Towards the tail end of Kensington High Street is the sweet sanctuary of Holland Park. Fifty-four glorious acres of land previously belonging to Jacobean mansion Cope Castle, it’s a prime spot for joggers, but visitors can also indulge in a spot of tennis, cricket, netball, football or golf. The park’s star attraction, however, is Kyoto Gardens.
Donated by Kyoto’s Chamber of Commerce in 1991 to commemorate a long friendship between Japan and Great Britain, the garden has just been voted one of the UK’s top hidden gems.
It’s easy to see why. Meticulously designed with a mix of tiered waterfalls, koi carp-filled ponds, vibrant Japanese maple and sakura (cherry blossom trees), the outdoor space was designed as a calming ‘kaiyushiki’, or stroll garden.
Add a few of Holland Park’s resident peacocks to this (already bucolic) setting and it’s no surprise that Kyoto Gardens is such a popular hideaway for harried Londoners.
Other UK hidden gems that topped the survey, conducted by McCarthy & Stone, included Minack Theatre in Cornwall, The Shell Grotto in Margate, Blakeney Point in Norfolk and North Yorkshire’s Rievaulx Terrace.
Check out some other scenic escapes that are all on your London doorstep.
Want to get out of London and explore the UK? Here are the best day trips from London.