London is full of beautiful gardens, from Royal gardens to small gardens tended to by volunteers. Take a day to see the thousands of plants and flowers at Kew Gardens or enjoy a quiet stroll in Holland Park.
Look out for on-site shops where you can often buy seeds and gardening equipment to recreate a London garden at home.
Large London Gardens: Day Trip Destinations
Many of London's most famous gardens are on a grand scale and are former private estates designed to dazzle. Here are some of London's best large gardens:
- Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew: 121 hectares (300 acres) housing more than 30,000 types of plant, Kew Gardens has a 250-year history and is a World Heritage site
- Kensington Palace Gardens: A variety of garden landscapes, including the 19th-century Italian Gardens
- Hampton Court Palace Gardens: Devised by Henry VIII as a magnificent display of opulence with more than 24 hectares (60 acres) of beautiful gardens
- Eltham Palace: Seven hectares (19 acres) of original medieval gardens with Art Deco elements
- Syon House and Gardens: 16 hectares (40 acres) of garden landscaped by the renowned garden innovator Capability Brown, with a spectacular "Great Conservatory"
Smaller London Gardens: Perfect for a Stroll
London is also home to many smaller gardens, offering a brief respite from the buzz of London life. Some of the most picturesque include:
- Chelsea Physic Garden: Founded in 1673 for the cultivation of medicinal plants, today the garden contains a Garden of World Medicine and a Pharmaceutical Garden
- The Kyoto Japanese Garden in Holland Park: Created as a "strolling garden" in 1991, plants and pruning techniques are carefully selected and maintained to reflect this style
- Charlton House Peace Garden: Among Charlton House's expansive grounds, the original walled garden is dedicated as a Peace Garden in support of Amnesty International's Stop Violence Against Women campaign
- Fulham Palace: The palace's spectacular gardens include an 18th-century walled garden and a variety of rare shrubs. Look out for The Bishops' Tree – a carved cedarwood sculpture
- Chiswick House Gardens: These London gardens were designed in the 18th century by William Kent. Kent's idealised vision of the Italian countryside transformed British landscape gardening. The gardens were lovingly restored in 2010, and are well worth a visit
- The Garden Museum: Complete your exploration of London gardens by visiting this museum devoted to British gardening history, with an extraordinary garden of its own. This fine reproduction of a 17th-century knot garden boasts historically authentic plants and ornamentation.
- The Flanders Fields Memorial Garden: This garden at Wellington Barracks is being constructed to commemorate troops who died in the First World War. Soil used in the garden was taken from battlefields and war cemeteries in Flanders, Belgium. The garden is due to open in autumn 2014.