With a nickname of The Big Smoke, and a status as one of the largest and busiest cities in the world, it’s hard to believe that there could be room for tranquil green retreats in the great city of London. Mention London to someone from another country who hasn’t had the pleasure of a visit, and they might even conjure up an image of a smoggy, dark, industrial place.
However, the reality is that London is packed with pockets of greenery in amongst its palatial buildings and suburban houses, and some of the most tranquil beauty spots are within a stone’s throw of our very own Park Grand Kensington Hotel. On your next visit, don’t forget to stop by one of these three green retreats.
The Hyde Park
No visit to any hotels in Kensington could be complete without a trip to Hyde Park. One of the largest city parks in the UK, Hyde Park is Grade-I listed, and the biggest of London’s four Royal Parks surrounding Kensington Palace. Hyde Park has a long and illustrious history, being the stomping ground of British kings and queens for centuries. Henry VIII famously took great joy in hunting deer through this land, and it wasn’t until Charles I opened its gates to the public almost 100 years later that it became the bustling inner city retreat that it is today.
A visit to Hyde Park will require at least a day, so be sure to get a good night’s rest at our Park Grand Kensington accommodation before you set out, especially if you’re visiting us in the summer months. The jewel in London’s entertainment crown is the British Summer Time festival at Hyde Park, which is known to showcase the music industry’s biggest names, including Paul Simon, Taylor Swift, Stevie Wonder and Florence and the Machine.
Chelsea Physic Gardens
These historic gardens date back as far back as the 1600s when they were created by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries. First established as the Apothecaries’ Garden, Chelsea Physic Garden has, at one point or another, contained abundant supplies of edible and medicinal plants in the world, including some species that are rare or endangered.
Lying on the banks of the Thames, a visit to the Chelsea Physic Gardens provides a breath of fresh air from the hustle and bustle of the big city; air which is beautifully fragranced by the flowers that inhabit it.
The Holland Park
Our closest green neighbour, Holland Park lies only a few minutes from the Park Grand Kensington Hotel. Holland Park was first built by Sir Walter Cope in the early 1600s and was comprised of 54 acres of woodland which hid his grand Jacobean mansion.
The most notable renovations to Holland Park were made in the last part of the 20th century when in 1992 the Kyoto garden was designed and built for the Japan Festival. Another Japanese garden, the Fukushima Garden, was created in 2012 to commemorate the lives lost in the nuclear power plant leak in the city of the same name. With water features and elaborate statues, the Japanese gardens in Holland Park are a must-visit tranquil retreat.