Hectic London life can mean we all need to to escape for some peace and relaxation.

The capital has lots of beautiful parks, gardens and squares that are perfect to head to for a break - but finding a quiet spot to yourself is not always easy.

Many of the city's major parks are tourist destinations in their own right and can often fill up with visitors.

If you're looking for somewhere to avoid the crowds but stay within the heart of London, then here's a selection of some hidden gems for you to enjoy:

Postman's Park (City of London)

This central spot is named after the postal workers from the nearby Old General Post Office who used to have their lunch here.

A more appropriate name might be "Heroes Park" due to it's remarkable permanent homage to London's brave lifesavers.

The Watts Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice, created by Victorian artist George Frederick Watts, was built in 1900 to honour heroic men and women who died when trying to protect others.

A gallery of glazed tablets set into the wall details each courageous act, be it rescuing someone from a fire or saving a child from drowning.

The park also features flower beds, a small fountain and shady benches to enjoy a book or sandwich on.

Nearest tube: Barbican, St Paul's

For more information, and how to get there, click here .

St George’s Gardens (Bloomsbury)

The former burial ground now St George's Gardens in Bloomsbury

In the heart of Bloomsbury , St George's Gardens is actually the former burial ground of two nearby churches.

Victorian campaigners managed to convert the land into a public park, which was renovated by lottery money in the late nineties.

Ageing gravestones poke out through flowerbeds that wind around green lawns and benches.

Some notable people buried here include one of the founders of University College London and the granddaughter of Oliver Cromwell.

Nearest tube: Russell Square, King’s Cross-St Pancras, Euston.

For more information, and how to get there, click here .

Christchurch Greyfriars Garden (City of London)

The historic Christchurch Greyfriars in the City of London. The church was destroyed during The Blitz in the Second World War and its remains are now a public garden.

This former Franciscan church was burnt down twice, during the Great Fire of London in 1666 and The Blitz during the Second World War.

Only the west tower of the church still stands with a rose garden now filling its empty shell, offering an island of calm in the busy city.

The rose garden is designed to reflect the layout of the old church, with flower boxes positioned where pews once sat.

Trees mark out the former nave and wooden towers represent the long-lost pillars.

Nearest tube: St Paul's
For more information, and how to get there, click here .

Gibbons Rent (London Bridge)

Well and truly a hidden gem, Gibbons Rent is tucked away in London Bridge.

The community garden was devised as a way to transform an old cut through between Magdalen Street and Bermondsey Street.

Architects worked with local residents to fill the narrow walkway with all manner of potted plants, creating a wonderful green spot in the shadow of The Shard.

There's even a mini library!

Nearest tube: London Bridge and Borough

For more information click here .

The Barbican Conservatory (City of London)

Hidden within the sprawling Brutalist Barbican Centre is an amazing tropical oasis.

This huge conservatory (the second biggest in London) features 2,000 species of plants and trees - and some cute little turtles.

Its meandering paths, spread across different levels around the Barbican theatre's flytower, are a joy to explore.

Visitors can join special tours of the space, book in for afternoon tea or even hold a wedding there.

It is only open on selected Sundays each month.

Nearest tube: Barbican, St Paul's, Moorgate

For more information click here .

The Phoenix Garden (Covent Garden)

Slap bang in the centre of London is this gorgeous volunteer-run garden sandwiched between Soho and Covent Garden.

Established in 1984, the community garden is a former car park and is a wonderful green retreat.

Volunteers use sustainable techniques to sustain a range of plants and wildlife, including the West End 's only frogs.

The garden is also available to hire for private or corporate events and the building is approved for marriages and civil partnerships.

Nearest tube: Tottenham Court Road, Covent Garden, Leicester Square

For more information click here .

St Botolph without Bishopsgate Churchyard (Liverpool Street)

St Botolph without Bishopsgate Churchyard and garden has its own tennis and netball court

Next door to the humming Liverpool Street station is this pleasant churchyard and garden.

It is made up of the churchyard of St Botolph without Bishopsgate and land donated from the Common Council in 1760.

In the Middle Ages the site was just outside the city walls near the 'Bishop's Gate' after which the street is named.

The garden even includes its own tennis and netball court. From October to May it is for netball bookings only and May to October for tennis and netball.

Nearest tube: Liverpool Street

For more information click here .

Japanese Roof Garden (Bloomsbury)

On top of SOAS University of London is an elevated island of zen calm.

The Japanese Roof Garden opened in 2001 as a place where people can relax and meditate.

There is minimal planting in the garden, with climbing wisteria offering cool shade in the summer and lemon thyme used in a chequerboard pattern set among carefully positioned stone paving.

A small stage can be used for musical performances or shows, for ceremonies, or it can be used simply as a place to sit.

At the time of writing the garden was closed for "essential maintenance" but it is normally open at the same time as the Brunei Gallery - Tuesday to Saturday from 10.30am to 5pm

Nearest tube: Russell Square, Euston, Goodge Street

For more information click here .

Camley Street Natural Park (King's Cross)

A two acre wildlife haven in the midst of the hurly-burly of King's Cross.

Camley Street Natural Park, on the banks of Regent's Canal, is home to an abundance of trees, plants, birds, bats and insects.

A new bridge will link the park to Coal Drops Yard, part of the huge King's Cross development.

On the canal itself is a floating platform that helps bring visitors closer to waterside life.

Nearest tube: King's Cross

For more information click here .

St John’s Lodge Gardens (Regent’s Park)

Regent's Park is one of the most famous parks in London, but many visitors may never have stumbled into St John’s Lodge Gardens.

Located to the north of the park's Inner Circle, the gardens are linked together by archways covered in plants and sculptures are dotted around.

There are plenty of benches tucked away in the gardens, a lovely pergola walk and a Grade II listed centre piece pond with a Hylas and the Nymph statue.

You can access the gardens through a small gate along the Inner Circle, near the park office.

Nearest tube: Regent's Park, Baker Street and Great Portland Street.

For more information click here .

St Dunstan in the East Church Garden (City of London)

The ruins of the church of St Dunstan-in-the-East in the heart of London

A hidden gem in the City of London, this centuries old ruined church has been converted into a beautiful garden.

Creeping vines cover the still standing walls that surround flowerbeds and a quiet bench-lined courtyard.

The church tower still looms over the public garden which provides the perfect spot to escape from the noise of the city centre.

Nearest tube: Monument, Tower Hill and London Bridge.

For more information click here .