Gardens to visit in London
Even in the big city you can find oases of calm and beauty – here's our pick of the best gardens to visit in London
From a royal palace to an apothecary garden, we recommend lush green spaces to escape the hustle and bustle of our nation's capital.
Don't miss our guide to the best royal gardens to visit and gardens where you can pick your own flowers.
Gardens near me in London
Chelsea Physic Garden
Chelsea Physic Garden has been a place of scientific understanding, healing and enjoyment for the people of London for over 300 years. It was founded in 1673 as an apothecary’s garden in a warm microclimate by the River Thames, to train apprentices in medicinal plants.
The garden is still on a grid system with its historic Order Beds, where you'll find over 800 plants laid out according to their families.
Chelsea Physic Garden, 66 Royal Hospital Road, London SW3 4HS, chelseaphysicgarden.co.uk
Chiswick House & Gardens
A classical garden landscape in West London. It was here that the English Landscape Movement was born with William Kent's designs. Admire the beauty of the naturalistic landscape, interspersed with impressive art and statues.
Chiswick House & Gardens, Burlington Lane, Chiswick, London W4 2RP, chiswickhouseandgardens.org.uk
Kensington Palace gardens
Kensington Palace was the birthplace of Queen Victoria, home of Diana, Princess of Wales and is now the official London residence of HRH Prince William and Princess Catherine. The Sunken Garden features an ornamental pond and a bronze statue of Princess Diana, commissioned by her sons.
Since the installation of the statue, over 4,000 flowers have been planted in the garden including 200 roses, two cultivars being Pearl Drift (='Leggab') and Blush Noisette (='Noisette Carnée').
Kensington Palace, London W8 4PX, hrp.org.uk
Buckingham Palace gardens
The 39-acre garden boasts more than 350 types of wildflowers, over 200 trees and a three-acre lake. The garden also provides a habitat for native birds rarely seen in London, including the common sandpiper, sedge warbler and lesser whitethroat.
A tour of the garden can be completed by a cream tea in the cafe overlooking the Palace's famous lawn and lake.
Buckingham Palace, London SW1A 1AA, rct.uk
The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew is one of the world's most famous gardens and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Discover thousands of fascinating plants, have a stroll through the vast arboretum and spot local wildlife at the lake and Sackler Crossing.
Be sure to visit the Temperate House, which contains some of the rarest and most threatened temperate zone plants.
Kew Gardens, Richmond, London TW9 3AE, kew.org
Horniman Museum & Gardens
The Horniman Museum has 16-acres of gardens with spectacular views of London (especially from the Bandstand). Visitors can enjoy the Sound Garden, Wildlife Garden, Meadow Field and even a Prehistoric Garden, which features a display of ‘living fossils.’
The gardens are very popular with families, and dogs can be let off their leads in the Meadow Field.
Horniman Museum & Gardens, 100 London Road, London, SE23 3PQ, horniman.ac.uk
The Garden Museum
The Garden Museum's urban courtyard garden was designed by Dan Pearson, and features exotic ferns, cannas and jasmine entwining the supporting pillars of the cloistered walkway.
Enjoy fresh bread, seasonal food and natural wines in the award-winning cafe, while admiring the lush green foliage in the contemporary garden.
The Garden Museum, Lambeth Palace Road, London, SE1 7LB, gardenmuseum.org.uk
Inner Temple Gardens
Located close to the Thames – enjoying central London’s microclimate – the opulent herbaceous borders of the Inner Temple Garden offer an extended season where visitors can revel in their colour well into the late autumn and winter.
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Shrewd, successional planting gives exotic plants, annuals and late-flowering perennials centre stage in the 70m herbaceous borders, where head gardener Sean Harkin experiments with colour and innovative plant combinations. The gardens also include a Mediterranean Garden, a magnificent avenue of plane trees and a woodland garden. Chosen by Tom Brown
Inner Temple Gardens, London EC4Y 9AY, innertemple.org.uk
Museum of the Home
Museum of the Home, formerly known as the Geffrye Museum, includes an immersive garden experience that will examine the importance of domestic gardens through the centuries. Gardens Through Time traces how urban homes have evolved, from a Tudor knot garden with a pattern of cotton lavender Santolina chamaecyparissus borders, to a contemporary green roof garden which addresses current issues of limited green areas, and how worthwhile it is to create a garden no matter how limited on space you are.
Museum of the Home, 136 Kingsland Road, London, E2 8EA, museumofthehome.org.uk
Crystal Palace Park
This peaceful green space in southeast London features the capital's largest maze. It's laid out in a circular shape and is nicknamed the 'tea maze' because it's ideal for a teatime stroll.
Elsewhere in the park keep your eyes peeled for the scarily realistic (but deemed inaccurate by modern standards) dinosaur sculptures, which were unveiled in 1854 as the first dinosaur sculptures in the world. They are now Grade I listed.
Crystal Palace Park, London SE20 8DT, crystalpalaceparktrust.org
Eltham Palace and Gardens
At this Art Deco mansion you can take in 19 acres of award-winning gardens, including a Rock Garden, pools, cascades, a moat, play area and London's oldest working bridge.
Eltham Palace, Court Yard, London SE9 5QE, english-heritage.org.uk
Don't miss our gardens to visit guide.
Abigail is a freelance writer and editor based in Hereford.
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