to picnic next to (Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park).
Some of the places listed I can vouch for myself. I like the crazy little triangular castle at Severndroog which has amazing views over London; Spitalfields City Farm, home of the Oxford v Cambridge Goat race; and Bunhill Fields, the city oasis that’s also the burial place of William Blake. But I was really impressed with how many of the places listed I’d never heard of – what about seeing herons at the Greenwich Peninsula Ecology park, or learning woodworking at the Green Wood Guild in Stepney?
There are useful suggestions of relaxing pubs and outdoor activities, and also a list of festivals such as the Marylebone Summer Fayre and the Cultivate Festival in Waltham Forest. Many of the things listed are free, and also easily accessed by public transport. If you’re hot in the city just now, this book will help you get a bit of country escapism without having to go too far.
A great local tip for next time you’re in the bookshop – it’s not too far to the fabulous Red Cross Garden, free and friendly for Bankside.