This may surprise you, but allegedly London is one of the greenest cities in the world. The reason? The Royal Parks which are under The Queen’s protection, and the small but mighty patches of green that fit slip between the brick edifices like The Quince Tree Cafe at Clifton Nurseries.
At first glance, this is just another garden centre, curved around the corner from Warwick Avenue underground station, snugged between two terraced houses.
At second glance, it’s a little verdant oasis for city slickers who fancy trailing their fingers among the daisies, and forking a lovely piece of homemade cake.
Forget the nearby and pull up a chair in a The Quince Tree, a greenhouse cafe that you’ll want to spend more than a few minutes in.
In fact, I can pretty well guarantee that you’ll want to linger here through a couple of rain showers, the length of a conversation or three and an extra cup of chai.
Dotted with fresh blooms, rustic hardwood tabletops and a cracking serving of coffee…
…not to mention a delectable array of baked goods that will satisfy any sweet tooth. It’s one of those places that doesn’t need verbose prose, just the juxtaposition of a daffodil stem and a sliver of Bakewell slice.
Simplicity, smiles and spiced apple cake.
We’ve been down to the original Clifton Nurseries in Richmond, but this one is my favourite – not least because it’s right on the corner of Central London. One of those hidden spots that you don’t want to tell people about, just in case they get so busy that I can’t get in next time.
So, actually, ignore this entire paeon to the cafe that made me feel like I was back in the lost gardens of Cornwall. Forget it, delete it, and let’s never speak of this again.
Once you’ve finished in the place we cannot name, there are a few aisles and rooms to wander with Bacchaanal glee, perhaps picking up a plant or two, or just admiring the dizzying array of green-fingered accoutrement that line their shelves.
It’s *just* a garden centre, and yet more in this leafy suburb of London.
Oh, they wrote a sign about me…
London’s oldest and most beautiful garden centre, Clifton London has been inspiring gardeners since 1851, an elegant gardening emporium with a rich history.
Oh, did we mention that it also has a black and white feline caretaker (who alas had been called away on important cat business.)
It’s easy to forget you’re in the heart of Zone 2…
…surrounded by lush greenery and blooming spring flowers.
Especially in Spring. And autumn. And when the Christmas lights twinkle.
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