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London’s Secrets: Peaceful Places

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London is one of the world’s most exciting cities, but it’s also one of the noisiest; a bustling, chaotic, frenetic, over-crowded, manic metropolis of over 8 million people, where it can be difficult to find somewhere to grab a little peace and quiet. Nevertheless,  if you know where to look London has a wealth of peaceful places – places to relax, chill out, contemplate, meditate, sit, reflect, browse, read, chat, nap, walk, think, study  or even work (if you must) – where the city’s volume is muted or even switched off completely.

     Peaceful Places  contains over 200 of the author’s and his friends’, colleagues’ and acquaintances’ favourite locations throughout the city, from restful gardens and  serene churches to silent libraries and inspiring galleries; intimate hotels to blissful spas and cosy cafés; smart shops and atmospheric markets to appealing restaurants and charming tea rooms; quiet museums and sweeping parks to relaxing walks and friendly  pubs – and much more. Moreover, these places haven’t just been selected for their quietude but also for their excellence: every entry has something special to offer, be it a warm welcome, excellent food/drink, fascinating history, attractive ambience, glorious scenery or tempting goods for sale.

     Peace is a relative term, however, and not all places are whisper-quiet all the time;  even churches have bell-ringing and organ practice, and many parks host noisy school parties and sports events. You can, of course, expect bookshops, libraries, galleries, museums and spas (and churches and parks!) to be tranquil most of the time, but even cafés, restaurants, pubs and bars can be surprisingly quiet – although you may need to  time your visit a little more carefully. With regard to the latter, we have chosen venues with gardens, terraces, panoramic views and cosy corners – places where you can find  a bit of personal space and grab some ‘me’ time along with your refreshments.

     So whether you’re seeking a place to recharge your batteries, rest your head, revive your spirits, restock your larder or refuel your body; somewhere to inspire, soothe or uplift your mood; or you just wish to discover a part of London that’s a few steps further off the beaten track, Peaceful Places  will steer you in the right direction.


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On Amazon you will find plenty of guides to the bright lights of London that will tell you where to find historic sites, shopping, music, theatre and where to go to see and be seen. This book is an antidote to those books: once you have had your fill of London's noise and bustling you can reach for this book and use it to find your own sanctuary from the over 200 listed.
It offers chapters to match your mood and inclination covering destinations such as bookshops, museums or galleries, establishments offering spas or afternoon tea, peaceful places to stay or parks and cemeteries. Some of these can be found alongside more traditional tourist attractions; for example, in the shadow of Westminster Abbey is its College Garden, which was begun 1,000 years ago as its infirmary garden.
The book is very well presented being a well designed hardback including colour photos on glossy paper; I was relieved that this grand presentation was not reflected in its price!
- Dave, Amazon

Love London guidebooks and always looking for something new, preferably something I haven't seen or been to before. This book goes over some old stomping ground but it also suggests some new ideas, and the theme is very clever. London is a noisy place and sometimes you just want to find somewhere to escape the madding crowd. Churches, museums and parks are obvious choices, but the author comes up with many more ideas. I found the chapters on bookshops and libraries particularly interesting - alongside the old favourites there are some I haven't visited like Ripping Yarns and the Women's Library - and I like the idea of including quiet places to eat and drink. Amused that you included my old haunt of Columbia Road Flower Market: with all the hawkers it's anything but peaceful, although it is strangely soothing, as is this book. - avidreader (Amazon)

Now that I don't travel to London every day, the deafening noise and chaos of the place, which I had previously got used to hearing but blocked out, seems louder and more insistent when I do go. So to me the idea of London being a place of calm and tranquility seems very attractive, if not very believable.
Yet within the pages pf Peaceful Places there can be found quiet eating and drinking places of every kind, from various cafes, pubs, bars and restaurants to refined tearooms. There are interesting shops such as the Hive Honey Shop in Clapham which has a five-foot, glass-fronted beehive that's home to a colony of 20,000 Buckfast Abbey bees; places of worship including a convent near Oxford Street which has a gruesome attraction in the crypt - but it is peaceful.
There are spas, flotation tanks and parks; museums, libraries, galleries and, of course, gardens. There are even a few walks which take you through woods, along rivers and beside canals, as well as around parks and gardens. I thought I knew London quite well, but there were some very interesting finds in this book and it made me decide that the next time I'm in London I'll build in an extra hour to find somewhere to escape the bustle and quietly enjoy the peaceful things it has to offer.
- Jessica Harding (Onion magazine)

Peaceful Places Cover
RRP: £11.95 Survival Books
Author: David Hampshire
ISBN-10: 1-907339-45-0
ISBN-13: 978-1-907339-45-5
Edition: 1st
Published: 25th Jun 2014
Number of Pages: 256 Pages
Dimensions: 165mm W x 165mm H
Book Type: Hardcover