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Royal Botanic Gardens, aka Kew Gardens

Top 9 Must-Visit Public Gardens in London: From Historic Landscapes to Urban Oases (2024)

Seeking the most enchanting gardens in London? Don’t miss these splendid spots. Returning to London’s green oases is undeniably charming, especially on those rare sunny days that even the most stoic Londoner can’t resist smiling at.

Although London’s initial appearance might scream a concrete metropolis, the city is generously adorned with lush expanses. Fortunately, many gardens from sprawling to intimate await your exploration. These stand as London’s premier gardens perfect for leisurely picnics, sun-soaked respites, and moments of escape from the urban clamor. Amidst the city’s premium space, London designates 40% of 607 square miles to public green spaces.

9 Best Public Gardens in London

So, what are you waiting for? Join us as we compile the Top 9 Most Popular Gardens to Explore in London.

1. Royal Botanic Gardens, aka Kew Gardens

The Royal Botanic Gardens, also known as Kew Gardens, is perhaps the Best Public Garden in London. This renowned botanical research and conservation institution covers over 300 acres. It is home to more than 50,000 species and one of the most diverse plant collections in the world. It isn’t just a public garden but also serves as a crucial center for plant science and conservation efforts. The garden also has historical significance (established in 1759), complemented by modern scientific research facilities. Some of the most iconic features here include structures like the Palm House and the Temperate House, popular for their architectural style, along with rare and exotic plants.

Not known to many, but Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank preserves seeds from around the globe to safeguard against species extinction. This UNESCO World Heritage Site also hosts educational programs and to adds to visitors’ experience.

2. Buckingham Palace Garden

The most famous garden in London, Buckingham Palace Garden, is a verdant oasis. Nestled in the heart of Westminster, the garden sits right next to Buckingham Palace, the official residence of the British monarch. It covers over 42 acres and adds a tranquil touch to the Buckingham palaces’ rush and popularity. Originally established in the 19th century, the garden features immaculate lawns, meandering pathways, ornamental flower beds, and carefully curated landscapes.

Buckingham Palace Garden hosts a range of royal events, ceremonies, and garden parties. It can house thousands of guests and remains popular throughout the year. Besides hosting events, the garden is popular for its remarkable biodiversity, including rare flora and fauna. Its highlight, however, is the picturesque lake, where visitors can observe wildlife and enjoy scenic views. Buckingham Palace Garden isn’t a typical public garden but a space that opens for visitors occasionally on special events or with guided tours.

3. Hampton Court Gardens

Hampton Court Gardens is a horticultural masterpiece in London. This garden space sits in Richmond upon Thames and is popular amongst both locals and visitors. Hampton Court Gardens’ rich history and enchanting landscapes make it a true masterpiece. This 60 acres garden space is right adjacent to the historic Hampton Court Palace and is a true testament to different eras of design and cultivation.

When visiting the Hampton Court Gardens, do check out the formal East Garden. This section features intricate parterres and ornate fountains. In contrast, the Wilderness area offers a more untamed and natural ambiance. Visitors can also check out the Great Vine, a renowned grapevine dating back to the 18th century. Or enjoy the symmetrical layout of the Privy Garden while checking out the Privy Kitchen Garden brims with heritage produce. The Hampton Court Gardens also hosts a range of engaging events, including historical reenactments and flower shows to historical reenactments.

4. Hyde Park Rose Garden

If you are a rose lover, do not miss Hyde Park Rose Garden in Central London. This city has always had an enduring passion for roses, and an example of the same can be found at this landmark. Hyde Park Rose Garden boasts some of the finest roses. Nestled near Hyde Park Corner in the park’s southeastern enclave, the Hyde Park Rose Garden, established in 1994, offers a tranquil haven for contemplation and reprieve. The rose garden space is a standout feature of Hyde Park. Not only that, but it also pays homage to the musical affections of London.

Visitors who have an eye for details can spot the graceful contours of horn instruments. Do not miss the trumpet, seamlessly interwoven with musical notes. This harmonious destination embraces the allure of nature and culture and thus is a must-visit in London.

