Known for iconic landmarks like Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and the London Eye, few neophyte travelers realize that London is also home to some of the most stunning and impressive gardens in the world.
Scattered throughout the city and varying greatly in size and offerings, London gardens are an absolute must for a truly European city experience. Whether you want to see the city in style by visiting one of London’s famous royal gardens or if you want to explore a modern rooftop garden, there’s an experience for every mood.
London’s Royal Gardens
Experience the “creme de la creme” of London by exploring some of the famous royal gardens. Located at several pristine palaces throughout the city, the royal gardens are truly a sight to be seen!
Buckingham Palace Gardens
Westminster, London SW1A 1AA, UK | +44 303 123 7300
The crown jewel of any trip to London, the gardens at Buckingham Palace are well worth the planning involved for a visit. Unlike many of the other gardens in London, royal or otherwise, Buckingham Palace is not typically open to the public. Spread across 42 pristine acres, portions of the garden are included in the palace tour only during the months of August and September. So, if you are set on seeing London’s most coveted gardens, be sure to plan a visit during late summer. The garden tour includes sightseeing through the rose garden and strolls through the summer house and the royal tennis courts.
Kensington Palace Gardens
Kensington Gardens, London W8 4PX, UK
Kensington Palace offers some of the most tranquil and private gardens in London. With over 300 years of history, the expansive gardens have grown to include signature attractions like the “Cradle Walk”, an impressive arched arbor of red-twigged lime, and “The Sunken Garden”, which features beautiful seasonal blooms throughout the year. The best part? You don’t need a ticket to take in the peace and serenity of the Kensington Gardens. Admission is free and only required for guests interested in touring the inside of the palace.
Hampton Court Palace Gardens
Molesey, East Molesey KT8 9AU, UK | +44 20 3166 6000
What was once an exclusive playground for London’s elite, the gardens at Hampton Court Palace offer more than 500 years of rich history. What began as a small, intimate garden in the 1500’s has grown to one of London’s most elaborate and progressive gardens. The grounds include signature attractions like “The Great Fountain Garden”, which boasts 13 spectacular fountains and massive flower displays, and “The Pond Gardens”, which is home to the world-famous Great Vine, the oldest and largest natural grapevine in the world. Visitors can even take home a delicious bag of royal grapes as a souvenir!
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Richmond TW9 3AB, UK
A true garden lovers paradise, the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew combine art and science into a fully immersive garden experience. Situated ~30 minutes from Central London, Kew is well worth the trip. Ideal for true enthusiasts and families, exhibits at Kew are expansive and include traditional garden offerings in addition to several educational exhibits, like the herbarium, the fungarium, the economic botany collection, and the DNA and tissue bank. From a floral perspective, the garden boasts London’s largest UNESCO World Heritage site offering the most diverse collection of living plants in the world. This expansive, modern garden experience is quite impressive and a must for curious travelers.
London Estate Gardens
For a lavish garden experience that’s off the beaten path, explore some of the palace and estate gardens. These opulent residential homes were once occupied by some of London’s most elite leaders, though now many are open to the public.
Fulham Palace Gardens
Bishop’s Avenue, Fulham, London SW6 6EA, UK | +44 20 7736 2322
Scattered across 13 meticulously maintained acres, The gardens at Fulham Palace are a serene retreat in the heart of London. An official London historic landmark, the garden includes several original architectural pieces that have been restored to their original elegance. The gardens are also home to several rare tree varietals, including the ancient evergreen oak, which is over 500 years old and is the official “Great Tree of London”. These scenic, historic grounds are the ideal venue for a scenic afternoon walk while attraction hopping throughout the city. Self-guided garden visits are free, though guided tours can also be purchased for £6 per person.
Chiswick House and Grounds
Chiswick House, Chiswick, London W4 2QN, UK | +44 20 3141 3350
Situated behind at the elegant Chiswick House, the formal gardens behind the expansive estate provide a peaceful sanctuary for London visitors seeking an open-air garden adventure. Open throughout the year, the winding garden paths are lined with fragrant flora and seasonal blooms. The garden offers wide-open green space and several scenic statues and fountains scattered across the lawns. Described as London’s first “natural garden”, the design is more organic than other structured gardens in the area and provides a more casual, come-as-you-are atmosphere. The Chiswick House Grounds also offers a companion podcast for guests to enjoy an educational self-guided tour. The gardens are open daily from 7 a.m. to dusk and are free to visit (though donations are accepted).
