London is home to a surprising number of green spaces. Whether it be a secret square in Bloomsbury or the historic expanses of royal parks, there are many chances to get a breath of fresh air during your visit to the Shaftesbury hotel collection. One of these iconic green spaces is Holland Park Kyoto Garden, well known for it’s interesting history, evolution and for its range of sites and attractions within the grounds itself.
One of Holland Parks main attractions is its unique Kyoto Gardens, a beautiful Japanese inspired garden set within the 54 acres of Holland Park. So how did this beautiful terraced garden from the other side of the world end up in the grounds of a truly British park?
History of Holland Park
What was originally a Jacobean country house surrounded by private deer-park has now become one of the most popular public parks in the city. Based in the borough of Kensington, Holland Park House was commissioned by Sir Walter Cope in 1605 and was passed through marriage to many a notable aristocrat and baron. By the early 20th century, the house’s private gardens had stretched to become bigger than even that of Buckingham Palace. The gardens grew the first successful Dahlia flower in the UK and became a popular meeting ground for the “Whigs”, a now-defunct political party that until the 19th century was the main opponent of the Conservatives. Unfortunately, during World War Two, Holland House was the target of firebombing during the Blitz, and was left in ruins. After its handing over to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Holland Parks many acres were made public, and the Grade I listed house converted into a Christian retreat house.
Things to see in Holland Park
With many of the famous Dahlias still being grown within the grounds, Holland Park has become a favourite for tourists, botanists and horticulturalists alike. The summer also sees Holland Park host an open-air theatre and opera house, whilst the more casual visitor will no doubt want to visit the cute café, luscious woodland areas and the grounds of the historic Holland House. If you’re visiting with kids, then the two extensive playground areas will be of interest. The larger of the two has a large tyre swing, zip lines, climbing equipment and see saws, whilst you can find respite from your smaller kids in the guise of a fenced in play area for the toddlers.
As such a culturally diverse city, it’s n surprise that you can find such an authentic Japanese garden inside the popular Holland Park. Opened in 1991, the Kyoto Garden consists of Japanese water features, tiered waterfalls, rock gardens and a whole host of Koi Carp swimming in the pond. To add to the ambience, there are Japanese Maple Trees lining the area and the odd peacock swanning around. If you’re looking for some rest and relaxation, even if just for a few minutes, then this tranquil Holland Park hidey hole is the perfect getaway. With plant life which could make a botanist blush, this garden is a meditative paradise in the midst if the capital city crowds.
History of Kyoto Gardens
Kyoto Gardens was introduced into Holland Park back in 1991, when it was built as a gift and symbol of British – Japanese cooperation. This unifying garden has since become one of the most popular areas of the park and has since been joined by a second Japanese inspired garden, the Fukushima Memorial Garden, back in 2011. This second garden was created as a memorial for the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster and the tsunami which preceded and caused it in 2011. It was created due to the support given by the British during this trying time.
Getting to Holland Park
Holland Park has very little car parking space in the area, that is unless you are a nearby resident. With this in mind, it is best to take public transport to the area, although if you’re staying in a London Hyde Park Boutique Hotel then you’ll most likely be in walking distance from the park. Hotels near Holland Park include the Park Grand London Paddington, the Park Grand London Hyde Park and the Park Grand London Kensington. Holland Park is flanked by two tube stations, Holland Park tube station on the Central Line, and High Street Kensington on the Circle and District Line.
Things to do near Holland Park
If the weather doesn’t suit Holland Park, or you’ve exhausted all options there, then there are a range of other options in the vicinity which will cater to all ages and tastes. Just off Holland Park you’ll find the beautiful design museum for instance, whilst Notting Hill plays host to the legendary Portobello Market every weekend. With Hyde Park, the Serpentine Gallery, South Kensington’s Museum Row and the upmarket wonders of Sloane Square a short walk away, the Holland Park area has almost endless possibilities for newcomers.