Hidden garden gems in London
Onolla’s garden editor, Eve Hacking, on the secret spots she’s discovered in the capital’s zones 1 and 2
Barbican Conservatory- a visual treat for the eyes
I went to school opposite the Barbican Centre and never knew this existed! It’s the second-biggest glass conservatory in London with a tropical oasis inside. An amazing contrast of concrete urban architecture and exotic jungle-style planting, it’s literally nature reclaiming the city! It’s open to the public seven days a week and free, but slots must be booked in advance.
Islamic Gardens at the Aga Khan Centre– a source of tranquility
You’ll find a variety of contemporary landscaped spaces representing the diversity of Muslim culture around the world with characteristic geometrical patterns, symmetry and water features. Islamic gardens come in many different types, styles, shapes and sizes, with most containing plants and flowers for shade, colour and scent. Come and visit the Garden of Light, the Terrace of Discovery or the Garden of Tranquility, and take home some inspiration for your own garden or way of living.
The Gardens at The Inner Temple– a step back in time
Drop by and take a peek at the colourful planting in the gardens at The Inner Temple and take in the history of a space that’s been actively gardened since 1307 – it’s even said to have inspired Shakespeare. It’s a traditional, formally laid out garden but with a great team of horticulturalists who plan inspired new plantings every year. Open to the public on weekdays from 12.30-3pm.
Hampstead Hill Garden and Pergola– a little bit of faded grandeur
Built by Lord Leverhulme at the start of the 20th century as a setting for his extravagant parties, Hampstead Hill Garden and Pergola includes impressive gardens and a dramatic elevated walkway, where overhanging plants create a lush canopy and tangled roots twist around smooth stone columns. A little window into the world of the Edwardian super-rich with a wonderful feeling of faded grandeur.
Kyoto Garden in Holland Park– perfect for leaving stress behind
One of the most beautiful gardens in London can be found in Holland Park. The Kyoto Garden offers a unique, Japanese-style landscape that’s perfect for quiet reflection and relaxation. Open daily, the garden is a traditional Japanese garden with tranquil tiered waterfalls and a serene pond full of beautiful koi carp. There are stone lanterns, Japanese maple trees and you might even spot a peacock or two wandering around, adding to the atmosphere.
Sky Garden– 360-degree views of London while surrounded by greenery
Hardly a hidden gem, really, as it’s relatively well known, but Sky Garden is great for a special occasion or perfect city sunset. Located in the Walkie Talkie building and with 360-degree views of London, it’s the perfect way to feel part of nature while also connected to your city. Entrance is free but you need to book in advance.