Wandering down Charing Cross Road , one of London’s busiest roads, seems unlikely to lead to this quiet garden that feels miles away from the heart of the city. But that’s exactly where Phoenix Garden is, tucked away behind the junction of this busy thoroughfare and Shaftesbury Avenue. Once upon a time the site was part of the Leper Hospital, nowadays it is a public park run by a charity who are intent on encouraging the growth of wildlife – a fascinating proposition of contrasts given that the Centre Point building is clearly visible over the treetops. To ensure the park is well maintained without having to invest heaps of time and money, plants that thrive in dry conditions have been chosen, therefore they rely on natural rainfall. Any new planting takes place in the autumn, when the soil is already moist and the winter ensures regular irrigation for the young plants. The charity are very cautious that no anti-social or bothersome behaviour takes place here - dogs, bicycles and drinking are strictly forbidden.
Places to find some peace in London
Who would have thought that amongst the maelstrom of shoppers, suits and booksellers on Charing Cross Road there was a perfectly still retreat from it all? The Phoenix Garden is a community project that enables the possibility for urban wildlife to flourish. Open every day of the year, the gardens are a step outside the enclosed cocoon of city life, whilst simultaneously sitting in the heart of one of the capital’s busiest areas. Take a book and discover a sweet détente between yourself and the bustle.