5. The Italian Garden, Kensington Gardens

Italian Gardens within Kensington Gardens is truly an enchanting gem in London’s landscape. This exquisite formal garden was intricately crafted in the 1860s, positioned adjacent to Hyde Park. Her husband bestowed it upon Queen Victoria, creating a timeless romantic allure. Even today, the garden draws countless couples and continues to shape its original space. This landscape is frequently visited for spending some quality time and photographs. Meandering through meticulously aligned flower beds, visitors can delight in the garden’s array of statues and ornate urns.

The Italian Garden features benches and more sitting space for people to relax and soak in the beauty of the surrounding. Visitors can also enjoy panoramic vistas over the Serpentine, an expansive artificial lake within the park. The garden also features its in-house café where visitors can relish some afternoon tea or evening coffee with splendid views around.

6. Greenwich Royal Park Herb Garden

Nestled within Greenwich Park, the Royal Park Herb Garden is a historic landscape you cannot muss. This delightful herb garden, surrounded by lush landscapes inside Greenwich Park, is a must-visit for outdoor enthusiasts. Royal Park Herb Garden is 5 miles from London’s city center and easily accessible. Different transportation modes, like the London Underground, Docklands Light Railway (DLR), buses, and riverboats, easily connect the garden from different parts of the city. Both locals and tourists reach here to seek tranquility along with an educational experience in the heart of nature.

Nice Public Gardens in London - Greenwich Royal Park Herb GardenThe Greenwich Royal Park Herb Garden is a fragrant sanctuary. The blend of history, herbs, and horticulture adds an aromatic touch to the park’s cultural and recreational offerings. The diverse array of herbs in a picturesque setting adds to visitors’ experience. The park is also close to the iconic Royal Observatory and the Greenwich Meridian Line, adding to more tourism opportunities.

7. Horniman Gardens

Nestled within the bustling cityscape in Forest Hill, Horniman Gardens is a popular place to visit in London. This verdant haven offers everyone who visits a harmonious blend of nature, culture, and education. It isn’t just a garden but a captivating and integral part of the Horniman Museum complex. The garden space covers over 16 acres featuring a rich diversity of plant life, including serene wooded areas, meticulously manicured flower beds, and more.

Do not miss themed sections like the Sunken Garden and the Mediterranean Garden when visiting the Horniman Gardens. Next, check out the Butterfly House and Animal Walk for an interactive and educational experience, regardless of your age. Horniman Gardens is also a great spot to enjoy stunning panoramic views of London. It is a perfect spot for relaxation and reflection. The environmental sustainability and community engagement here captivate visitors’ senses and nurture a deeper connection with the natural world.

8. Sky Garden, Walkie Talkie

The most iconic garden in London, Sky Garden, sits stop Walkie Talkie, aka Fenchurch Building in London. This urban oasis redefines the cityscape and is a unique garden to check out whenever in London. This innovative public space offers breathtaking 360-degree views showcasing nature’s beauty against the backdrop of a modern metropolis. A visit here allows individuals to check out observation decks, open-air terraces, and exquisitely landscaped gardens. The verdant foliage, encompassing plants from around the world, contrasts harmoniously with contemporary architecture.

The Sky Garden in London is the highest garden in the city and a testament to its’ dynamic spirit. The area’s light paints change an enchanting portrait from dawn to dusk, adding to the uniqueness. Besides enjoying the garden’s beauty and tranquility, visitors can also relish savoring delectable dining options to end their day.

9. Chelsea Physic Garden

The Chelsea Physic Garden is last on our list of London’s Best Public Gardens. Nestled in the heart of this secretive green space seamlessly marries science, history, and tranquility. The garden was built back in 1673 and is one of the oldest Botanical gardens in London and worldwide. The garden features a living laboratory that is home to an eclectic collection of over 5,000 plant species. The plants here showcase medicinal, edible, and more usefulness from diverse ecosystems.

Chelsea Physic Garden sits along the Thames and is divided into themed sections like the Medicinal Garden and the World Woodland Garden. Both sections offer a different perspective on the relationship between plants and humans. The garden also features a historic Glasshouse with tropical and exotic species inside. A visit to Chelsea in London adds to one’s educational cravings. This haven of calm amidst the urban hustle also hosts events, workshops, and guided tours.

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