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Courtney
Los Angeles

Courtney from Los Angeles asked

Looking for hidden parks and gardens in London!

I'm always amazed by how many incredible "secret" or at least not very well-known parks and gardens there are in major cities. I'm assuming London is no exception (I've been there a million times but have somehow always missed them) and I'm hoping someone can offer suggestions for a trip I'm planning there. I'm a big, big flower enthusiast/gardener, so I'd probably be more interested in gardens than parks but I'd love ideas for both. Don't worry that a suggestion is too small! I'd even love to know about community gardens the public can visit if there are any. Basically if it has flowers, I'd like to know about it! Thanks!!!

P.S. I'm also very interested in Victorian architecture so if there's a park or garden that has a lot of it I'd like to see it even if you don't think it's that great. 

London (United Kingdom)

15 Answers
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answered first by
Ciara from London

Hi Courtney, have you been to Richmond Park before? It's one of the largest royal parks in London (you can get to Richmond on the tube using the district line). There is a stunning area within the park called the Isabella Plantation which is one of my favourite places. If you go in May-June many of the flowers are in bloom and it has a great "secret garden" kind of vibe.

Also, the Hampton Court Palace gardens make a great afternoon stroll. I think some areas require a ticket but most you can see for free. Enjoy!


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Courtney
These are great, Ciara! I have been to Richmond but just a small corner of it. I will definitely check out Isabella Plantation!!
 

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Caterina
I adore Richmond Park, the first time I went there was on a Summer afternoon with my English host family in 1993... Long time ago!
 
 
 

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answered by
Alex from London

Regents Park and Primrose Hill have already been mentioned and are brilliant.  I also think St James' Park is lovely for flower lovers.  Very close to it and just adjacent to the Houses of Parliament there is also a lovely garden by the river.  If you cross over to Lambeth on the southern bank of the Thames and follow Lambeth Palace to its end, you will find the little known but charming Garden Museum which also has quite a good cafe.

Obviously Kew is the mother of all London gardens, and another large one is Hampstead Heath, the North end where Kenwood House overlooks its formal garden.

Last but not least, if flowers spark your interest, you may want to check out the Columbia Road Flower Market on weekends, fabulous atmosphere and a great favourite of the East End.

Have you ever made it to the Chelsea Flower Show btw?


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Courtney
No, I haven't but I've ALWAYS wanted to (I'm a pretty serious gardener!). That flower market sounds amazing!
 

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Alex
Columbia Road really great, and a very much loved feature of neighborhood's sunday agenda. It celebrates not just flowers but potted plants and all things green and growy. Check it out next time you are in town!
 

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Courtney
I will for sure!
 
 
 

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  1. Regents Park (attraction)
  2. Primrose Hill (attraction)
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  5. Garden Museum (attraction)
  6. Kew (attraction)
  7. Kenwood House (attraction)
  8. Columbia Road Flower Market (attraction)
  9. Chelsea Flower Show (attraction)
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answered by
Elizabeth from Ottawa

A hidden gem is the Paddington Street Gardens.  It is a wee tiny park just off Marylebone and Oxford that is nice and quiet with flowers, trees, benches, a gazebo and a wonderful small statue of street boy.


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Fernanda
Oh, that's awesome! I've never heard of this tiny park. Defo will check out next time I'm in London.
 
 
 

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answered by
Belinda from South Carolina

Take the Tube out to Kew Gardens. A day there will show you formal, informal, rose, indoor, tropical, Victorian architecture ... a little of everything for a gardening enthusiast.


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answered by
Caterina from Florence

Hi Courtney,

if you like Victorian architecture you might also like Highgate Cemetery,I know it sounds weird, but I visited the West Cemetery 4 years ago and the guide told me a lot about the graves and the Victorian cemetery (very very interesting). Just consider that the West side of Highgate can be visited only in groups, so check out the official website for details.

Near Highgate Cemetery there's a lot of green + 2 beautiful parks: Hampstead Heath (Hampstead Park) and Waterlow Park (check this out on Google maps).

Another tip: The Regent's Park is astonishing and has already been linked... however, nobody told you about Primrose Hill (that can be easily reached also from Camden Town) from which you can enjoy a magnificent view of London.

Give London a kiss and have a great time there!


