For one weekend in June, London’s hidden green spaces will open their gates to the public, allowing access to the verdant spaces that are usually held under lock and key, making the weekend of 8-9 June a rare opportunity to explore Sloane Street’s stunning Cadogan Place Gardens during Open Garden Squares Weekend.
Cadogan Place – the first square to be developed by Henry Holland, together with Sloane Square, from 1777 – is set in the middle of Sloane Street, with the Cadogan Place Gardens as oases of green amidst the bustling luxury retail stores and historic architecture. They are usually reserved for the use of the very lucky residents, which once included slave trade abolitionist William Wilberforce (1759-1833), who lived at 44 Cadogan Place.
The north garden was originally created in 1806 by Humphry Repton and became an important military site in WW2, when the railings were removed to donate to the war effort. In 1939, part of the garden was requisitioned by the Air Ministry for a barrage balloon. In May 1942, it was wholly taken over by the War Office and the ground was used to dig in tanks, station anti-aircraft guns and as a camp for troops.
It was re-landscaped in the 1970s, when an underground car park was built beneath it, making it one of London’s most exclusive roof gardens.
The south garden was originally known as the London Botanic Gardens. The mulberry trees on the lawn are said to be around 300 years old and thought perhaps to have been grown for the silk trade.
On the east side, a walk running the length of the garden has been completed for springtime. Near the tennis courts, black bamboo and willows screen a water garden which is currently undergoing some work. The award-winning Hans Sloane Garden, adapted from a 2003 Chelsea Flower Show design to celebrate the life of physician and collector Sir Hans Sloane, can be found at the centre of the garden.
There are several other notable gardens in the neighbourhood worth exploring, our pick of these is below (with a handy map viewable here), while a complete list of all the London gardens open on the weekend is available on the Open Garden Squares Weekend list. To buy tickets for the event please click here.