London Parks & Gardens Trust

Self-guided Walks and Rides

Notting Hill Gardens and Squares


Directions

Photos

Background

This is a walk around some of the gardens of Notting Hill, starting at Holland Park station and finishing at Notting Hill Gate station. The walk is specifically designed for use on the Sunday of Open Garden Squares Weekend and the gardens are generally arranged in the order in which they open and close. The total length of the walk is about five kilometres or three miles. You may like to note that very few of the gardens featured have toilets and that the only public toilets in Notting Hill open on Sunday are in Avondale Park. Please be aware of your personal safety and security when walking. Use this text in conjunction with a detailed street map and use designated road crossings where possible.
Start Magnifier
The Ladbroke Estate was laid out as a planned garden suburb with a coherent layout of concentric crescents and large communal gardens whose features were first suggested in a plan by architect and estate surveyor Thomas Allason in 1823. His scheme was later modified by others, including James Thomson, although he remained involved until his death in 1852. During the lull in building development, the land was leased for a time for a racecourse, the Hippodrome, built by John Whyte in 1837. The venture floundered, the course proving too heavy going, and it only operated from 1837-41. Building started in the 1840s; the outer concentric crescents date from the 1860s. After Allason's death, artist and designer Thomas Allom was responsible for the next phase of development.

On leaving Holland Park Station, turn right, down Holland Park Avenue. Norland Square is the fourth turning on the right.
Norland Square
Norland Square Magnifier
Originally part of the Norland Estate, the square and beautiful surrounding stucco-fronted houses were built by a property developer in the early 1840s. A shady gravel path meanders around the garden next to borders filled with mixed shrubs and ornamental trees. The garden railings were reinstated in 2007. The sunny central lawn has a children's playground and tennis court at opposite ends.

Return to Holland Park Avenue and turn right, continuing downhill. After leaving Norland Square, Royal Crescent is the second turning on the right.
Royal Crescent
Royal Crescent Magnifier
These gardens are part of the Norland Estate, developed from around 1840 by Robert Cantwell, who laid out Royal Crescent in 1846. The Ordnance Survey map of 1860 shows a path following the periphery and trees and paths within the space. The gardens contain two magnificent plane trees at least as old as the Crescent buildings. They serve some 150 households in 44 houses. The perimeter railings, sacrificed for the war effort in WW2, were restored in 1997 and repainted in 2014. The garden committee has worked since 2003 with a garden designer on full restoration, to enhance the planting and improve the visual amenity the gardens offer to all residents. Considerable progress has been made, including the installation of a gazebo specially made for the garden as a new central feature in 2007, replanting of the west side in 2008-9 and the south path in 2011. Significant improvements to the planting and layout continued in 2014 and the project continues.

Return to Holland Park Avenue, turn left and immediately left into Addison Avenue. St James's Gardens are either side of the church at the end of the street.
St James's Gardens
St James's Gardens Magnifier
The gardens were established in the late 1840s as part of the Norland Estate. A speculative developer, Charles Richardson, built the houses around St James's Gardens and set up the gardens for the benefit of the residents who were, and still are, required to maintain them. Richardson gifted the site for St James's Church to the Church Commissioners on the basis that the houses would be more saleable if they had access to their own adjacent church. The church, designed by architect Lewis Vulliamy, was built between 1844 and 1855. The gardens are laid out in an informal woodland style, dominated by the fine chestnut and lime trees which date back well into the 19th century.

On leaving the south side of St James's Gardens, turn left along Penzance Street. At the end, turn left into Princedale Road. At the end of this street, continue through the road closure into Hippodrome Place, named after the unsuccessful racecourse in this area. (A short way ahead is the entrance to Avondale Park, where there are some of the few public toilets in the area.) Turn right, up Hippodrome Place. At the top, turn right into Clarendon Road and take the second left into Lansdowne Walk. Hanover Gardens are in the second block on the left.
Hanover Gardens
Hanover Gardens Magnifier
Hanover Gardens lies in the heart of the old Ladbroke Estate, below the crown of Notting Hill. Overlooked by buildings on two sides, the tall terraced houses designed by James Thomson date from 1842-3 along Ladbroke Grove to the east, and semi-detached villas of 1845 infill along Lansdowne Road to the west. The sloping garden is one of the earliest on the estate, with views to the spire of St John's Church of 1845 between shrub beds, scattered mature trees and clumps. The original path layout survives with a straight terraced path along the east side and a meandering path across the centre. The garden today has no formal beds, pretty gardening or straight lines, just a feel of the countryside in the middle of town with birdsong and church bells disturbing the calm. There are mature plane trees, occasional specimen trees such as a tulip tree, and copses of woodland planting.

From Hanover Gardens, go back down the hill and take the first right into Lansdowne Road. Take the first left into St John's Gardens, passing the entrance to Clarendon Road & Lansdowne Road Communal Garden on the right. (This one is not taking part in Open Garden Squares Weekend this year.) Continue down the hill to Clarendon Road. Turn right along Clarendon Road and take the second right into Elgin Crescent. Then take the first right into Rosmead Road, where Rosmead Garden is on the left-hand side.
Rosmead Garden
Rosmead Garden Magnifier
This garden is part of the Ladbroke Estate, which includes Arundel Gardens and St John's Gardens. Thomas Allom's plan of 1823 provided for generous communal gardens, organised in a concentric layout of crescents. The outer crescents date from the 1860s. The garden achieved fame through featuring in the film 'Notting Hill'.

From Roamead Gardnes, turn left then immediate left into Lansdowne Road, then right along Ladbroke Grove. Turn left into Kensington Park Gardens; the entrance to Stanley Crescent Gardens is on the left near the junction with Stanley Crescent.
Stanley Crescent Garden
Stanley Crescent Garden Magnifier
One of the least altered communal gardens in the area, the garden is part of the Ladbroke Estate development which was largely designed and built in 1852-3 by Thomas Allom. It contains many old, rare and protected trees.

From Stanley Crescent, turn left along Kensington Park Gardens. At the end, turn right into Kensington Park Road, where the entrance to Ladbroke Square Garden is on the right.
Ladbroke Square Garden
Ladbroke Square Garden Magnifier
The garden was originally the site of a racecourse, the Hippodrome, built by John Whyte in 1837. The venture foundered as the course was too heavy-going. A plan of 1849 signed by the architect/surveyor Thomas Allason shows the garden laid out as it is today, the largest of the 16 communal gardens of the Ladbroke Estate. It is also one of the largest private garden squares in London, listed by English Heritage as grade II. Within the railings, shrubbery and stately trees enclose a long east-west walk along the north side, with winding paths around three spacious lawns, flanked by colourful herbaceous borders. There are two playgrounds, one for small and one for older children.

From Ladbroke Square, turn right along Kensington Park Road to the junction with Pembridge Road. From here you can either continue to the main road and turn left to Notting Hill Gate station or you can turn sharp left and then first right into Pembridge Square.
Pembridge Square
Pembridge Square Magnifier
Pembridge Square was built between 1856 and 1864 and the garden completed in 1865. It recently received awards for the best garden in north Kensington and best large private garden square. The long rectangular garden has a beautiful woodland area, wild flowers at the east end, a rose garden at the west end and a long herbaceous border.

From Pembridge Garden, return towards Pembridge Road but turn left into Pembridge Gardens in the south west corner of the square. Notting Hill Gate station is at the end of this street.