This series was made for Tranquil City – a project exploring our relationship with tranquillity in the urban environment to promote health, well-being and balance. I absolutely love their interactive map that lets you find out calm and low pollution areas in London. You can read more here: https://tranquilcity.co.uk/
I do believe we humans are innately biophilic. Therefore, it is no wonder how living in a busy city and stuck in our daily grind of work and commute can be overwhelming at times. Our soul craves for nature, open spaces and soothing sounds.
I am an ardent walker and passionately love detours – specially the ones that take you through some patch of green, water, trees, open space or simply away from the busy streets. And in this city with so much history, it is not difficult to find a place surprisingly charming hidden within a maze of streets.
In this series of Polaroids, I have documented such places, which I have passed either whilst taking an afternoon walk, or looking for a quiet spot for a work meeting or on recommendation. I have chosen to shoot in black and white so I could capture the timelessness of the moment and the place.
St. James’ Square – This is a private garden but open to public on weekdays. It is very close to Piccadilly Circus but well hidden in a quiet square. It used to be one of my favourite spots for work lunches in summer as well as afternoon walks.
Cavendish Square Gardens – This garden is no short of contrast. One moment you are on busy Oxford Street, slithering your way through crowd on the street and next you take a turn towards Cavendish Square and find this welcoming garden giving you a space to breathe. This has also been one of my favourite spots for catching up with colleagues and friends.
Brunswick Square Gardens – I walk through this garden almost every weekday on my afternoon break from work. It is located stone’s throw from Russel Square tube station and Russel Square Garden but conveniently hidden by Brunswick Center shopping mall. I could feel the air change as I walk into the garden and time somehow slows down as well, just like my pace. It is a lovely place to unwind for sometime whilst walking through the trees.
Postman’s Park – I came to know about this park on the internet page about secret gardens in London. Located amidst busy Barbican, Mooregate and St. Paul’s tube stations, this is a spectacular little hidden gem. The lovely circle of wooden benches could get busy during lunch hours in summer when people with lunch packs steal some time outside their offices in the open. I always take a moment near the old fountain covered in algae and looking at the headstones. There is something timelessness about the place.
St. Dunstan in the East – Out of all the little gardens, this is my favourite. Comfortably hidden amidst modern buildings of the city, this garden bears a fascinating look of past. I love how the plants climb and grow through the ruins of the church. It is always so peaceful sitting on a bench with a cup of coffee.
St. Katherine’s Dock – This place always makes me feel I’m somewhere close to the sea on an idyllic stroll through the boats. I love taking a walk around the dock and totally lose track of time.
Aldermanbury Square – I passed this spot on a detour to Liverpool Street station once and instantly fell in love. This place is made special by the series of little water fountains. When you sit down on one of the rustic chairs, the trickling sound of water simply soothes you.