Discover Ben Fogle’s Secret City Retreats


London: People, people everywhere – so where do you get some peace and me time in Britain’s busy City?

Adventurer and writer Ben Fogle suggests where to spend some well-earned me time:

“You wouldn’t think it but there are thousands of secluded idylls right across the country only a short walk from the hustle and bustle of the inner towns and cities. Parks, squares and heritage sites are dotted around the UK business and shopping districts – places to spend some well-earned ‘me time’, mingle with friends or retreat with a loved one. If you live or work in a busy town or city, and spend lots of time in the thick of it, it’s important to take some time for yourself – kick back, relax, have a lunch break or just savour the moment.

Manchester for example offers 138 parks, gardens and open spaces, 40 allotment sites and an additional 25 nature conservation sites within the city’s Irk, Medlock and Mersey river valleys. Birmingham has more canals than Venice and more trees than Paris, and boasts some wonderful spots like Victoria Square and St Paul’s Square in the city centre.

Old Eldon Square is one of the beautiful areas of green space Newcastle’s City Centre has to boast; an area cherished to those who enjoy relaxing and escaping the hubbub and whirlwind of activity in the city’s shops and businesses. It is a space enjoyed by both young and old alike and has served as a traditional meeting point and a place to slow down and take a break for generations of local city residents.

Situated behind St George’s Hall, St John’s Gardens in Liverpool is a popular refuge from the main City Centre; often dubbed the ‘Peace Garden’ it is indeed a tranquil place to sit undisturbed and yet is only a few minutes’ walk away from the main shopping quarter.

Summer is the ideal time of year to discover these secret spots, and as you start exploring you’ll soon find they take on entirely new characters as we move through the seasons, providing ever-changing places of sanctuary from the hectic pace of modern life.

Here’s a list of secret spots across the UK to get you started:-

· Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow

· Falkner Square, Liverpool

· Christ’s Pieces and New Square Cambridge

· Hinskey Park and Rose Hill Park, Oxford

· St Peter’s Square and Albert Square, Manchester

· Bircham Valley Nature Reserve and Victoria Park, Plymouth
· Prebend Gardens and Spinney Hill Park, Leicester

· Bute Park and Sophia Gardens, Cardiff

To show you how it’s done, in this video feature, Ben Fogle has teamed up with Nature Valley to take us on a journey in and around Holborn in the centre of London to discover the delights of several locations including Coram’s Fields and Russell Square Gardens.

Listen to Ben Fogle’s secret City havens