London is a famously green city – nearly half of its many square miles is parks, heaths and other open space. A lot of that open space, though, consists of private squares and gardens, most of which we never get to see, never mind hang out in.
London Square Open Gardens Weekend is here to address that, prising the keys out of the capital’s secretive gatekeepers to fling open more than a hundred secret green spaces.
The event in June will exclusively reveal some of the city’s least-seen spaces: historical, traditional, contemporary and experimental, across all four corners (and the middle bit) of London. They include formal gated garden squares, rooftop terraces with commanding views of the city skyline, community allotments and wildlife havens.
Of special note are Pembridge and Ladbroke Squares in Notting Hill, Holborn’s historic Lincoln’s Inn, which is 600 years old this year, and Montague Street Gardens, a secret space in the heart of Bloomsbury.
Higher up, the Ismaili Centre Roof Garden is a hidden gem in South Kensington, while Coutts Skyline Garden offers a striking panorama of the Strand and Trafalgar Square.
Keen gardeners and growers should check out the Alara Permaculture Garden in King’s Cross and the Growing Kitchen in Hoxton, an award-winning community garden. Ravenscourt Park’s in Hammersmith will be unlocking its glasshouses, not normally open to the public.
Weekend tickets are available, and there are guided tours, suggested walking routes and cycling tours taking in a selection of the gardens will also be on offer. Discounted early bird tickets are now on sale and there is a balloted entry system to some of the most popular gardens.