Caterina


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answered by
Fernanda from Sao Paulo

Ohhh!!! Hidden anything is my favorite!:)

You should definitely check out Allen Gardens (it's not here but you can see the address on Yelp http://www.yelp.co.uk/biz/allen-gardens-london?hrid=M-7XREKNJkKVOdILf3fArQ) it's really near Brick Lane, and has a wonderful grown up playground. 


Also, Stave Hill(http://www.yelp.co.uk/biz/stave-hill-ecological-park-london?hrid=TGTo4h256rk1-7-ARLKpGQ) it's beautiful and have an amazing view of the city. It's near Canada Water. 

Although I'm a Community Manager for Yelp in São Paulo, I have lived in London for a while and made a list of my favorites places. Here is the link if you want to take a look:

http://www.yelp.com/list/favorite-london-spots-london


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Debbie
Great suggestions, Fernanda! These have been added, thanks! :)
 
 
 

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answered by
Anton from Greenwich

You might be interested the Rose Garden and the Flower Garden in Greenwich Park and also in the whole of The Regent's Park.


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Courtney
Gorgeous!!!
 
 
 

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answered by
Eliot from London

I like Postman's Park. I think there was a scene shot in the in the film Closer.


https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.5166559,-0.0975962,19z


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Courtney
Looks great, Eliot!!!
 
 
 

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answered by
Dabs from Chicago

The Kensington Roof Gardens aren't really that big of a secret but several Londoners I know haven't managed to get there and there's hardly anyone up there when I go.  Eltham Palace, a short train ride from London is worth going to for the fabulous art deco interior alone but the gardens are also lovely.  While definitely not hidden, there's a lovely garden down on the Victoria Embankment near Charing Cross.  I'm sure you've been to most of the major gardens but I have to tell you that St James' Park was simply stunning last week, it's my favorite garden/park in London.


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Courtney
Wow, Eltham Palace sounds amazing, Kristi--so up my alley!!!
 

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Dabs
The interior is stunning, a 20-30 minute train ride from central London in a cute little village.
 

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Courtney
Wow--I need to see that!!!
 
 
 

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answered by
Philip

Try St Dunstan in the East Garden - it's a war-damaged church turned into a secret garden near the Tower Of London.

I'll try to think of some more :)


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Courtney
O...M...G--Philip, that place is amazing!! That makes me want to get on a plane and see it!!
 
 
 

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answered by
Romy from Tel Aviv

Alexandra Park, in the north of London. 

It's a more sentimental place for me, but it is still a nice small park to walk around in and it also has a palace (Alexandra Palace).


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Debbie
Great suggestion, Romy! Thanks for sharing! By the way, we've helped you highlight the places in your answer on a map! In the future, you can do this yourself as you answer a question by simply typing the @-symbol followed by the name of the place. Take a look at your map next to your answer :)
 

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Courtney
Sounds interesting, Romy--I'll check it out!!!
 

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Romy
Thank you Debbie! I wasn't really sure how to do it, I'll try it next time:)
 

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Romy
Thank you Debbie! I wasn't really sure how to do it, I'll try it next time:)
 
 
 

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answered by
John from London

I have to say - in the west of london there are some hidden gems - Bushy Park and Richmond Park


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Courtney
Never heard of Bushy Park--I'll definitely check it out!!!
 
 
 

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top answer by
Eva from San Francisco

This is one of my favorite things about London, too! There's a great place called Camden Arts Centre (link) on Finchley Road, just a few minutes' walk from the Finchley Road Tube (uphill, opposite side of the street). They have a lovely café there, built in a sleek modern addition to the historic building, with big windows that open onto the large garden. The Centre is a sort of museum, with rotating exhibitions and free entry. Highly recommended!

Oh, and coming up in June (14 and 15) is the Open Garden Squares Weekend, an annual event I cannot recommend highly enough! A couple of years ago I did a cycle tour of a bunch of them and it was marvelous––absolutely one of my best memories of living there.


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Courtney
Oh, wow, both of these suggestions sound great! The arts center sounds right up my alley and so does the squares weekend--I don't bike but I'll definitely try to catch it!
 
 
 

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answered by
John from San Jose (California)

Get a schedule for "London Walks" online.


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answered by
Alex

Victoria Park East London


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