London is best known for its bustling streets, world-class shopping districts and busy tourist spots. However, peppered throughout the city and its surrounding areas are beautifully tranquil gardens that offer a break from the chaos of everyday life. Here’s our pick of the best gardens in Greater London .
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Gardens in North London
Culpeper Community Garden
Nestled among the busy streets of Islington, Culpeper Community Garden is the perfect place to take some time out from your busy life and enjoy a breath of fresh air. The park harbours beautiful lawns, ponds and ornamental flowerbeds, which are tended to by local people from the community. Plus, there’s a wildlife area that a huge array of wonderful creatures, such as robins and dragonflies, call home.
Culpeper Community Garden, 1 Cloudesley Road, Islington, N1 0EG
King Henry’s Walk Garden
King Henry’s Walk Garden is another beautiful community garden that’s tended to by passionate volunteers. The once-derelict site was transformed in 2007 and, since then, has provided local residents with the opportunity to grow their own vegetables and flowers. It’s open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays, and provides a great little haven where you can relax, admire the lovely floral displays, and observe a range of fascinating wildlife.
King Henry’s Walk Garden, Mildmay Ward, London, N1 4NX
Gardens in East London
Thames Barrier Park
When the Thames Barrier Park opened in 2000, it was the first new park to be built in London for 50 years. Located north of the River Thames and east of Canary Wharf, it offers great views of the Thames Flood Barrier, as well as the river itself. Its attractions include a plaza with 32 fountains; a riverside promenade; a children’s play area; a family-friendly café; and meadows that play host to 120 different types of wildflowers, trees, and hedges.
Thames Barrier Park, Barrier Point Road, London, E16 2HP
Geffrye Museum Gardens
Inspired by Shoreditch’s history as a centre of horticulture, Geffrye Museum’s award-winning gardens are chronologically arranged to explore the historical links between gardens and home interiors. The front gardens are open all-year round and boast large lawns that are beautifully maintained. There’s also the herb garden, which has been arranged quite traditionally around a bronze water feature. Finally, there are period gardens that have been based on the designs of urban middle-class gardens from each century since the 17th. They allow you to step back in time and enjoy the landscaping styles of centuries past.
The Geffrye Museum Gardens, Kingsland Road, London, E2 8EA
Postman’s Park earned its name thanks to its past popularity as a lunchtime retreat for workers from the old General Post Office. It’s home to The Watts Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice, which was built in 1900 by George Frederick Watts, a radical socialist. He had strong sympathies towards the dreadful living conditions of the urban poor, and wrote to The Times in 1887 to propose that a park commemorating heroic men and women who had given their lives to save others, would be a worthy way of marking Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee year. Along with the monument, the gorgeous garden also features an ornate sundial surrounded by bright flower beds and a trickling fountain.
Postman’s Park, St Martin’s Le Grand, London, EC1A
Gardens in South East London
Red House Gardens
Surrounding the iconic home of William Morris, founder of the Arts and Crafts movement, the Red House Gardens are truly a sight to behold. Designed by renowned British architect Philip Webb, the space was once described by artist Edward Burne-Jones as “the beautifullest place on earth”, and it’s easy to see why. The gardens offer you the chance to enjoy a picnic among the apple trees of its orchard, or even play a game of croquet or skittles on the lawn, just like Morris and his family would have done.
Red House Gardens, Red House Lane, Bexleyheath, London, DA6 8JF
Offering fantastic views across the River Thames, as well as lots of exciting attractions to explore, Greenwich Park is visited by millions of people each year. Its 183 acres contain rose, flower and herb gardens, as well as a 200m-long herbaceous border and The Queen’s Orchard, where a huge array of fruit and vegetables are grown. Other features of interest include the National Maritime Museum and The Royal Observatory. Plus, the park is home to some amazing wildlife, including red and fallow deer, which you can watch from designated spots within the grounds.
Greenwich Park, London, SE10 8QY
The Floating Gardens
On the south side of the Thames, downstream of Tower Bridge, are barges harbouring The Floating Gardens. Thanks to the selection of seasonal plants on display, they look beautiful all-year round. Plus, The Floating Gardens are home to a range of wonderful creatures that would otherwise struggle to survive in the area. They’re great to visit at any time of year, as there’s always something interesting to be seen!
The Floating Gardens, Tower Bridge Moorings, Mill St, London, SE1 2AX
Gardens in South West London
Chelsea Physic Garden
© Charlie Hopkinson
Founded in 1673, Chelsea Physic Garden is the oldest botanical garden in London. It fosters a unique collection of 5,000 different edible, useful, medicinal and historical plants within its walls, which you can admire as you take a relaxing stroll around. The gardens are also home to the award-winning Tangerine Dream Café, where you can enjoy lunch or have afternoon tea. Dubbed ‘London’s Secret Garden’, Chelsea Physic Garden is definitely worth discovering.
Chelsea Physic Garden, 66 Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, London, SW3 4HS
The garden at Ham House
The 17th-century garden at Ham House is a beautiful place to enjoy a relaxing stroll. It’s also home to one of the most productive kitchen gardens in London, which provides the house’s café with fresh produce throughout the year. The garden is split into a number of sections and the Wilderness offers the best place to think, read and enjoy a picnic. If you want to see all that the garden has to offer, you can join a free 30-minute tour that will show you everything.
Ham House and Garden, Ham Street, Richmond, London, TW10 7RS
Hampton Court Palace Gardens
The world-famous gardens at Hampton Court Palace cover 60 acres and are set within a loop of the River Thames. Along with the spectacular palace itself, the gardens are also home to the world’s oldest puzzle maze, an imaginative play garden, and even an ancient gnome called Umbriel who will tell you the gardens’ lost secrets — if you manage to find him, that is. There’s also the option to take a horse-drawn charabanc tour, which will allow you to explore the gardens in true Victorian style.
