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Kensington Roof Gardens

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Published November 10th 2010
Question: What's green and leafy, and positioned 100 feet above Kensington High Street?

Answer: Kensington Roof Gardens



Most people scurrying up and down Kensington High Street are oblivious to that fact that 100 feet above their heads is London's highest green space, and Europe's largest roof garden. You'll even find flamingos pottering about.

Landscaped between 1936 and 1938 by architect Ralph Hancock, the gardens stand atop the former Derry and Toms department store and are now owned by Richard Branson.

The Roof Gardens recently underwent extensive renovation work, reopening in April 2009. The area on the roof comprises three gardens: the Spanish Garden, the Tudor Garden and the English Woodland.

Among them you'll find an abundance of wildlife which include the aforementioned flamingos. The four birds have names, though somehow they don't quite fit with the elegance of the gardens in which they reside there's a Bill and a Ben, and a Splosh and Pecks. I mean, Splosh and Pecks.....

You can see Bill, Ben, Splosh and Pecks in the English woodland, alongside some ducks names unknown.



There are more than 100 trees on the roof, among them palm trees, as well as fountains, a pond, and streams full of fish.

And being 100 feet up, there are of course some wonderful views. Look out for the Royal Albert Hall and the London Eye, among many other London landmarks.

The gardens can be viewed by the public as long as they're not being used for a private function. You can either phone ahead (0207 937 7994) or if you're in the area, just drop by and ask at reception.
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Why? Because it's really hard to believe you're on top of a building (with flamingos).
Where: 99 Kensington High St, London W8 5SA (Entrance on Derry Street). Nearest tube station: High Street Kensington.
Cost: Free
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