Our pick of London's public gardens
Kew Gardens represents the pinnacle of our national gardening obsession. Head straight for the nineteenth-century glasshouses, filled to the roof with plants – some of which have been here as long as the enormous glass structures themselves.
Founded in 1673, Chelsea Physic Garden contains England's oldest rock garden. The garden's proximity to the Thames ensured that it enjoyed a microclimate that made it possible to grow non-native plants, including the largest outdoor fruiting olive tree in England. There's a shop where you can buy unusual plants and a café that serves very good cakes.
Walled gardens have been on this site since the late 1600s but the once grand kitchen garden lay neglected from the 1920s until it was rediscovered a few years ago and restored. The surrounding parkland offers acres more green space to explore.
Terrace walks, a formal lawn and a sunken rose garden grace the northern part of this garden, which adjoins a seventeenth-century merchant’s house. More unusual, though, is the 300-year-old orchard where some 30 varieties of English apple are grown.
Syon House's landscaped park is by Capability Brown and among the additional attractions in the 200-acre grounds are an excellent garden centre, a trout fishery, the London Aquatic Experience, an indoor adventure playground and a miniature steam train.
Just as the Geffrye’s period rooms trace the development of the British domestic interior from the sixteenth century to the present, its ‘garden rooms’ illustrate changing planting styles across half a millennium.
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