Kensington Roof Gardens
Although a restaurant, clubbing and event venue, the extraordinary Kensington Roof Gardens are still accessible to the general public during the day if there are no functions taking place (ring to check before your visit). Hidden on top of the old Derry and Toms (later Biba) department store, one hundred feet above Kensington High Street, visitors wishing to explore the gardens just need to go to the reception and sign in – entrance is through an ordinary looking door down a side road. Once you emerge out of the lifts a 1.5 acre expanse with spectacular views opens up to you. The gardens are divided up into three distinct areas; traditional English, formal Spanish and Tudor. The English garden, with its wild woodland theme, appears the most extraordinary, considering its position on top of an office block. Over 100 trees (all of which are under a preservation order), a stream and garden pond with flamingos and ducks combine to create a magical environment that defies its unique elevation. Fountains, vines and palm trees define the Moorish idyll, while the Tudor garden provides a delicate contrast with roses, wisteria, ivy and leafy arches. This really is one of London’s secret treasures and worth the small effort required to arrange a visit.
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