London’s one of the busiest and most popular capital cities in the world, and it’s not difficult to see why. But it’s still possible to get away from it all and find amazing secret places in London.
Less than ten miles from central London is the beautiful suburb of Richmond. Famed for it’s greenery, riverside location and gorgeous shops and restaurants, this affluent part of London ticks all the right boxes.
But hidden on the edge of Richmond, close to the River Thames is one of the best secret places in London – in fact it is so hidden that unless you’re in the know, you’ll never really know it’s there.
Petersham Nurseries is no ordinary garden centre.
Apart from winning numerous awards and being internationally recognised for its plants, Petersham Nurseries is an idyllic hideaway, a secret garden that is a world away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Home to a restaurant, cafe and boutique shop, as well as being a garden centre, its creative design and layout leaves you feeling like you’ve left the sights, sounds and smells of London behind and walked into a secret world of days gone by.
The cafe and restaurant are both situated in old green houses, which have long been left for nature to take over and turn into a green space – vines grow through walls, and plants snake up the side of the windows.
The old vintage chairs and tables give it a feel of abandonment, that the nursery has been deserted and left to turn back to nature, but the chitter chatter of visitors and the staff running around means this place is anything but quiet.
In fact, those in the know will tell you that if you’re after lunch in the cafe, whether inside the gorgeous rainforest-esque green house or in the shade of one of the big umbrellas outside, you will need to get there early to nab yourself a table.
The food here is all ethically sourced and the team at Petersham Nurseries work as part of the ‘slow food’ movement. The cafe provides simple but very tasty salads, soups and quiches, as well as incredible cakes and tea.
If you’re looking for something more substantial then the restaurant maybe more your thing – a top tip is to go in the evening when the sun has gone down and have a romantic meal with the beautiful rope lights shining brightly.
Definitely something that’ll get you brownie points in the romance stakes!
Once you’ve spent an hour unwinding over some lunch, make sure to spend some time wandering around the nursery and admiring all the plants and flowers on offer.
There’s also a lovely little boutique shop selling shabby chic items – in fact it feels like you’ve wandered into a pirates cave with so many lovely and beautiful things that glisten and other bits that wouldn’t look out of place in a rustic Chateau in France.
I was left feeling completely calm and relaxed after my visit to Petersham Nurseries and it truly is one of the best secret places in London, and well worth the trek out for!
If you have time, I highly recommend walking down to the river and exploring the riverside, as well as walking along into the town and exploring Richmond Hill. While quite a walk (especially in the summer sunshine) the view from the top is well worth it.
If you’re keen to visit, I highly recommend getting public transport and walking or getting a taxi to Petersham, the little village where the nursery is located. It’s a really wonderful walk from Richmond!
If you’d like to check out the menu, or book a table in the restaurant, you can do so here: Petersham Nurseries Menu
And if you’re planning a wedding, you can also hold your reception here. I don’t think anything could be more romantic than this for a small, intimate wedding day.