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 cafes; 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 cafes, 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.