Without parting with a penny you can achieve unfettered access to panoramic views of the city, spitting distance from St. Paul’s…

As with any citydwellers, Londoners love what only they as Londoners know. With over 8 million of us inhabiting one space, there can’t be so many stones left unturned – but we each seek out the last nooks and crannies to make our own.

My ‘Secret Garden’ – not quite the one I dreamed of since a quiet obsession with 1993 film but rather an urban version – is up on the 6th floor of the One New Change shopping centre in Cheapside.

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At first glance, the high rise offers nothing more than your generic franchise-filled shopping hotspot – Topshop, H&M, Nando’s, Zizzi’s compete for your credit card – but if you can suffer the city shoppers and battle your way up to the top floor, a spectacularly unexpected spot awaits you.

Without anyone batting an eyelid, you can grab yourself a picnic or a mini bar from the M&S downstairs and enjoy a day, afternoon or evening in a prime location for less than a round in Wetherspoons.

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Don’t be fooled by the stiletto-heeled, Moet-drinking, post-banking day crowd that are packed into the leather couches of the Madison bar as you exit the lift – keep on past and without parting with a penny you can achieve unfettered access to panoramic views of the city, spitting distance from St. Paul’s, and catch the last of London’s rays long after the streets below are plunged into shadow.

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The early evening we sneak up there after work, One New Change are screening Wimbledon with giant Union Jack bean bags and deck chairs set up, complete with fake grass to tuck your toes into, all backed by St. Paul’s, silhouetted against a dusk summer sky.

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A security guard approaches us as we tuck into our San Miguels and M&S Salmon salads, I panic – have the rules changed? Have I set up picnic in an area that is now an extension of the high-class bar? Have I committed the worst kind of social faux pas…

“Ah sorry, no bottles please,” he says. He hands us some plastic cups to decant our beers into. Plastic Moet glasses. And we’re back in the game.

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The One New Change Roof Terrace is open to the public seven days a week from 6am to midnight. Their Great British Summer Wimbledon screenings runs until Sunday 10th July.

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