Ever since they were first opened in 1938 the Kensington Roof Gardens, on the roof of what used to be Derry and Toms, has been a haven of calm above busy Kensington High St. Built at a cost of £25,000 and boasting more than five hundred species of plants and shrubs, they’re now Grade II listed as a place of specific historical interest by English Heritage.
The gardens are divided into three areas, of which the formal Spanish garden is the largest and most attractive. Based on the Alhambra in Granada, it has a real continental feel.
There’s a Moorish style retiring room.
And it even produces its own grapes.
The Tudor garden is made up of three courtyards with red brick walls and four tudor style arches.
Beyond the Tudor Garden is the English woodland and wildlife garden, best seen in spring when thousands of narcissus, crocus, snowdrops, and bluebells come into flower. Some of the trees are seventy-five years old including the American Red, Mulberry Tree and Japanese maple and are subject to a tree preservation order.
The flamingoes live near the tiny lake in the English Garden, pottering around happily oblivious to visitors. (You can spot one lurking in the picture above if you look carefully.)
The Roof Gardens now belong to Virgin Media and are open to the public but if you’re planning to visit it’s best to phone ahead and make sure they’re not closed for a private function.