Thames Barrier Park, a largely undiscovered gem in the heart of East London, is the perfect urban retreat on a summer's day.
Located in Pontoon Dock, Silvertown, two DLR stops from Canning Town, the modern park boasts panoramic views of the river and the iconic flood barrier.
The entrance is a courtyard with 30 water fountains shooting jets of water some six feet into the sky. Fully accessible and interactive, this is glorious fun for children (and adults) on a muggy summers day.
Behind the fountains is a trench with 16-foot high, foliage covered walls creating a cavern of green shrubs and pebbled paths through the centre of the park. Depending on your age, this is either the dream setting for a secluded romantic stroll, or perfect hide and seek territory.
The 34.6 acre park also features a modern play area, and a small, but reasonably priced coffee shop.
Luxury apartments rise up on either side, and with the park itself raised several metres above road level, it feels splendidly cut off in such a built up area of London. Despite the occasional drone of planes landing at nearby City Airport, it feels private, exclusive and extremely peaceful.
It is also a short walk from the newly-opened London Pleasure Gardens.
During the London Olympics, the park will be ideally located for a get away from the crowds. It sits on the doorstep of three Olympic venues: within view of the London Excel Centre, a mere 12 minutes on the DLR from Stratford, and a short cable car trip from the O2 in North Greenwich (or a jubilee line journey for vertigo sufferers).