great places to visit off the beaten path.
For individuals seeking a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of the west end, and the crowds of other parks, Holland Park is a worthwhile destination. It contains a unique blend of open space, ornate gardens and woodland. Within this park, is the Kyoto Peace garden. The park is spread across 54 acres of what used to be the grounds of Cope Castle, a large Jacobean mansion hidden in the woods. It was built by Sir Walter Cope in the early 17th century, who became Chancellor of the Exchequer under King James 1. It was renamed Holland House after the Earl of Holland’s wife Lady Rich inherited the property. Holland House was badly damaged during World War II. One wing was saved and is used as a youth hostel. A remaining section of the front terrace is now used as a distinct backdrop for the park’s summertime open-air theatre productions and classical concerts.
Just north of the house’s more formal gardens is the Kyoto garden – designed and built by an eminent Japanese Garden designer and his team to celebrate the Japan Festival in London in 1992. It has been updated by a team of gardeners from Kyoto in 2001. It provides a circular walkway (go clockwise per the signed guidance for the correct experience), a koi pond, waterfall and seating areas. Originally it was a co-operative project between the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the Kyoto Chamber of Commerce in Japan. It provides an incredibly peaceful place to be and a distinct escape from the city.
The park is open from 7:30 am daily.
Closest tube: High Street Kensington