The International Gardens of London’s Holland Park

I worked in Notting Hill for four years, just a 10 minute walk from West London’s Holland Park.

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For one of those years, I lived in Earl’s Court so I would walk to and from work through Holland Park every single day, watching the changing seasons and the same Londoners taking their dogs or kids for a stroll.

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London is full of fantastic parks, from Regents Park with its beautiful rose gardens, Hampstead Heath with its ponds and stunning view over London, Richmond Park with grazing deer and the green spaces of East London that line the canals.

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Although it is one of the smaller green spaces, Holland Park quickly became one of my favourites.

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I spent many lunch breaks there, sitting in the sun, enjoying a book or a magazine.

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I’ve walked through on rainy days when the benches are empty and the flower petals are dripping. And I’ve walked through on snowy days with inappropriate shoes that threatened to send me flying back down the hill on the ice.

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It has been the setting for many a picnic with friends, photo walks and long conversations.

Holland Park

Holland Park is fabulous for many reasons like their free-roaming peacocks and free outdoor gym. But two areas stand out for me.

Holland Park Instagram

One is the Dutch garden.

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I love its manicured flower bed, its rainbow array of flowers with hovering bees searching for food.

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I spent a few hours there on Saturday before meeting my study abroad roommate from 2004 in Portobello Market, nine years after we’d last seen each other.

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It smelled like Summer.

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The sky lit up the background for the vibrant flowers, a brilliant blue and barely a cloud, temperatures climbing slowly to 30C.

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I love the rows of benches lining the Dutch Gardens.

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It was with a mixture of fascination and melancholy I read the inscriptions, memories of people who have sat and found solace in this park, quotes about lost love and happiness and life long gone.

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A few other people wandered through, but it was quiet here, separated from the rest of the park like a not so hidden secret garden.

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A few kids appeared out of the blue, brothers probably, arguing in Spanish about who won their race to the statue. Then they quickly disappeared again.

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I thought about how big and sprawling this city is, how I hadn’t visited the park in months, and how quickly time goes by when there is so much to see and do.

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It is no longer a part of my daily routine and I forget how much I enjoy being there.

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My other favourite part of Holland Park is also an international garden.

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It’s the Kyoto Gardens just behind the Dutch Garden.

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For some reason it always seems to be slightly more busy than the Dutch Gardens on sunny days.

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I guess people enjoy the pond as much as I do.

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And certainly the waterfall – a novelty in London!

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It’s fun to peer over the edge and watch the fish swim lazily over a bed of coins – probably from all over the world – dropped in with wishes over the years.

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An occasional duck floats by.

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It’s a peaceful place overall. Even the streets outside the park are pretty!

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I headed back toward Portobello Market then to catch up with Jevon on a bright and sunny day.

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Stop by the LLO Facebook Page and let me know your favourite London park and why if you haven’t already. Give the page a big LIKE while you’re there!

Richmond Park in the Winter

Sometimes, the best part about living in London is its outskirts, the fringes of chaotic cosmopolitan life where open spaces invite early morning walks and wildlife flourishes.

Richard Fisher woke up early and walked through Richmond Park at dawn to shoot these stunning photos below.

It’s hard to believe that not so far away cars were rushing through Earl’s Court, crowded buses barging through Piccadilly Circus and the patter of city worker’s shoes were clicking through the tube tunnels in a rush to the office.

Yet here, in these calming scenes, there’s a slow awakening, a misty chill of morning air and the curiosity of a stag gazing out among the trees.

Richmond Park at dawn

Red deer stag

 

Hope you all have a relaxing week! Stop to enjoy the little things.

Autumn Leaves in Stamford Hill

While I was in New York earlier this month, I had the opportunity to enjoy plenty of beautiful Autumn leaves, like these…

London has nothing on upstate New York when it comes to a vibrant  October, but Joseph O’Malley captured the golden London leaves here perfectly in his two photos below of Springfield Park in Stamford Hill, North London.

Enjoy what’s left of the leaves while you can – Winter is coming! Brrrrr….

Springfield Park, Stamford Hill, London, England.

Springfield Park, Stamford Hill, London, England.

 

Side note – After seeing these photos, I spent the last 20 minutes reading a very interesting article about Stamford Hill. I googled the area because I realised it’s somewhere in London I really knew nothing about. This fascinating piece from The Telegraph is what popped up. It’s long, but worth a good skim at least! (I realise it’s old news from 2011, but we found ourselves lost in a heavily Orthodox Jewish area of Brooklyn at the end of our NY trip so this was particularly timely from my perspective!)

Little Venice: Algae on the Canal

A welcome respite after a walk down the Harrow Road with its dreary buildings and heavy traffic flow, the canal of Little Venice was glowing with a coat of green algae.

The shadow of the bridge stretched across the algae.

Sleepy houseboats were tied up along the shore.

Some were makeshift cafes, others sold vintage clothes, books, art prints. There was even a salon.

Little Venice is a relaxing place, far enough from the main roads to feel like you’ve escaped the city for a few minutes.

But I’ve never seen algae quite as thick!

We spotted a football sitting still on the surface, a coffee stir stick, beer cans.

There were bits of rope and boat paraphernalia.

There was a machine on one of the boats that looked like at some point it had been cleaning.

There were families of ducks dipping beneath and coming up for air with green spotted beaks.

Flowers grow along the banks.

Some of the ducks found a makeshift, island family home.

It was nice to see some wildlife wandering about (wildlife that’s not pigeons).

And we even beat Saturday’s rain.

A Sunday Afternoon Image

There’s something quintessentially English about this photo that Where the Art Is contributed to the Flickr pool. The way the man is reading his newspaper, paying no mind to the giant creature perched on the bench next to him in St. James’s Park… Perfect for a Sunday, no? Props on the photography skills as well (shot with a Panasonic DMC-TZ20 for you camera buffs). Love it.

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What’s your favourite way to way to while away a
Sunday afternoon in London? 

Add your own photos of London to the Flickr pool for a chance to be featured on the blog.