For music lovers visiting London, there’s a huge range of options to keep you busy – from West End musicals and jazz bars in Soho, through to classical concerts and operas at the Royal Albert Hall.
There are also famous record shops, museums with music-themed exhibitions and the Original Hard Rock Cafe near Regents Park.
London is also home to landmarks that have become symbols of favourite bands and musicians. For example, there’s the zebra crossing that was famously featured on the front of the Beatles album Abbey Road and Tin Pan Alley where the Rolling Stones recorded their first album.
The homes – or former homes – of some artists have also become popular tourist destinations – and one of the most famous of these is Garden Lodge. This property in Kensington was the home of Queen’s lead singer Freddie Mercury. He bought the property during his time with the band, and it’s where he passed away in 1991.
Let Me Entertain You: A little bit about Freddie Mercury
Freddie Mercury was born in Zanzibar (now part of Tanzania) in 1946. He was named Farrokh Bulsara and spent most of his childhood in India. He began taking piano lessons at the age of seven, and he was sent to a British-style boarding school when he was eight. It was at this school at he started to be known as Freddie.
When Freddie was 17, his family fled Zanzibar and moved into a small house in Middlesex. He enrolled at a college in West London and earned a diploma in Art and Graphic Design – skills he later used to design the Queen heraldic arms.
After he finished college, he joined a series of bands and held an eclectic selection of jobs. In 1970, he joined Brian May and Roger Taylor and formed the band. He said he chose the name “Queen” because “It’s very regal obviously and it sounds splendid. It’s a strong name, very universal and immediate.” He also said he’d been aware of the “gay connotations”, but that was just another part of the choice. It was also around this time that he changed his surname to Mercury.
In the early 1970s, Mercury began a long-term relationship with Mary Austin. They lived together in West Kensington for several years, but in 1976 he told her about his sexuality and their relationship ended. However, the two remained close friends for the rest of his life. When he died from complications resulting from AIDS in 1991, Mercury left his house, Garden Lodge, and a large portion of his fortune to Ms Austin.
Bijou: The house behind the wall
Garden Lodge is located on Logan Place in Kensington. It’s situated just off Earl’s Court Road in the W8 postcode. If you’re visiting the home, you won’t see much – it’s surrounded by a towering privacy wall.
After Mercury’s death, the walls around Garden Lodge became something of a shrine to the musician. Mourners placed flowers, photographs and other items along the wall. Three years after his death, Time Out magazine reported that the tributes were still coming: “Since Freddie’s death, the wall outside the house has become London’s biggest rock ‘n’ roll shrine”.
Today, fans of Queen and Freddie Mercury still regularly visit the wall to pay their respects. But if they could see beyond the wall, they would find a large Edwardian home with a pretty garden full of trees.
Bicycle Race: Travelling to Garden Lodge
If you’re headed to Garden Lodge, then you could travel via bicycle. There are several docking stations for the London cycle hire scheme in the surrounding areas.
The closest Underground station is Earl’s Court on the District and Piccadilly lines – it’s less than half a mile away. A number of buses also serve the local area, including the 74, 328, C1 and C3.
If you’re planning to drive, Garden Lodge is just off the A3220, and there are a number of car parks within walking distance. On-street parking is another option, but spaces can be hard to find and much of the area is restricted to residents only.
We Will Rock You: Nearby accommodation
If you’re planning a trip to London and want lovely accommodation located in the area around Garden Lodge, then the Park Grand London Kensington is an ideal choice.
Situated only two minutes from Earl’s Court Station, our hotel is only about half a mile from Freddie Mercury’s former home, and we think you’ll agree that staying here is A Kind of Magic. With soft, comfortable beds, stylish decor, free Wi-Fi and a restaurant that serves delicious food, we are committed to providing a wonderful experience for all of our guests.