There are 8 Royal Parks in London, for the casual visitor you might think Holland Park would be one of them, well it quite literally was the park that got away.
King Henry VIII seized various parcels of land in London for his deer’s, this land grab formed the present day collection of Royal Parks. It just so happens that Holland Park was not on the list.
Holland Park, the largest park in South Kensington and does indeed looks like a Royal park, it is after all the Park with a Castle. The park is truly quite unique, hidden with its depths is a Japanese Kyoto garden and an impressive woodland walk that makes you forget that you are still in Kensington & Chelsea W11. The park is 22.5 hectares equivalent to 54 acres. The curated gardens have been worked consistently from the 17th, 18th, and 19th Centuries, and continue to be looked after today.
King Henry VIII and his land grab of parks
Thanks to King Henry VIII, London has some of the finest green spaces of any city. For it was this King, with an appetite for hunting that he acquisitioned parks and green spaces for his deer and hunting activities. These green strips of London became the property of the Crown.
Holland Park would have a different trajectory, King Henry VIII did not add it to his collection.
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Holland Park the Castle fit for a Chancellor
Sir Walter Cope built Cope Castle, which was a Jacobean mansion hidden in the woods of Holland Park, around 1605-1608. Sir Walter Cope was Chancellor of the Exchequer During the reign of King Charles I, who stayed at Cope Castle once in 1612. Covered in exotic plants and trees. The estate’s gardener was John Tradescant.
The pillars to support a new imposing gate were built in 1629 and still be seen today, though the original gates have long gone.
Sir Walter Cope son-in-law Sir Henry Rich, 1st Earl of Holland took over the house where Cope Castle became Holland House. The 1st Earl of Holland joined parliament but switched sides with the Royalists. Military action during the civil war ended with his capture, arrest, and trail for Treason. Sir Henry Rich would hold that it was on condition of surrender that they spare his life, on the 9th March 1649, that was not to be and they executed him at Westminster Hall. It is said that the Ghost of the first Earl of Holland Park has been seen walking the area.
Holland House in the footsteps of Dickens and Disraeli
Holland House takes it name from Henry Rich, earl of Holland, whose father in law was Sir Walter Cope. The house was built in 1607 by the famous architect John Thorpe. The House today is a shadow of the house that once was. The upper floors have all but gone, leaving a low level impression of its former glory.
During the time of Lord Holland, Holland House became the political and social hub, drawing in some of the famous names of the time. Visitors to Holland house where many with notables such as Writer Charles Dickens, Prime Minister and politician Benjamin Disraeli, the poet Thomas Campbell, writer Walter scott, poet Lord Byron and historian & poet Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay.
For a time they stationed the Army at Holland House, and even Cromwell himself visited a few times. The house then moved to the Earl of Holland’s wife Lady Rich who inherited the property.
Sites and sounds of Holland Park
William Kent and Charles Hamilton designed the park layout in the early to mid-18th Century.
Despite the park having vast historical heritage, it was only open to the public from 1952.
A fire from an incendiary bomb-damaged Holland House in 1940, the damage and ruins you can still see today.
The international elements to the gardens feature a Dutch Garden, decorative flower beds in geometric patterns, terraces and a Japanese garden area.
The Japanese-inspired Kyoto Garden in Holland Park.
By Chamber of Commerce of Kyoto in 1991. This was to be part of the London celebrations of the Japan Festival in 1992.
Individual Blossoms and features of the Japanese Garden, Japonica Kerria Japanese Garden yellow pompom blossom
Themed sections like Iris garden with a little pool, Azalea Walk was known as Rose walk before which had been started by Lady llchester around 1894. This walk leads to the statue of the 3rd Lord Holland. In 1876 the 4th Lady Holland planted Lime-Tree Avenue westward from the statue. These mostly had to be replaced in 1987 due to October storms.
Woodland walks in Holland Park
Sun Terrace features seating and flower beds on several levels with a birdbath designed for disabled access.
Kensington High Street Entrance invites with large decorative 18thC wrought iron gates that were Belgian. Bought by the 3rdLord Holland in 1836
Ecology service base for the borough. They run events for the public and schools and educational programs.
Adventure playground open summer 2019
Walking Man sculpture by Sean Henry year 2010.
Size 193 x 61 x 71 cm painted bronze.
The Artist looks at perception and scale real-life experiences, human existence
Horns, cogs sculpture
Annunciation by Andrew Burton 2000
Symbolises passage of time a New Era. The sculpture was part of a collective that celebrated the Millennium. The Artist heads the Department of Fine Art at New Castle upon Tyne University. Having an interest in Indian Culture and artefacts.
By Oliver Gero c 1986.
Based on the original sphere that became so decayed that it had to be remade. 19th C paintings showed images of the gardens featuring the original Armillary sphere between the two fountains and dividing the gardens.
These spheres are a Sundial, inside the Holland Park structure it depicts the equator circle and the hours of the day are marked. When a shadow from the sun casts a mark by the north pole/ south pole axis rod which is pointing due North is can reveal the time.
Armillae is a Latin word for several rings, used in the celestial astronomical analysis, developed by A Green Ptolemy who was an astronomer and philosopher.
The glorious Dutch Garden found in Holland Park
Lord Holland legally closed the right of way that had passed in front of his house. He agreed to open another public right of way which runs along the eastern perimeter to the right-hand side if you enter from Kensington High street.
The 17th Century Belvedere restaurant in Holland Park
17th Century Holland house had a ballroom for its mansion guests. It is now the Belvedere restaurant and has beautiful camelia and magnolia outside it.
They restored East Wing of Holland House and turned into a Youth Hostel in 1957.
Children’s play area. Also, an adventure playground that will reopen summer 2019. Tennis Courts