London is known for a lot of things – Big Ben and Tower Bridge among them. But what it doesn’t get nearly enough credit for is the broad and diverse gardens it has to show off. Some of the best gardens in London are among the most beautiful in the world. In this article, we’ll dive into the topic of London’s many gardens and show you which are definitely worth visiting after storing your luggage for the day with Stasher.
Buckingham Palace Gardens
You simply can’t spend time in London without stopping to appreciate Buckingham Palace and the significance it holds to England as a whole. While the main way people usually go about doing this is by visiting the front gates in person, another is to visit the Palace’s gorgeous gardens.
Just on the south side of Buckingham Palace awaits a hidden oasis spanning a massive 16 hectares of land, much of which is open to the public. If you’re excited to walk around that much land, here are other walkable places in London you should check out. The garden features a lake, beautifully manicured lawns, and more than 350 types of wildflowers. While you’re there, be sure to also check out the wisteria-clad Summer House – it’s an Instagram dream!
Hampton Court Palace Gardens
Originally devised by Henry VIII, the Hampton Court Palace Gardens cover more than 24 hectares of land and boast tons of beautiful flora. Just some of the beds you’ll find here include those with Flowering Quince, Peony, Tulip and Agave.
The gardens are a great place to visit not only for the flowers themselves, but also for the interesting history behind them. Hampton Court Palace was once home to many famous British monarchs, including Anne Boleyn, and was even the site of the infamous “Hampton Court Conference” in 1559.
It’s also home to a number of events, and even hosts the world’s largest flower show every summer.
Before we proceed with the rest of the gardens, make sure you’re up to date with the latest EU travel rules for travellers.
Kensington Palace Gardens
Kensington Palace is iconic for many reasons, one of them being the beautiful landscaping it has on display. The gardens here were originally created way back in the early 1600s and have since been updated and redesigned many times. Today, they feature a Sunken Garden, an Orangery Garden, a stunning Formal Garden and a 19th-century Italian ornamental water Garden, fountains and a number of sculptures. Considering how old the garden is, you should make it point to dress like a London local to blend in.
The Kensington Palace gardens are also where you can find the famous “Peter Pan Statue”, which was erected in memory of the story’s author J.M. Barrie. The statue is located in the Long Water section of the gardens and is a popular spot for both tourists and locals alike.
Do you want to see flowers, or do you want to see a proper garden? Kew Gardens is the answer to the latter. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kew Gardens is home to more than 30,000 different types of plants, which is just one of the reasons why it’s considered to be one of the best gardens in London.
The gardens span an impressive 132 hectares of land, and there’s so much to see and do here that you could easily spend an entire day exploring. If you’re short on time, be sure to check out the Pagoda, the Palm House, and the iconic Kew Palace. You can also take a ride on the Kew Explorer land train, which will take you on a guided tour of the gardens and give you a chance to learn more about the plants and history of the area.
If you’re in the mood for a more modern experience, be sure to visit Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch Street. This large-scale, breathtaking collection of tropical plants is located at the highest point of the well-known ‘walkie-talkie’ skyscraper, and offers three stories of 360-degree views of London to enjoy.
While there is no entry fee, you do need to book your spot in advance as entry is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis. Once you’re in, though, you’re free to roam and explore the different gardens, appreciate the views, and even enjoy a meal or drink at one of the on-site restaurants and bars. There’s really no better way to take in the beauty of engineering and nature all at once at one of the best gardens in London.
Speaking of walking around—if you love being on your feet then check out our list of the most walkable cities in the US.
Kyoto Garden In Holland Park
This garden is lesser-known, and in many ways is one of London’s best-kept secrets. It was originally created in 1991 by renowned designer Shoji Nakahara in celebration of London’s Japan Festival, which took place the following year. The garden was then gifted to the people of London by the City of Kyoto, and has been a beloved spot in Holland Park ever since. Definitely one of the best gardens in London, if not for the historical value alone. Spanning 22-hectares, Kyoto Garden is a perfect place to appreciate the beauty of traditional Japanese culture. From the moment you step through the entrance, you’re transported to another world entirely. With its koi ponds, bridges, waterfalls, and carefully manicured gardens, it’s easy to see why this place is so popular. There are even peacocks that roam the grounds, adding an extra touch of charm.
You’ll definitely want to eat a lot of food if you’re going to explore all 22-hectares—so check out these bottomless brunches in the area.
Flanders Fields Memorial Garden
The Flanders Fields Memorial Garden is located in one of London’s most well-known parks, Hyde Park. It was created to commemorate the lives lost during World War I and features a number of beautiful sculptures and monuments. Almost all of what you’ll find for flowers and greenery in this garden are actually plants that would have been found in the battlefields during the war. If the view itself doesn’t make it one of the best gardens in London, then at least the story of the plants should wring your heart.
This mainly includes poppies, which have come to symbolise remembrance for those who have lost their lives in conflict. Flanders Fields Memorial Garden’s soil actually comes from some First World War battlefields in Belgium, making it all the more special. While small, this garden is definitely worth a visit, especially if you’re interested in learning more about London’s role in World War I.
