A mixture of wild, floral abandon and meticulous planning, these vast west London gardens are filled with extraordinary trees – many of which were brought as saplings from as far afield as Madagascar, China, Peru and South Africa. Nestling below them are very English banks of foxgloves, roses and violets. Dotted everywhere are UNESCO-preserved buildings filled with hothouse flowers and pretty cafes. The gardens’ crown jewel is the Temperate House, a Victorian-era glasshouse that recently completed a £41 million (HK$413 million) refurbishment.
Chelsea Physic Garden
Founded in 1673, London’s self-proclaimed ‘secret garden’ is a haven boasting about 5,000 species of plants – perfect for an educational trip or a relaxing stroll in the spring or summer sunshine. Don’t miss the medicine bed.
St John’s Lodge, Regent’s Park
Regent’s Park is pretty but can get rammed with visitors in the summer months and during the Frieze art fair. However, its set of ornamental gardens known as St John’s Lodge is always empty. Except for the riotous flower beds, that is.
Kyoto Gardens, Holland Park
Another park inside a park, the Japanese Garden in Holland Park features tiered waterfalls, koi carp in the ponds and dramatic peacocks roaming the pretty paths. Hop on stones to cross the lake and feel serene under the pagoda.
Not quite in London but this renowned walled white garden, which bursts into bloom each spring with nearly every white flower native to the UK, attracts visitors from around the globe. It was home to author and poet Vita Sackville-West, who bought the then-dilapidated house and grounds in the 1930s and turned it into one of Kent’s most renowned creations.
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