London, a bustling metropolis known for its iconic landmarks, tourist attractions, and fascinating history, has countless hidden gems waiting to be discovered. While many are captivated by the city’s urban skyline, tucked within London’s elite districts are jaw-dropping gardens that foster a sense of tranquility and natural beauty. You, too, can join the elite and landscape with CGLA today. But first, let’s embark on a journey to explore the magnificent gardens of London’s elite and peek into their lush sanctuaries.
1. Chelsea Physic Garden
Founded in 1673 by apothecaries eager to explore the medicinal properties of plants, Chelsea Physic Garden is an enchanting oasis nestled in fashionable Chelsea. Embodying four centuries of horticultural history, this verdant haven contains around 5000 different plant species from all corners of the globe. It highlights rare and exotic specimens alongside beautiful flowerbeds displaying seasonal blooms. As one of the oldest botanical gardens in Europe, it is an idyllic retreat for those seeking inspiration and respite from the fast-paced city lifestyle.
2. Chiltern Firehouse’s Hidden Courtyard Garden
Chiltern Firehouse, an upscale hotel-restaurant converted from a Victorian fire station in Marylebone, boasts a pristinely designed courtyard garden concealed behind its iconic red brick walls. Esteemed landscape designer Matthew Wilson conceived this illustrious outdoor dining space adorned with immaculate box hedges, delicate ferns, and verdant climbers. With elegant furnishings and a serene atmosphere, the Chiltern Firehouse courtyard garden offers an exclusive setting for indulging in exceptional dining experiences amongst London’s elite crowd.
3. Kensington Palace Gardens
Located within one of London’s most affluent neighborhoods, Kensington Palace Gardens is home to official residences of ambassadors, foreign diplomats, and wealthy residents. This prestigious street features immaculately maintained gardens that serve as a delightful escape from the city’s chaos. With splendid façades showcasing regal architecture and landscaped gardens with vibrant blooms and elegant topiaries, a stroll down this famed boulevard feels like stepping into another world.
4. Fenton House and Garden
Nestled within the charming village of Hampstead is Fenton House, a 17th-century merchant’s house displaying remarkable collections of art, ceramics, and musical instruments. The property is renowned for its breathtaking walled garden, sprawling across a terraced landscape with delicate herbaceous borders, picturesque rose gardens, and a serene sunken retreat. With spectacular panoramic views stretching to the cityscape’s skyline, this garden imparts a sense of calm that invites visitors to linger and enjoy moments of tranquility.
5. Ham House Garden
Situated along the River Thames, Ham House is an exceptional 17th-century Stuart mansion boasting commanding architecture and opulent interiors once inhabited by the influential Duchess of Lauderdale. The surrounding formal gardens capture the essence of early modern landscapes with their symmetrical designs accentuated by luscious green lawns and abundant flowerbeds. These ornate parterres are complemented by tree-lined avenues exuding timeless sophistication that transports visitors back to the extravagant days of aristocratic England.
6. Holland Park’s Kyoto Garden
A gift from the city of Kyoto commemorating its long-standing relationship with London, this enchanting Japanese garden resides in the affluent district of Holland Park. The Kyoto Garden features traditional Japanese elements such as stone lanterns, tiered waterfalls, and meandering streams teeming with vibrant koi carp. Exquisite maple trees display bursts of vibrant colors amidst tranquil rock formations, evoking serenity as you meander along the winding pathways.
Whether you’re captivated by the historical grandeur displayed in Kensington Gardens or enticed by the modern marvel that is the Crossrail Place Roof Garden, one cannot deny that London’s gardens exude a magical charm that both whisks you away from the hustle and bustle of urban life and transports you to an era gone by. While some of these private gardens may only be admired from a distance or during exclusive events, there are plenty of impressive public spaces that should have a spot on any nature lover’s city guide.