The famous London gardens you have to visit in 2018
As a sprawling urban metropolis, London is primarily known for its museums, galleries and shops but the capital does have an impressive smattering of green spaces scattered amongst its high-rises. Some – like Kensington Garden for example, are unmistakable and easy to find, whilst others – like Chelsea Physic Garden, are tucked away further off the beaten track. For the aware and unaware alike, here are a selection of London’s most famous gardens and why you should make an effort to seek them out.
As well as being London’s largest UNESCO World Heritage site, Kew Gardens is also a global authority on botany with hundreds of millions of pounds worth of research being conducted there every year. The expansive grounds are home to an array of attractions (including the Marianne North art gallery and a 14,000 tree arboretum) – the Hive is a particular highlight. By simulating the hustle and bustle of a real beehive on a huge scale, the Hive is an incredibly immersive audio-visual experience that gives visitors unprecedented insight into the life of bees. Perhaps the best thing about Kew Gardens though is the treetop walkway suspended 18 metres in the air, which allows visitors to survey the grounds from the skies.
Number #1 on Trip Advisor, Kensington Gardens is likely to be flooded with tourists but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth a visit. Once the private gardens of Kensington Palace, the gardens today make up perhaps the most interesting fragment of the ‘green lung’ of London – which also consists of Hyde Park, Green Park and St James’ Park. You can expect to enjoy the elaborate carvings on the 900-year old Elfin Oak, the towering Albert Memorial, as well as the picturesque fountains and classical sculptures of the Italian Garden.
Chelsea Physic Garden
One of the oldest botanical gardens in Britain, the Chelsea Physic Garden has a storied history. It is thanks to this storied history that London’s self-proclaimed ‘secret garden’ is home to many of the rarest and most endangered plant species. From the largest outdoor fruiting tree in Britain to the world’s most northerly outdoor grapefruit tree, the Chelsea Physic Garden’s warm microclimate mean you can see plants that you simply can’t anywhere else, making it an essential visit.
Hampstead Hill Garden and Pergola
Perched atop Hampstead Hill, is a garden and pergola that combine to form another of London’s hidden gems. Offering spectacular views of the royal palaces, the pergola is intertwined with wisteria and surrounded by gardens, making it a favourite haunt of the city’s artists. Work began on the site in 1905 on behalf of a wealthy philanthropist – Lord Leverhulme – and extensions continued until the time of his death in 1925. The lustre of the Hill Garden and Pergola has since faded over the century since, but a certain rustic charm certainly remains.
One thing you will notice about these gardens is that they were all established a long time ago, and with the urban sprawl continuing to grow, green spaces are becoming rarer and rarer. An artificial grass roof terrace is one way of reclaiming territory in the capital. And while it is near-impossible to emulate the unique appeal of each of the gardens featured in this list, it is possible to create a sanctuary of your own.