For even the most die-hard city dweller, a quick escape into nature is always a welcome breath of fresh air. Rather than journey hours away to the mountains or forest, try looking for an urban garden nearby—they are often tucked away just around the corner. From a sky-high green space in London to a “secret” Gatsby-esque garden in the nation’s capital, here are some of the coolest gardens in cities around the world.
Wendy’s Secret Garden
After the death of her artist husband, Wendy Whiteley began clearing away the weeds, undergrowth and trash from the plot of land next to her house. She transformed the space into a whimsical, meandering garden. While it has been a public park since 2015, there are still no signs marking it—making it feel like a magical secret for everyone who stumbles upon it.
Jardins de Rubió i Lluch
This walled, shady garden is in the courtyard of the historic Hospital de la Santa Creu. Adorned with lilac and mandarin trees—and string lights in the evenings—this small garden square is the perfect place to sip a coffee tucked away from Barcelona’s bustling atmosphere.
The Company’s Garden
Located right in the heart of the city is South Africa’s oldest public garden. It was originally a produce garden for sailors of the Dutch East India Company to restock their ships. Now, it’s a local favorite for grabbing lunch, observing local flora and fauna and enjoying a quick break from the city, with a Japanese garden, rose garden, vegetable garden and more.
Parkroyal Hotel, Pickering
In the middle of Singapore’s downtown business district, this modern hotel’s most noticeable feature is its plant life. Three tiered gardens jut out from the side of the high rise, offering a floating botanical oasis for hotel guests to enjoy after a long day in the city.
Locals consider the Garden of Oranges to be one of Rome’s most romantic spots. Surrounded by history, this garden is canopied by orange trees and offers one of the best views of the city—an ideal combination for enjoying the skyline views from the cool shade.
Dolat Abad Garden
This historic garden serves as an oasis for the dry desert city of Yazd. Cypress and pomegranate trees line the sides of a long, narrow pool leading up to a beautiful pavilion exemplary of 18th-century Persian architecture. The pavilion also has Iran’s tallest wind tower at over 108 feet to cool and ventilate the building.
The garden at this historic estate in Georgetown was listed as one of the 10 best gardens in the world by National Geographic in 2014. It has both a formal, carefully manicured garden as well as a naturalistic garden—allowing visitors the ability to choose what they want to see. The property is also home to a museum and a humanities research library.
As London’s highest public garden, this social space offers spectacular 360-degree views of the city. With a restaurant, an open-air terrace, observation decks and beautiful plant life, there is something for everyone in this city-center escape from urban life.
In a massive, 22-mile loop around the city, the BeltLine connects many Atlanta neighborhoods with parks, trails, restaurants and art installations. Although it is not yet fully completed, the sections that are open to the public act as alternative transportation options and a space to enjoy the outdoors in the middle of the sprawling city.
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