A city like London can only be associated with a lot of hustle and bustle because of its plethora of attractions, business offices, extensive shopping districts and plenty of dining and drinking places along with innumerable entertainment offerings. It is also visited by the highest number of tourists in the world and as such, it is difficult to imagine that there can be any quiet place in the city where you can relax, far from the maddening crowds. However, London does offer a large number of quiet corners where you can relax and get immersed in a book of your choice. These little-known havens of tranquillity are available in a wide range of places from canal-side cafes to book stores and inner city squares. As the gloom of winter lifts and the weather looks up, it is time to leave behind your worries and get your favourite book to relax in one of these quiet, little-known retreats.
Dalston Roof Park, Hackney: Overlooking Hackney, this roof park offers the ideal spot where you can relax on its deckchairs and comfortable sofas while going through your favourite romance story or a crime thriller. All that you need to do is to pay a yearly membership fee of £3. There is an on-site cafe in the premises where you can have blueberry pancakes and coffee.
The Conservatory at the Barbican, Moorgate: This place is famous for its cutting edge art and film and in the Conservatory you can find a tropical haven of finches, quails, exotic fish and over 2,000 species of plants and trees that will provide the ideal ambiance for relaxing quietly in a corner and trying to work out as to who is the murderer in the detective novel that you are reading.
The British Museum Reading Room, Bloomsbury: Many well-known people such as Alfred Hitchcock have found inspiration at the centrepiece reading room of the British Museum. In fact, Hitchcock had even used it as part of his set for his 1923 thriller Blackmail. It is a quiet corner where you can concentrate on reading and creative thinking. It is also an ideal place for holding an exhibition.
Ray's Jazz Cafe At Foyles, Charing Cross Road: An ideal laid back space where you can quietly read a book while having coffee, located on the first floor of Foyles’ flagship store, Ray’s Jazz Cafe not only presents an artsy ambiance but also soft melodies from jazz and blues greats. If you wish to find a quiet corner, it is necessary to go there early as it is a small cafe.
Bunhill Fields Burial Ground, Old Street: Quite a weird place to settle down with a book, this expanse of green space is a quiet haven despite it being located under the hubbub of Old Street. Being the burial place of three great writers, John Bunyan, author The Pilgrim’s Progress, Daniel Defoe, the writer of Robinson Crusoe and the poet William Blake, this place provides plenty of literary inspiration.
Burgess Park, Elephant and Castle: The Park provides 56 hectares of green space which stretches from Camberwell and Walworth in the west to Peckham and the Old Kent Road in the east. It is full of quiet reading spots particularly at Chumleigh Gardens, the Park Life Cafe and the lake near Old Kent Road.
Guests staying at Montcalm Hotel London get the advantage of a strategic location close to most of the above retreats and to the attractions of the city while enjoying comfortable accommodation with all facilities.
Daunt Books, Marylebone High Street: This book store on Marylebone High Street presents a tranquil place which is ideal for getting immersed in the book that you a reading. Its travel section in its basement is an extremely quiet place where you can settle down with a book of your choice and derive maximum pleasure of reading.
Horniman Museum and Gardens, Forest Hill: The Horniman Museum has a delightful 16-acre garden which has been providing pleasure ever since the Victorian times as it is filled with curiosities such as the 1903 bandstand, the Dutch barn and the Pavilion. It also offers a quiet reading space where you can settle down with a book of your choice.
Towpath Cafe, Hoxton: If you wish to enjoy reading your favourite book while having a Macchiato and grilled cheese sandwich, you must head to Towpath Cafe on the Hoxton stretch of Regent’s Canal and try to grab a front seat so that you can also enjoy a beautiful view of the canal. You can get excellent Italian coffee and delicious food throughout the day.
Camden Arts Centre, Finchley Road: Located off Finchley Road, this quiet haven of peace and serenity is an arts centre that presents many exhibitions and classes and it also has a great little shop. A little garden round the back is where you can read your book in perfect serenity.
Keats House Garden, Hampstead: You can visit Keats House in Hampstead, which was his home and spend some time at its well-kept garden. It is open to the public every day between 1-5pm and it presents many quiet corners where you can sit down and browse through your book. You can feel the presence of Keats as the place has a poetic ambience.
Canada Water Library, Southwark: Located on the old Surrey Commercial Docks in Canada Water, this inverted pyramid building is a marvel of both architecture and literary magnificence. It has a spiral staircase inside that leads up to a bright, airy top floor filled with books (and a cafe below). It also provides many places where you can spend as long as you like with your favourite book.
London Review Bookshop, Holborn: It is one of the best-loved bookshops of London located at a few steps from the British Museum. It is a storehouse of thoughts and inspirations that come from the large number of books that are crammed inside. Many literary events and debates take place at a social space provided inside for the purpose.