Open Garden Squares is an annual event held across 27 boroughs of London. It is a weekend, usually at the start of summer, where communal gardens that aren’t usually open to the public, unlock their gates and welcome people in. It is held in association with the National Trust and includes traditional gardens, garden squares, allotments and roof terraces.
Attending the Open Garden Squares event is a fabulous way to experience parts of London that are usually unseen. Some gardens offer guided tours, picnics and even activities such as puppet shows for the kids. Whether you want to spend a relaxed afternoon in the sun, enjoy a whirlwind tour or see lots of gardens, this is a great event. Below is a guide to some of the exciting and beautiful gardens that open their gates to visitors.
10 Downing Street
The small L-shaped plot of 10 Downing Street will be opened to 25 people only at this year’s Open Garden Squares event. The Prime Minister was happy to accept the invitation from the National Trust and take part in the event. It is very unusual for anyone to be allowed to visit the garden but this year it has been opened to a limited number of Open Garden Squares’ guests.
Larry, the Downing Street cat, often makes use of the garden which has been visited by many famous people over the years. Being allowed to view the Prime Minister’s garden is definitely a glimpse into unseen London, so if you’re lucky enough to get a ticket don’t hesitate to have a look.
Fulham Palace is one of the main residences of the Bishop of London. The Fulham Palace Gardens, as well as the Fulham Palace Meadows Allotments also open their gates to welcome visitors to experience their secret beauty.
Fulham Palace are also offering guided tours at various points throughout the day, so if you are particularly interested in getting a little more detail, why not embark upon a tour? Tickets are available on the door or by booking in advance online.
The only one of Dagenham’s historic houses to survive, Valence House dates back to the early 1400’s. Today, the house is open to the public as a local history museum, and it is partially surrounded by a moat.
This beautifully historic house has a wonderful herb garden that is accessible only during the Open Garden Squares celebrations. During this exciting event guided tours are available where you can discover an abundance of interesting historical facts about the site and the garden. Entering the Valence House garden during the event is a fantastic way to see the exciting and unusual parts of London.
Westminster Abbey Gardens
Westminster Abbey is one of London’s central attractions and biggest icons. The stunning green areas, usually closed off to the general public, will be opened up for Open Garden Squares only. It is located in the centre of London and has hosted 16 Royal weddings, most recently that of Prince William to Kate Middleton.
One of the gardens is situated around the ruins of the old medieval chapel and has numerous beautiful flowers growing across it. Visiting the Westminster Abbey Gardens is truly a once in a lifetime experience to see some of London’s hidden majesty.
The Open Gardens Square event is a fantastic and unusual way that you can catch a glimpse of unseen London. With so much hidden beauty in this metropolitan city, you might just be surprised at what you find.