Who would have thought just off the streets of Kensington & Chelsea there is a beautiful open space just waiting to be explored.
Being a lover of London’s green spaces, I was pleasantly surprised when I came across Holland Park – appearing quite small on the map – I had never been drawn to it before now. However, on one of my days off I thought I would take advantage of the unbelievable sunshine we have been enjoying and headed out on another one of my London exploration missions and I wasn’t disappointed.
What awaited me inside the 22-hectare park was a quiet wooded area with plenty of winding paths to get lost in . After finding the entrance to the park I switched off google maps and let the park take me on its own little adventure…yes I may have found myself lost among the trees – but hey – isn’t that all the fun of exploring?
I was quiet grateful for the shade of the towering trees which arched over the pathways. I mean don’t get me wrong, I am a bit of a sun worshipper but after two to three months of solid sunshine, it can send even the most avid of sunbather running for the hills (and trees)!
As I wandered deeper inside the park, the rumble of the surrounding traffic shrank away to leave just the sound of swaying trees and crunching twigs beneath my feet – I had found a country escape right in the heart of the capital!
Little did I know what was waiting for me in the centre of the park was a tranquil haven… Kyoto Garden…one word…blissful!
The garden offers a Japanese-style landscape home to a pond inhabited by koi carp, tiered waterfalls, colourful maple trees, stone lanterns and … peacocks! It’s the perfect location to kick back and relax even just for a few minutes!
Kyoto Garden was opened in 1991 to recognise the long-standing friendship between Japan and Great Britain – it was a gift from the city of Kyoto. Inside the space also sits the Fukushima Memorial Garden commemorating the gratitude of the British people for their help and support during the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011 following the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami which left thousands dead.
After paying your respects inside the memorial, I would recommend a walk around the ruins of Holland House. The house was originally known as Cope Castle and dates back to 1605 when it was built for diplomat Sir Walter Cope. Unfortunately the Jacobean and Elizabethan style house was destroyed during the Blitz in 1940. The remains are still enchanting though and are surrounded by beautiful gardens full of everything from roses to lavender.
Holland Park is open daily from 7.30am and closes half an hour before dusk. It’s located in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea – search Ilchester Pl, London W8 6LU in your maps.
The closest tubes are Holland Park, Kensington High Street and Notting Hill Gate.
Thanks for reading,