Do you have an appreciation for gardens that simply can’t be satisfied with a visit to one? If so, the Garden Museum is definitely worth checking out. This museum is dedicated entirely to gardens and gardening, and features a number of different exhibitions that are sure to interest anyone with a green thumb. Just some of the topics covered here include the history of English gardens, the development of gardening tools, and the ways in which gardens have been used for medicinal purposes throughout the years. And of course, in addition to the exhibitions, the Garden Museum also has a beautiful garden of its own that’s perfect for a stroll.
The Garden Museum is located in the heart of Lambeth, and is situated in the former St. Mary’s Church. This makes for a truly unique setting, and one that is definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area.
If you want to see more museums, we have a complete guide on the best museums to visit in London.
Queen Elizabeth Hall
Climb up a fun yellow staircase and discover a hidden gem within London’s downtown core. The Queen Elizabeth Hall Garden is a small but lovely oasis, located on the rooftop of the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Here you’ll find a collection of over 200 native different flowers, plants, and trees, a luscious lawn as well as some great views of the surrounding area. The garden is open to the public during the day, and is a great spot to enjoy some peace and quiet in the middle of all the hustle and bustle of urban London. There’s even a cafe and bar that serves drinks and snacks on weekends, perfect for a picnic in the park.
Eltham Palace and Gardens
This royal palace was once a grand estate that was favoured by mediaeval kings and queens. Today, it’s a popular tourist attraction that’s known for its beautiful gardens. Eltham Palace and Gardens feature a number of different gardens, each with their own unique atmosphere. There’s the Sunken Rose Garden, which is planted with scented hybrid musk roses, and the Rock Garden, which features a series of pools and cascades. The grounds also boast a number of different sculptures and monuments, making it a great place to explore and learn about history. If you’re looking for a day filled with beauty and culture, Eltham Palace and Gardens is the perfect spot.
You can even go here alone and appreciate the ambience without the worry of taking too much time or having someone wait on you. In fact, there are a lot of things you can do alone in London.
Charlton House Peace Garden
Originally established to support Amnesty International’s Stop Violence Against Women campaign, Charlston House Peace Garden was opened in 2006 . This pretty little garden is situated in the shadow of Charlton House, a Grade I listed building that was once home to Sir Walter Raleigh. The garden features a number of different plants and flowers, as well as a serene pond. Its designer Andrew Fisher Tomlin aimed to create a space that would promote reflection and contemplation, and he certainly succeeded. With cool, soft and reflective colours, the garden has a calming and tranquil atmosphere.
Syon House and Gardens
Situated in Brentford, Syon House and Gardens is a historic site that’s home to one of the largest private gardens in London. The gardens were landscaped by the renowned garden innovator Capability Brown, and feature a stunning Great Conservatory as well as a number of rare trees and plants. In addition to the gardens, Syon House is also home to a number of different museums, making it a great spot for a day of learning and discovery. The site is particularly known for its collections of furniture, paintings, and textiles, which provide a fascinating insight into the lives of the wealthy in London during the 17th and 18th centuries.
Syon House and Gardens are open to the public from March to October, and visitors can explore the different areas at their own pace. Whether you’re interested in the history of the site, or you just want to enjoy the beautiful surroundings, Syon House and Gardens is definitely worth exploring.
Chiswick House and Grounds
300-year-old Chiswick House represents a large part of London’s history. This Palladian villa was once the home of the Duke of Devonshire, and today it’s a popular tourist attraction. The house itself is beautiful, but it’s the gardens that really steal the show. With manicured lawns, pristine flower beds, and a stunning water fountain, it’s easily one of the best gardens in London and truly a sight to behold. Chiswick House and Grounds also feature a number of different sculptures and monuments, as well as a cafe and a shop. Perfect for a quirky afternoon tea.
Pubs are a must-visit when you’re in London. Luckily, there’s one that also has a stunning rooftop garden. The Culpeper is located in the heart of Spitalfields and is known for its award-winning food and drinks. But what many people don’t know is that hidden on the top floor is a secret rooftop garden, complete with a greenhouse and a cocktail bar. A little bit unusual, but it’s the most unusual thing you can do in London.
The garden is open all year round, so you can enjoy it no matter what the weather is like. Many of the herbs and plants growing here are used in the pub’s kitchen, so you know they’re fresh. And when combined with the stunning views of London, it makes for an unforgettable experience.
Chelsea Physic Garden
Chelsea Physic Garden was founded in 1673 for the purpose of cultivating medicinal plants. These days, it’s open to the public and is one of London’s most unique gardens. The garden spans more than 4 acres of land and is home to more than 5,000 different types of plants. In addition to being a garden, Chelsea Physic Garden is also an educational facility and research centre. If you’re interested in learning more about the plants that grow here and their medicinal uses, be sure to take one of the guided tours that are offered. You can also simply enjoy a peaceful stroll through the garden, and take in all the beauty and history that it has to offer.
Fun fact: Chelsea Physic Garden is home to the largest outdoor olive tree in Britain!
These are just a few of the best gardens in London – there are many, many more! Whether you’re looking for a peaceful oasis or a historic site to explore, you’re sure to find it here. So next time you’re in London, be sure to take some time to smell the roses (or any other flowers that happen to be in bloom!).
Hi! I am George and I am the Content Lead for Stasher.com. I love travel, writing, making music and meeting new and interesting people.