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The Roof Gardens

99 Kensington High Street, W8  |  +44 207 937 7994

www.roofgardens.virgin.com

The Roof Gardens is a spectacular set of themed gardens 100 feet above Kensington High Street. There are three distinct areas: Spanish, Tudor, and English Woodland, all arranged around the central Clubhouse and spread across the sixth floor of a Grade II listed building. The history of the gardens began in 1936 when Trevor Bowen, the then Vice President of Barkers department store had a vision of creating an urban escape on London’s rooftops. Two years later, The Roof Gardens were completed and in May of that year, the gardens were opened to the public for viewing at a cost of one shilling which raised over £120,000 for three local hospitals over 30 years. The building itself is now a Grade II listed structure, and the local council placed a ‘Tree Preservation Order’ on all the trees in 1976. The structure of The Roof Gardens remained essentially unchanged until 2001, when an additional floor was added to the building to house the restaurant Babylon. Of the three distinct gardens, the Spanish Garden was inspired by the Alhambra in Granada, and is characterised by manicured lawns, fountains, and colourful seasonal bedding plants, all arranged around a central courtyard. The Woodland Garden is undoubtedly at its best in the spring months, and features almost 100 different species of trees, some of which were planted more than 70 years ago. This garden stretches all the way along the length of the roof, with full-grown oak, lime and fruit trees growing in just 1.5m of soil. This garden also has four resident flamingos, a play area for the ducks, and a fish pond harbouring a number of different species. Finally, the Tudor Garden is a delightful combination of Tudor-style archways and walls punctuated by secret corners, hanging wisteria, and a beautiful display of flowers in spring. Evergreen shrubs are surrounded by fragrant lilies, roses and lavender during the summer months, and look for the detailed hunting scene carved in the Tudor arches as well as the occasional artefact peering out amongst the trailing climbers. The gardens are home to four resident Chilean flamingos, Bill, Ben, Splosh and Pecks. In the wild they feed on shrimp and other crustaceans which give them their beautiful colouring. There are also five pairs of ornamental ducks; three of the dabbling variety – Carolina, Mandarin and Bahama Pintail, as well as two pairs of diving ducks – New Zealand Scaup and Pochard’s variety. They all have pinioned wings to keep them within the safe confines of their unique habitat. If ever there was an inner-city paradise, The Roof Gardens is undoubtedly it.

The Roof Gardens is a spectacular set of themed gardens 100 feet above Kensington High Street. There are three distinct areas: Spanish, Tudor, and English Woodland, all arranged around the central Clubhouse and spread across the sixth floor of a Grade II listed building. The history of the gardens began in 1936 when Trevor Bowen, the then Vice President of Barkers department store had a vision of creating an urban escape on London’s rooftops. Two years later, The Roof Gardens were completed and in May of that year, the gardens were opened to the public for viewing at a cost of one shilling which raised over £120,000 for three local hospitals over 30 years. The building itself is now a Grade II listed structure, and the local council placed a ‘Tree Preservation Order’ on all the trees in 1976. The structure of The Roof Gardens remained essentially unchanged until 2001, when an additional floor was added to the building to house the restaurant Babylon. Of the three distinct gardens, the Spanish Garden was inspired by the Alhambra in Granada, and is characterised by manicured lawns, fountains, and colourful seasonal bedding plants, all arranged around a central courtyard. The Woodland Garden is undoubtedly at its best in the spring months, and features almost 100 different species of trees, some of which were planted more than 70 years ago. This garden stretches all the way along the length of the roof, with full-grown oak, lime and fruit trees growing in just 1.5m of soil. This garden also has four resident flamingos, a play area for the ducks, and a fish pond harbouring a number of different species. Finally, the Tudor Garden is a delightful combination of Tudor-style archways and walls punctuated by secret corners, hanging wisteria, and a beautiful display of flowers in spring. Evergreen shrubs are surrounded by fragrant lilies, roses and lavender during the summer months, and look for the detailed hunting scene carved in the Tudor arches as well as the occasional artefact peering out amongst the trailing climbers. The gardens are home to four resident Chilean flamingos, Bill, Ben, Splosh and Pecks. In the wild they feed on shrimp and other crustaceans which give them their beautiful colouring. There are also five pairs of ornamental ducks; three of the dabbling variety – Carolina, Mandarin and Bahama Pintail, as well as two pairs of diving ducks – New Zealand Scaup and Pochard’s variety. They all have pinioned wings to keep them within the safe confines of their unique habitat. If ever there was an inner-city paradise, The Roof Gardens is undoubtedly it.