8 Garden Squares In Central London To Visit In 2022

Date post added: 23rd February 2022

The square is to London what canals are to Venice. There are the famous squares, like Trafalgar Square, where visitors flock to see some of the capital’s best attractions. There are the squares that are triangle, like Hampstead Square Gardens. And then there are London’s garden squares, tranquil pockets of greenery in the midst of the city, and London’s main contribution to the urban experiment.

 

The London Squares Preservation Act of 1931, instigated by a failed bid to build over Edwardes Square in Kensington, protected hundreds of these precious squares, including 18 in Hackney, and West Square in Southwark. Today, some of London’s most exclusive properties overlook its garden squares, which are often fenced and gated for the exclusive use of residents (read on for how you can unlock the gates of these secret gardens). Others are open spaces for all to enjoy. Here’s our round-up of the must visit garden squares in central London to visit this year.

1. Bloomsbury Square Gardens

London’s oldest garden square is Bloomsbury Square Gardens in Camden. Covent Garden Piazza came first in the 1630s, created by famed architect Inigo Jones and influenced by the Italian style, but it is Bloomsbury Square that is London’s first official square, built in the 1660s, followed closely by St James Square. Kensington Square came in 1681 becoming known as a London square in the middle of the 19th century. With its large lawn, cleverly arranged walkways and canopy of trees, Bloomsbury Square Gardens is a peaceful communal space, just a stone’s throw from attractions like The British Museum.

2. Cavendish Square Gardens

Escape the hustle and bustle of central London at Cavendish Square Gardens in Marylebone. 5 minutes’ walk from the shopping paradise of Oxford Street, and the famous Regent’s Park, Cavendish Square was built around 1717- catapulting Marylebone onto the ladder of London’s most fashionable neighbourhoods. And if you do visit Regent’s Park, Park Crescent is one of the largest, and grandest, communal garden squares in the city- accessible during the 2022 London Square Open Gardens Weekend.

3. Grosvenor Square Garden

Set to be London’s most extraordinary urban garden, plans are in place to transform Grosvenor Square Garden in Mayfair into a biodiversity haven. The aim is to take the ‘wilderness worke’ design conceived by gardener John Alston in the 1720s, a celebration of the countryside in the city, and transform Grosvenor Square Garden into a garden square for modern London. Featuring two acres of biodiverse planting, a large oval green space, and water to see, hear and touch, we’re already looking forward to visiting!

Grosvenor Square
Grosvenor Square, viaFlickr,

4. Bedford Square Gardens

Taking the crown as London’s most beautiful garden square is Bedford Square Gardens in Bloomsbury, the only London garden square designed as a whole. Built in the 1770s, surrounded by elegant Georgian townhouses and encircled by pre-war iron railings, Bedford Square has an artistic wholeness and harmony that no other London square possesses. A private London garden square, Bedford Square is taking part in the 2022 London Square Open Gardens Weekend, giving you a chance to take a glimpse into this glorious garden. If you go, keep your eyes peeled for the nubs of sawn off railings going towards Malet Street (a remnant of WWII).

5. Thurloe Square Gardens

Right in the heart of affluent South Kensington and Knightsbridge sits the leafy retreat of Thurloe Square Gardens. Situated on land that dates back to 1630, the terraces, serpentine pathways and lavish flower beds were laid out in 1840. Usually a residents’ only space, you can visit this delightful garden square on the 2022 London Square Open Gardens Weekend. Nearby Brompton Square and Kensington Square have gardens just as exclusive and delectable.

6. Berkeley Square Gardens

As you might expect, some of London’s best garden squares are in its most exclusive areas, like Mayfair, Marylebone, Bayswater, Notting Hill, Knightsbridge, the City of London and Chelsea. In Mayfair, in the City of Westminster, you’ll find Grade II listed Berkeley Square Gardens. Protected by English Heritage, Berkeley Square’s current elongated oval featuring four grassed areas and a walkway that takes you around the oval and within, was designed in the 1760s. With its marble water nymph statues, surrounded by benches, Berkeley Square is a charming garden square to visit, in a lovely part of London.

Berkeley Square, viaFlickr,

7. Cadogan Square Gardens

For elegance and exclusivity, it has to be Cadogan Square. Located in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Cadogan Square Gardens is part of the Cadogan Estate, led by the 8th Earl Cadogan and with a history dating back to the Stuart era. Cadogan Square Gardens itself is nestled amongst red brick mansions. First laid out in Victorian times, the ornamental planting and verdant lawns are much the same as they were in 1886. Also part of the Cadogan Estate are the garden squares of Cadogan Place North and South, and Hans Place- once home to Jane Austen.

8. Belgrave Square Garden

For a peek into the grandest of London’s squares, head to Belgravia, south of Hyde Park. Belgrave Square Garden is 4.5 acres of luscious green space, designed by George Basevi and Thomas Cubitt in 1826, making it one of the largest of London’s squares too. The children’s play area and tennis courts were added more recently. This private garden is an oasis of wisteria, roses and summerhouses, and is open to the public during the 2022 London Square Open Gardens Weekend. Another private garden square open during the weekend is nearby Eaton Square Gardens- once home to Prime Ministers Neville Chamberlain and Stanley Baldwin.

This is just a glimpse into the hundreds of gorgeous garden squares in central London. If you’ve worked up an appetite to get out exploring, check out our walks, including the Bohemian Bloomsbury walk.