The Best Gardens Around London

Published . By Kay Field.

This city of ours? It's full of verdant nooks. But it's not all parks and playgrounds. High above the skyline and tucked away off bustling streets, there are a number of free gorgeous spaces filled with tropical plants, vibrant flowers and stunning water features. So, without further ado, take a look at our pick of the best gardens around London and add some new spots to your summertime arsenal.

The Culpeper

It may seem like any old pub from the outside, but The Culpeper is home to one of the most underrated secret gardens in London. Beloved by those in the know, this Spitalfields watering hole has a 'working farm' packed with flowers, herbs and vegetable patches tucked away on its rooftop. No wonder their food and botanical cocktails taste so good.

A rooftop bar and beer garden in one; what's not to love?

Isabella Plantation

Colourful azaleas, 40 acres of wild woodland and various ponds and streams... it's not hard to see why the Isabella Plantation in Richmond Park is regarded as one of London's best gardens by locals. Take a rhododendron-filled trail around the vibrant estate before enjoying a post-walk refuel at the White Horse.

Get lost in a haze of pink at this Richmond Park gem.

Fulham Palace

Embrace your inner Bridgerton with a trip to Fulham Palace, a lofty 17th-century estate. A must for history and nature lovers, the walled garden and surrounding outdoor areas have some of the oldest holm oaks in the country and the first magnolias grown in Europe, as well as a Tudor wall. Make a day of it with a brunch at The Little Blue Door beforehand.  

Live out your favourite Jane Austen novels here.

Kyoto Gardens

Kyoto Gardens is a zen and tranquil spot within Holland Park. Just a short walk from floral rooftop bar Pergola Paddington, this tiny bolthole is a far cry from the usual parks around London. Instead, you'll find a central pond surrounded by tiered waterfalls and decorative rocks, along with Japanese maple trees and other remarkable shrubs.  

Enjoy an afternoon in this calming retreat.

Barbican Conservatory

Searching for free gardens in London? Look no further than the Barbican Conservatory. Along with fauna from all over the world - from desert cacti and succulents to Swiss cheese plants and orchids - there's three ponds filled with various types of carp. While you're there? Be sure to visit Osteria, a great Italian restaurant just a few storeys below. 

Once inside the concrete fortress, you'll be conveyed to sunnier climates.

Sky Garden

Located 38 floors above Fenchurch Street, Sky Garden has gained acclaim for having one of the most impressive green spaces in London. Head up to the inner-city oasis where you'll be met with panoramic views and a handful of bars and restaurants interspersed among lush ferns and palm trees. 

If that wasn't enough, the place also hosts regular live music events.

St Dunstan in the East

Nestled in the hub of the City, St Dunstan in the East wins the prize for unusual gardens in the UK. Since being all but destroyed during a WW2 bombing, the church has become a public park and a popular place to unwind after work. However, with the Walrus and Carpenter only a hop, skip and a jump away, the pub's not a bad shout either.

Check out this sanctum for a calming lunch spot.

Dalston Curve Garden

Created with the community at its core, Dalston Curve Garden is a gorgeous free hideout in the heart of East London. Take a book and spend a few hours relaxing while sipping on a cup of coffee from its café. Or, if you're after something a little stronger, The Rocksteady is close by and situated near the station.

Step off the train and into this garden to de-stress.

Chelsea Physic Garden

Originally opened in 1673, Chelsea Physic Garden holds the title of the oldest botanical garden in London. It has greenhouses dotted all around if you fancy checking out some of the 5,000 different plants and regularly hosts events, ranging from picnics to seasonal fairs. For those after a chilled day of tanning and R&R, it's also got secluded nooks and is only a stone's throw away from The Surprise, a cosy haunt with drinks and classic pub grub.

Fun fact: the Chelsea Physic Garden has got the UK's largest fruiting olive tree.

Hampstead Heath Garden and Pergola

One of the most well-known and beautiful gardens in London, Hampstead Heath Garden and Pergola is a jewel in the northern neighbourhood's crown. Along with its charming streets and knockout pubs - shoutout The Holly Bush - of course. Venture to this romantic spot for wisteria-clad trellises, regal arches and grand pillars, reminiscent of a Roman palace. 

Cameras at the ready for this photogenic space.

Chiswick House & Gardens

Another Jane Austen-era property, and the birthplace of the English Landscape Movement, Chiswick House & Gardens has, without a doubt, one of the best gardens in England. Expect romantic statues, ornate bridges and curated lawns which are bound to impress. Perhaps not quite as eloquent, but a crowd-pleaser all the same, Bell & Crown is your go-to for freshly-poured pints and riverside views.

A day spent rambling around stately manors and sipping on pints by the water? We're in. 

Kew

We couldn't make a list of the best gardens to visit in London without including the national treasure that is Kew. Handily located by The Coach & Horses, the extensive Royal Botanic Gardens house numerous themed areas, two giant conservatories and a 14,000-strong arboretum; more than enough to keep you entertained.

A popular choice for days out with the family, Kew's always a hit during those summer months. 

Looking for more alfresco things to do in London? Check out our outdoor guide, here.