Rooftop Gardens in London
Play the role of “eye in the sky” with these unique London gardens. Located several stories high on select rooftops across the city, these sky-high gardens take special love and attention to flourish.
20 Fenchurch Street, London EC3M 8AF, UK | +44 20 7337 2344
Experience a more chic, modern garden experience at Sky Garden, London’s highest public garden. With spectacular panoramic views of the city and an elegant design, the Sky Garden is a must for visitors craving adventure. The garden itself is encapsulated in an expansive three-story glass dome that overlooks the city, complete with sweeping observation decks and an open-air terrace. The garden is also home to Fenchurch Restaurant, a distinctly contemporary British experience. The unique location of Sky Garden makes it easy to sip and savor while you take in the stunning scenery! The Sky Garden is a free attraction, though tickets are limited, so booking a time in advance is recommended.
Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden
South Bank Centre, Belvedere Road, Lambeth, London SE1 8XX, UK | +44 20 7921 0758
The Rooftop Garden at Queen Elizabeth Hall combines impressive downtown views with breathtaking open-air gardens for a truly unforgettable experience. The natural landscape offers a variety of indigenous varietals, like wildflowers, fruit trees, and native blooms. The gardens also offer unforgettable views of the winding River Thames and the iconic London skyline. One of the city’s few award-winning gardens, Queen Elizabeth Hall is truly a metropolitan oasis! The gardens at Queen Elizabeth Hall are open during the summer (the end of May through the end of September) from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. and admission is free.
Nearly Hidden Gardens in London
Take a break from the crowds and bustling city streets at these hidden gems. London offers several small, quaint local gardens in residential areas, here are a few of our favorites.
Kyoto Garden in Holland Park
Holland Park Avenue, Kensington, London W11 4UA, UK | +44 20 7361 3003
A true “garden for all seasons”, it’s not to see why Kyoto is rated as one of the top outdoor attractions in London for several years running. Located in Holland Park, which is spread across 50+ acres, Kyoto Gardens is a traditional Japanese garden with tranquil tiered waterfalls, serene stocked koi ponds, thoughtfully designed green space and walking paths, and breathtaking Asian flower varietals. Visitors might even spot a friendly peacock if they are lucky! Kyoto Gardens is the perfect outdoor space for guests seeking a peaceful garden experience.
St. Mary’s Secret Garden
50 Pearson Street, London E2 8EL, UK | +44 20 7739 2965
A true local gem, St. Mary’s Secret Garden is a place of growth and healing within the community. For more than 25 years, St. Mary’s has offered a safe space for community members to enjoy the hands-on experience and benefits of gardening. Small but mighty, the community garden space offers a woodland area for working beehives, an herb garden and sensory area, a wildflower meadow, a small pond, and a raised stage area for community events. St. Mary’s Secret Garden is a beautiful local project to visit and support!
King Edward Street, London EC1A 7BT, UK | +44 20 7374 4127
Situated a short distance from the famed St. Paul’s Cathedral, Postman’s Park sits in a sleepy corner of London away from the bustling city streets of downtown. A great options for visitors seeking a garden in London off the beaten path, Postman’s offers a short walking path surrounded by seasonal blooms and bright flower displays, a therapeutic trickling fountain, plenty of convenient benches, and the famous Watts Memorial. Walk to one of the nearby cafes and grab lunch for a picnic or enjoy a serene stroll through the tree-lined paths.
The Garden Museum
True gardening enthusiasts will definitely want to pencil in a trip to the famed London Garden Museum. As the name suggests, the museum celebrates British gardens and gardening through interactive exhibits, rare collections, and contemporary exhibits. The Garden Museum also offers an on-site cafe and hosts lively events throughout the year. Tickets are only £10 for adults with discounts available for students, children, and seniors