The Treasure Above Kensington High St

March 13, 2012

London Sights

Situated directly above Kensington High St tube station, on the 6th floor of the old Derry and Toms building, you’ll find the Kensington Roof Gardens.

While the building below was completed in 1933 the gardens, designed by landscape architect Ralph Bowen, were opened in 1938. They have been owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin group since the early 1980s are divided up into 3 zones – a tudor-inspired area, an English woodland (complete with ponds and waterfowl, including flamingos) and the most spectacular section, a Spanish garden styled with a Moorish flavour.

The roof gardens aren’t open to the general public all the time as the building at the centre, which contains a private members club and conference rooms, is often hired out for corporate events. It’s best to check using the telephone number on their website to find out what days of the week you can access the area. Above the club, on a seventh floor added during the ’80s, is the rather swish Babylon restaurant, and the regular prix fixe menu is just under £40 a head which isn’t too bad for a special occasion I suppose – you’ll certainly be dining in one of the spectacular locations in central London…

There’s an interesting anecdote about the Kensington Roof Gardens which I’ll leave you with – a friend expressed surprise when I said that I saw a few flamingos. Apparently they were removed from the gardens a while ago when drunken club-goers started to make a habit of flinging the flamingos off the roof to see if they could fly – I doubt the venue or passers by thought the red and pink stains on the pavement were particularly amusing…

About The Londoneer

Pete Stean is a keen blogger, amateur photographer, singer and ham radio enthusiast in his spare time... Google+

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