With July’s warm days, I find myself looking for shade and fresh air in gardens, parks and green spaces of all kinds. An enchanting and often forgotten one of them is Kyoto Gardens. It is set in the heart of Holland Park, a calm and fine park welcoming pigeons and peacocks alike and located in one of London’s poshest neighbourhoods (see the post on Holland’s Park here).
The Park is named after Holland House, a mansion visited by Lord Byron and Disraeli in its finest hours at the end of the 19th century. Though no ghost can be found in the sterilised ruins, the new Japanese garden, inaugurated in 1991, is a haven of peace. With its pond and waterfall, stone lantern and small bridge, is a pleasant place to pause.
Nearest Tube Station: Holland Park
In the 19th century, London’s prosperous bourgeoisie settled in the neighbourhood of Holland Park and started to build extravagant houses to show off their wealth. A walk in the area will give you a taste of the architectural trends of the time: the more imposing and spectacular the better, the emphasis being on prosperity rather than good taste.
In Addison Road, at the number 8, stands the Palazzo Debenham, built for the shopkeeper Ernest Debenham. It displays an extravagant Italian front of blue and green bricks. This is the most sumptuous house of the neighbourhood, but many of them are worth a look.
On Melbury Road, a few minutes away, one of these mansions, Leighton House, is open to the public. You can visit it for a few pounds and have a glimpse of what the interior of these villas are like.
Nearest Tube: Holland Park