Travel inspiration and insider tips

6 years, 10 months ago

London’s Best Blooms

Grey. Cloudy. Drizzly.

These are the words many attach to London with a grunt or a groan. How little they know…

Colourful. Bright. Blossoming.

These are the words that really apply to London at this time of year, because come rain or shine (fingers crossed!), London is about to burst into a beautiful bloom of flowers. Yes really! In fact, today in honour of the Chelsea Flower Show, which kicks off today, we’re sharing with you the best of London’s flower gardens and green spaces so you can enjoy blooming London too!

Chelsea Flower Show

Chelsea Flower Show 2012Karen Roe

One of the world’s most famous garden festivals, the Chelsea Flower Show is known for its extravagance and elegance in presenting incredible floral and horticultural creations. The peak of the Royal Horticultural Society’s calendar, the five-day show is held at the historic Royal Hospital and this year marks the event’s centenary so expect many special events celebrating this. The climax of the Chelsea Flower Show is the Chelsea Florist of the Year Competition when many of the competing entries challenge gravity and many creative boundaries.

Kew Royal Botanic Gardens

Kew GardensLaura Nolte

The Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, west London, has been educating green-fingered folk for over 200 years and with 121 hectares of gardens and glass greenhouses, it’s London’s go-to garden for an incredible array of weird, wild and wonderful species of plant and flower. With an adventure playground, aquatic displays and a treetop walkway, Kew Gardens is also a great spot for children and hungry mouths of all ages can be fed with the delicious cakes on offer in the Victoria Terrace cafe or Orangery restaurant. A UNESCO World Heritage site for ten years, Kew Gardens isn’t just a place for the whole family to enjoy visiting during the day as it’s also a venue for a number of evening events including open-air theatre and concerts during the summer.

Chiswick House & Gardens

Chiswick House & Gardens

Not far from Kew in west London is the walled estate of Chiswick House & Gardens, deceptively well hidden from the passing pedestrian. Once inside visitors are treated to a grand looking neo-Palladian villa surrounded by the elegant gardens that launched the English Landscape Movement, which went on to literally shape many of the world’s most loved parks, like Central Park in New York and the grounds of Blenheim Palace. Explore the indigenous plants and flowers outside or enjoy more tropical blooms inside the Conservatory (though it is undergoing a period of refurbishment). The gardens are free entry and visitors are very welcome to bring a picnic, weather permitting, of course.

Geffrye Museum Garden

Geffrye Museum1

Across town in Shoreditch is Geffrye Museum Garden, a little known 18th century estate that was originally built to provide free housing for the poorest families in the area. The properties, which now attract many admirers of all backgrounds, were reportedly only saved from destruction thanks to the beautiful gardens and flowers it boasts. Inside the Grade 1 listed almshouses is a museum dedicated to the history of the English “domestic interior” and outside is a collection of very English gardens featuring a sensational smelling Herb Garden – home to a beautiful collection of roses and lilies as well as over 170 different herbs – and an Edwardian period garden full of original charms. Be sure to check their website to find out what events are taking place as there’s regularly lots going on for families.

Isabella Plantation, Richmond Park

Isabella Plantation, Richmond Parkbortescristian

Back in west London, but a little further south, is Richmond Park, a vast green space famous for both the deer that call it home and for providing a perfect 10-kilometre circumference for local runners. However, not many know about Isabella Plantation, a home to numerous exotic plants and flowers, in particular it is a hotspot for a wide range of different species of azaleas and rhododendrons. The best news of all is that May is the month they all start to bloom and blossom.

Kyoto Japanese Garden, Holland Park

Kyoto Garden, Holland Parkmouseshadows

Holland Park is worth a trip alone for the chance to see the peacocks that live there in full bloom, but it’s also where you can explore and enjoy one of London’s most unusual gardens; the Kyoto Japanese Garden, a gift from the Kyoto Chamber of Commerce in 1991. Transport yourself across the world by visiting this oriental floral wonderland complete with waterfalls, walkways over water and brightly coloured Japanese koi fish. If that doesn’t fascinate young ones completely be sure to exit via the children’s playground or cafeteria.


So at the risk of inducing hayfever, where are your other favourite places in London to see the flowers bloom?




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