The Secret Garden

Words by Jessica Peace

We have a short time before the trees are starkers and it’s not totally f’ing freezing; so do like George Michael and go out outside - to Battersea Park.

Opened by Queen Vic herself in 1858 and more recently home to many a convincing ‘Made in Chelsea’ workout, the park is one of the most beautiful parks in London, especially now. Come here to experience that rare feeling, ‘space’ and watch the changing colours.

Most people miss the best part of the park but I’m feeling generous so I will tell you how to get to the ‘Old English Garden’ (think ‘Secret Garden’).

So, with your back to the river, cross over the road, in between the Budhist Pagoda – you heard right, and the Albert Bridge, you will find a small gate.

OR, on your left as you walk in between the ponds (one with lots of square cut beech trees, the other with tall white columns) and onto the path down the side of the playing field.

No worries. Many of the plants in the Old English Garden are going to seed but there are still lots blooming on.

Winter movers such as Clematis ‘Freckles’ have begun to blossom. You will have just missed the water lilies on the pond but sitting by the fountain will still let you feel like
you’re in a period drama, a good one. The garden is looked after by the charity Thrive who promote horticultural therapy, for plant hoarders they also have a small plant sale on the East Carriageway.


Some serious contenders here. Make your way to the tropical gardens to see the collection of Tree Ferns, Bananas, Staghorn Sumacs, Fatsias, Euphorbias, Abutilons... And some of the trees are huge, Conifers, Hollies, Maples, Ginkgo and Beech in all its rusty glory.

Before you go you read our guide to seed collecting... Nudge. Wink.


Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore Sculptures and The Pump House Gallery

How​ ​Much?

I feel free.

Nearest​ ​Tube/​ ​Train

Battersea Park/ Queenstown Road

Shanks’s​ ​Pony

You can walk it in about 40 minutes down the river from Westminster Bridge (Big Ben
side). If you head back in the evening you’ll see sunset over The Albert Bridge,
Chelsea Bridge and Battersea Power Station.

Follow for more info:

@thrivecharity volunteering, events etc.

@pumphousegallery what’s on at Pump House.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published