After blossom and wisteria, London moves on to the next big botanical bloom — roses. In the capital rose season normally runs from mid-May through to August, with various colours and species flowering across London. I’ve spent a lot of time outdoors over the last few years exploring the city’s green spaces and trying to locate the best rose spots in the city. To share them with you, today I bring you The smell of roses guide to the best rose gardens and other rosy spots in London.
Welcome to my guide to where to see the best roses in bloom in London! What better way to spend a day than looking at roses? Luckily the rose season is at its height right now. So let’s make a start.
List of places to see roses in London:
- Queen Mary’s Rose Garden, Regent’s Park
- Hyde Park - Rose Garden
- Kew Gardens - Rose Garden
- Holland Park - Rose Garden
- Hampton Court Palace - Rose Garden
- Ranger’s House, Greenwich Park - Rose Garden
- St Paul’s Gardens
- Notting Hill
- Mapesbury Dell - Secret Rose Garden
- Leathermarket Gardens - Rose Garden
- Morden Hall Park - THe Rose Garden
1.) Queen Mary’s Garden, Regent’s Park
My place to go when I’m in Regent’s Park is Queen Mary’s Garden, home to London’s largest collection of roses. Here you will find old fashioned scented roses, rambling roses and modern roses in borders, along trellises. Queen Mary’s Gardens was opened to the general public in 1932 and features more than 12,000 individual roses that lie in concentric circles bordered by rose-draped pergolas in a wonderful display of colour and fragrance. It’s worth visiting in late May and in June, as the peak season is fleeting.
To find a list of all roses growing in the garden, click here.
2.) The Rose Garden, Hyde Park
One of the most popular parks in London is Hyde Park. This park is big and beautiful, this rectangle of greenery is home to some of the city’s most attractive flower beds. However, since the park is so big lots of visitors miss its gem Hyde Park’s rose garden. Although its variety doesn’t compare to that of Regent’s Park, it’s hard to believe such a beautiful space can be found right in the city centre. It’s not just roses — other lovely plants are mixed in too. Throw in fountains, statues and a pergola and you’ve got a fantastic tranquil beauty, right in central London.
3.) Kew Gardens rose paradise
Kew Gardens is known as botanical heaven and has a rose named after it, so of course, it’s got plenty of roses lying around. You’ll find the main Rose Garden right behind the Palm House, the large conservatory overlooking a lake. There’s been a rose garden at Kew since the 1920s, but it’s been replanted and expanded in the last few years. So expect lots of modern David Austin roses. The gardens are also home to a rather gorgeous rose pergola that gets covered with lush rose bloom every summer which is located in the Woodland garden.
4.) Holland Park rose garden
While this rose garden is less famous compared to the above-mentioned ones you may already know about it as I already posted an article about this location – check here for more detail. Head for the Orangery right in the centre of Holland Park to hunt down its rose goodness, which you’ll find between the cafe and the stable yard. This rose garden is small, with just nine flower beds, but they’re planted with precision, each species keeping itself to itself.
5.) Hampton Court Palace
The rose garden is a fairly recent addition to the stunning Hampton Court Palace, in the past, the area was used as a kitchen garden. The beautiful scents and gorgeous colours are only enhanced by the royal backdrop. The Hampton Court gardens can be an exhausting excursion since it occupies 60 acres— but make sure the rose garden is on your route.
6.) Ranger’s House, Greenwich Park
Not only is Ranger’s House the place to Instagram famous cherry blossom it’s also an excellent spot for a bit of rose appreciation. Greenwich rose garden is located on the eastern side of the park and forms the backdrop to the Ranger’s House. The garden offering a sea of yellows, pinks, maroons and creams. Sure, it’s a bit of an uphill trek from the centre of Greenwich, but in the season there’s a satisfying symmetry about it which makes it all worth it.
The Rose Garden was originally planted in 1960-61. It was enlarged and replanted in 1993-1994 at which time it was enclosed on a yew hedge.
The beds are laid out in a semi-circular design and planted with predominantly hybrid tea and floribunda roses.
7.) St Paul’s Gardens
Take in the imposing cathedral from a bench in the surrounding gardens, which have a pretty rose garden and a range of interesting plants and trees including plane and walnut.
8.) Notting Hill
If parks are not your cup of tea you can stroll in Notting Hill and appreciate roses growing in the front gardens.
Here you will be able to find communal gardens of the Ladbroke estate as well as a small rose garden dedicated to Doris Besant MBE.
9.) Mapesbury Dell – London secret rose garden
The Dell is Northwest London’s best-kept secret. An award-winning park, it is the jewel in the heart of Mapesbury, a truly magical garden hidden behind a row of residential houses. Nestled between the houses of the Mapesbury Estate in Willesden Green, blink and you’ll miss Mapesbury Dell. Following a campaign run by local residents, it was transformed by the community from an underused green space into a park that can be enjoyed by everyone. There’s a children’s play area with a pirate ship, a pond and even the diamond jubilee rose garden! Once you have discovered it, you’ll keep coming back.
10.) Leathermarket Gardens
Laid out in the 1930s, the gardens are overlooked by flats of the same period. There is a rectangular sunken area with a formal layout of beds and a raised circular rose garden. There is also a quiet garden planted with varied trees and grasses.
11.) Morden Hall Park Rose Garden
Morden Hall Park is part of the grounds of Morden Hall. Once a deer park, the estate was owned from mid-C16th to later C19th by the Garth family, for whom the moated Morden Hall was built c.1750-65. From 1867 Gilliat Hatfeild began to purchase parts of the estate and created the park from lands surrounding the Hall. He made changes to Hall’s gardens including replacement of the boundaries to leave lawns sloping down to the moat but retained a fountain and formal walk. His son inherited the estate in 1906 and made few changes apart from planting a new rose garden. A philanthropist, he also allowed the Hall to be used as a convalescent home. In 1942 he left the park to the National Trust, which did not directly manage it until 1980. The park has survived largely intact and includes a number of historic buildings.