Did you know there were roof gardens above H&M and M&S on High Street Ken and they’ve been there since the 30’s? Did you know they’re open all the time? I didn’t but do now and might just pretend they’re all mine.
The story goes that the Roof Gardens were the baby of the VP of John Barker & Co, known to us as House Of Fraser. In 1938, the Roof Gardens were opened to the masses on the roof of one of the many buildings the company owned.
Fast-forward a few years and now it’s owned by Sir Richard Branson – the rumor is that he was turned away from the very trendy Regine’s night club, housed above the gardens, for wearing sneakers, thus, he bought the whole building the next day and it’s been his ever since!
Flamingos have also been in residence since the beginning. Look for them hiding in the bush. There are even seven trees which remain from the 30’s and the whole garden itself has been deemed of ‘Specific Historical Interest’ and even labeled Grade II by English Heritage.
I was there last week for their first Proms on the Roof of the season. On special Wednesday nights in May and August, music afficaianados can be serenaded by classical music of all different kinds in each of the themed gardens. When I was sauntering about the English Garden, Diego Laverde Rojas was strumming his harp. In the Tudor Garden, the Tarot Ensemble was taking the songs of Shakespeare and transforming them into modern ditties. The crowd pleaser was in the Spanish Garden where Opera Face2Face was performing arias, duets & ensembles.
Here is a short snippet:
It really is a delightful (I don’t use that adjective enough) way to spend a summer evening in the middle of London on a school night.
- The Roof Gardens, 6th Floor, The Roof Gardens, 99 Kensington High Street, W85SA (Closed as of Aug 2021)
FYI: Kensington Roof Gardens is set to reopen as a “world class” restaurant or members’ club.
NB: The Cypriot and I were guests of The Roof Gardens and cannot thank them enough. It was a gorgeous evening and felt like summer had really begun.