The Festival Gardens were laid out in 1951 by Sir Albert Richardson, following the ground plan of pre-war buildings. They were the Corporation of London's contribution to the Festival of Britain. The site was formerly that of Old Change, a street dating from 1293. The formal layout consists of a sunken lawn with wall fountain, which was a gift of the Worshipful Company of Gardeners. This lawn is surrounded by a raised paved terrace with stone parapets and seating, planting in tubs and a number of trees including a pleached lime hedge and a fine catalpa. The garden offers an excellent view of St. Paul's Cathedral.
In 2012 the gardens were extended towards the west into the area formerly used for coach parking. The new garden represented an enormous increase in accessible green space, boasting 378sqm of lawn, some 3,000 herbaceous plants, 184 linear metres of clipped box hedging, flowering street trees and multi-stemmed garden trees.