Hampton Court Palace and Gardens, East Molesey, KT8 9AU
Set within Richmond Park, the Isabella Plantation is most famous for its evergreen azaleas, which line and brighten the garden’s ponds and streams. However, it also plays host to a huge range of other plants and wildlife that are just as extraordinary. With its ponds, streams, glades and heather gardens, it provides the perfect environment for a wide range of creatures to thrive. Native plants can be found growing alongside exotics, and the plantation is even home to 70 species of bird and six species of bat. It’s a beautifully diverse park to explore and one that you’re sure to adore.
Isabella Plantation, Richmond Park, London, TW10 5HS
Just 30 minutes from central London is Kew Gardens, which houses the world’s largest collection of plants. It also has its own treetop walkway, which was imagined by the designer of the London Eye and provides the opportunity to explore a section of the flourishing gardens from above. There are also world-class glasshouses; an aquatic garden; and The Hive, which uses an immersive sound and visual experience to tell the story of the honeybee and the importance of pollination. Kew Gardens is a delightful and educational attraction that your entire family will love.
Kew Gardens, Richmond, London, TW9 3AB
Waterhouse Woodland Garden
Waterhouse Woodland Garden is located inside Bushy Park a range of other fantastic attractions. These include the beautiful Diana Fountain, which is a bronze statue of a goddess on a marble fountain; and The Upper Lodge Water Gardens, which comprise of a Baroque-style collection of pools, cascades and a canal. There are also the likes of Fisher’s Pond, King’s River Garden and the Willow Plantation, which are all worth visiting. There’s even the Pheasantry Café, which offers a range of food and drinks that you can enjoy inside or out.
Waterhouse Woodland Garden, Bushy Park, Hampton Hill, TW11 0EQ
Gardens in West London
Chiswick House Gardens
In 2010, Chiswick House Gardens was reopened to the public following an incredible £12.1 million revamp. There are 65 beautiful acres to explore, which contain a fragrant rosary; lovely woodland areas; and a dazzling array of flowers, shrubs and trees. Chiswick House Gardens was actually the birthplace of the English Landscape Movement and the inspiration behind fantastic gardens such as Blenheim Palace and New York’s Central Park. It’s a beautiful oasis perfectly placed among the hectic streets of the capital.
Chiswick House Gardens, Chiswick, London, W4 2RP
Kyoto Garden, Holland Park
In 1991, the Kyoto Garden was opened in Holland Park to commemorate the long-sustained friendship between Japan and Great Britain. It was carefully designed to reflect key traits of Japanese gardens, so visitors can expect to see plenty of stone lanterns, tiered waterfalls, and even peacocks. All of these aspects come together to create a very calm and soothing setting that offers a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle of London’s busy streets.
Kyoto Garden, Holland Park, Kensington, W8 6LU
The Rose Garden, Hyde Park
Nestled in one of London’s most popular recreational spots, the rose garden at Hyde Park is a stunning year-round attraction. The rose planting has been mixed with herbaceous planting, creating seasonal and beautifully scented flowerbeds that are popular with tourists and locals alike. The best time to see the roses is at the beginning of summer but, regardless of when you visit, there’ll always be something delightful to see.
The Rose Garden, Hyde Park, London, W2 2UH
Millions of Londoners and tourists visit Kensington Gardens every year, and with good reason. Its 265 acres harbour the likes of the Serpentine Galleries, which are among London’s most popular art venues. There is also the Italian Garden; Albert Memorial; Peter Pan Statue; and Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground. The fact that you can find all of these London gems in one place makes Kensington Gardens an amazing place to spend some time.
Kensington Gardens, London, W2 2UH
Osterley Park Garden
The garden of Osterley Park has been transformed by a six-year project that saw it turned from an overgrown wilderness back to its former 18th-century glory. The garden is separated into a number of sections that are all worth a visit. The Ornamental Vegetable Garden is vibrant with the likes of purple cabbages and chard. Mrs Child’s Flower Garden is the perfect place to take a relaxing stroll, while the ever-evolving Winter Garden flourishes all-year round. There’s also the Stables Café, where you can enjoy a hot or cold drink and a tasty treat to complete your visit.
Osterley Park Garden, Osterley Park, Jersey Road, Isleworth, Middlesex, TW7 4RB
Gardens in North West London
Fenton House’s Garden
There are both formal and informal elements to Fenton House’s garden. It has a very well-manicured lawn, a beautiful terrace, and countless hedges that have been pruned to perfection. There’s also a stunning collection of roses, a functional kitchen garden, and a historic orchard where 32 different heritage varieties of apples and pears are grown. Helpfully, Fenton House has a summer garden guide which lets you know when its grounds are at their best, so you can choose when to visit accordingly.
Fenton House and Garden, Hampstead Grove, Hampstead, London, NW3 6SP
Queen Mary’s Garden
Located in The Regent’s Park, Queen Mary’s Garden opened to the public in 1932. That year, the first superintendent began to plant a rose garden, which was eventually finished in 1934. There are now approximately 12,000 roses planted in the garden, making it the largest collection in London. However, roses aren’t the garden’s only treasure — for example, its Delphinium border has National Collection status and its Mediterranean borders are well-established. You really need to see the garden with your own two eyes to appreciate its beauty.
Queen Mary’s Garden, The Regent’s Park, Chester Road, London, NW1 4NR
Greater London’s garden’s may not be what the area is known for, but they all deserve to be visited. Whether you’re fascinated by wildlife, are looking for somewhere to enjoy a lovely picnic, or simply want to take some time out from your hectic schedule, you’ll have a brilliant time at any of these peaceful spots.