Remembering Kensington Roof Gardens

Kensington Roof Gardens
Kensington Roof Gardens,
October 2006
Kensington Roof Gardens were one of my most exciting garden visits when I first went, some time in the early 2000s. To turn into a side street off High Street Kensington, enter a building and ask a receptionist if you could visit the gardens on the roof top! And they said yes. I needed to sign in to a visitors book and then took the lift up to the roof level. There it was - this wonderful garden high up above the High Street, with its differently themed gardens and lots of corners to explore - it felt like I'd discovered a very secret place (although I must have had read about it in some tourist guide myself). In the years that followed, I took some other people along to visit. They were all delightfully surprised, particularly when finding the flamingos. I miss Kensington Roof Gardens.

The Roof Gardens are located on top of the former Derry and Toms building on Kensington High Street, and were formerly known by the same name, as Derry and Toms Roof Gardens. For a long time, they were the largest roof garden in Europe, covering 6,000 m². They were laid out between 1936 and 1938, and have been listed as a Grade II site by English Heritage since 1978. There are three themed gardens: A Spanish garden, a Tudor style garden and an English woodland garden (home to the flamingos).

More about the gardens and their history can be found on Wikipedia.

The gardens closed in January 2018, it is currently not known when they will re-open or what that may look like. Here's hoping that they may provide once more that little excitement of secretly visiting someone's hidden roof garden.

Kensington Roof Gardens
Palm trees in the Spanish Garden, October 2006

Kensington Roof Gardens
The Spanish Garden with Union Jack and Virgin flags, October 2006