51/52 – Brown Hart Gardens, Mayfair
As much as I try to embrace winter (and I really, really try), I guess I just can’t help being a summer baby at heart. It makes me so happy when those first sunny days come along, and this year it feels like I’ve been waiting for ever – seriously I think I shed an actual tear of joy the first time I stepped outside my house and felt the sunshine. I’ve been desperately trying to get as much sun as I can, I really can’t tell you how much it cheers me up when it’s sunny! I guess that’s what you get for having a June birthday, right?
Anyway, for our penultimate stop in my 52 places in London challenge*, I might have found not only one of my new favourite places in London, but one of my new favourite places ever. Just outside Bond Street underground station, between Selfridges and the West One Shopping centre, there’s a matrix of little side streets, full of Mayfair charm and a surprising calm that you wouldn’t expect when you’re a thirty second walk from the busiest shopping street in the city.
A photographer I follow on Instagram shared a picture of this little spot a few weeks ago and I immediately decided I had to visit next time I had a spare hour or two. An unexpected day off work found me wandering around this gorgeous little area on a sunny afternoon and I knew as soon as I saw the Brown Hart rooftop Garden that I’d found something pretty special, a lovely little oasis in the heart of beautiful Mayfair. Although it is a ‘rooftop’ garden, it’s only raised one storey above street level, so you still feel like you’re nestled in amongst all the surrounding red brick buildings, but you’re away from the road and can enjoy your sandwiches in absolute peace.
It’s not a huge area, just a small café (which serves cake and tea and expensive toasties), and then lots of seating, lots of plants and the odd water feature. It feels like a pretty well-kept secret amongst the locals and those who work locally and enjoy their lunch breaks up here, and I can see why! It’s an ideal spot to escape the office, sit yourself down in the sun, eat your packed lunch (or a massive bowl of sushi – my choice every time) and, well, just chill.
It would be the perfect break from a day of shopping on Oxford street, and nearby Grosvenor gardens are within wandering distance if you want to get away from the crowds and buses for a while and enjoy seeing some actual grass and actual trees. Selfridges, just across the street, is a good bet for any number of things you might need, while Forever21, H&M, Boots, Gap and many more are less than two minutes from the underground station – if you’re looking for a minimal-stress shopping experience, I would definitely head to Bond Street and you could be done with your shopping in plenty of time to get cookies and head to Brown Hart Gardens and soak up that winter sun. If anybody needs me, I’ll be on my roof pretending it’s June already.
*I know I was due to finish this month! I’ve actually been to four or five new places in February – trying to go to Chinatown on Chinese New Year with my mortal fear of parades was a particularly traumatic experience – but for one reason or another none of those places worked as fully photographed/ researched blog posts, so I hope you’ll forgive me delaying for one more month, and enjoy today’s particularly wonderful place!