Improving the productivity of underperforming local areas to where they should be could add £140bn to the UK economy each year. But everyone deserves a break, particularly over a Bank-holiday weekend. So here are our suggestions for unprolific things to do in the areas at the top of the table.
Walk in Wandsworth
Thanks to the efforts of the Wandle Trust, the river Wandle waterway supports the likes of freshwater shrimps, brown trout, eels and herons. On this nine-mile scenic walk from Morden Underground station to The Causeway in Wandsworth, you might just forget you’re in the city of London. Head to Young’s pub The Alma after for a well-deserved pint of Special.
Canal-side in Camden
While it’s not exactly a break from the hustle and bustle of central London as it's thronging with joggers and cyclists, if you head for Regent’s Canal and you’ll find plenty to enjoy. You’ve either got the gorgeous Little Venice (try Italian Café Laville, which sits directly over the canal) to explore or you can pootle down the canal in a gloriously unproductive way on a boat tour (from April to November) – look out for the giraffes as you pass London Zoo.
Savour history in Slough
OK, it’s not actually IN Slough, but close enough. Windsor Castle, the largest and oldest inhabited castle in the world, has been home to the Sovereign for more than 900 years and its battlements and towers can be seen from every approach to the town. Lest you think we’ve been too dismissive of very-productive Slough, here are some celebratory facts courtesy of the BBC: The first female scientist to be paid, Caroline Herschel, lived in Slough and Frank Mars gave his son Forrest the money to set up his own chocolate business in the UK in 1932 – he ended up in Slough.
Hideaways in Hammersmith & Fulham
It’s not on many peoples’ radar, and now we’ve blown its cover. The 20-acre Ravenscourt Park dates back to the Palingswick Estate in the 12th century, which was home to Hammersmith’s first public library. The stable block is still intact and you can enjoy the old estate’s landscaping in the form of mature cedars, plane trees and a pond. It’s great for kids as well as adults escaping work: there’s a nature trail, paddling pool and adventure playground.
Choux in Chelsea & Fulham
Fabulously French and based in London, Maitre Choux’s decadent eclairs can be found just down the road from the Saatchi Gallery on the King’s Road in a floral-filled shop that has Instagram users in a tizzy. The brainchild of three Michelin star-chef Joakim Prat, the elegant and beautiful éclairs, choux and chouquettes can be savoured in-house (it seats 15) or even better taken away to be licked on the sofa in the most profitless, idle way imaginable.