This year the London Open Squares Weekend - organised in partnership with the National Trust - will be held over the weekend of the 13th and 14th of June.
Spanning 27 boroughs and inviting visitors to discover over 200 gardens across the capital that are not normally open for public viewing, the gates will swing open to some of London’s prettiest squares, terraces, allotments and the gardens of historic sites, businesses, schools, burial grounds. There will even be a chance to peer behind the walls of the secretive No. 10 Downing Street, though only 40 people will be granted access to the PM’s personal backyard, and you’ll need to enter a special ballot in order to be in with a chance.
There are certain other venues that will require booking onto a free tour, so make sure to reserve these in advance to avoid disappointment with venues such as the former home of Arsenal football team, Highbury Stadium Square, as well as The River Café and the Barbican Station Pop-Up Garden. Classic highlights include the roof garden at the Nomura International Building, which affords glorious views across the City, and the garden barges that bob and float up and down the Thames. Other popular stop-offs include Eton, Fitzroy and Mecklenburgh. Food and drinks stalls will be running through the routes over the course of the weekend, as well as a number of plant sales, open-air concerts, wine tasting sessions, exhibitions and pop-up events.
All you need to do to take advantage of this unique weekend is purchase one ticket per person, which is then valid for the whole of the next two days. Walking or cycling tours between the venues will allow you to see as many as possible, perhaps make a new friend or two and you’ll learn all about the secrets these particular gardens hold. In some cases you’ll have the chance to chat to the gardeners who ensure their terrain is kept pristine and eye-catching, innovative or in line with tradition. The Poetry School in particular will be benefitting from this, with a roster of writers and poets-in-residence taking the opportunity to draw inspiration from these secluded environments.
Make sure you take in the flora and fauna to be found flourishing in the city’s secret wilderness, and book your Amba Hotel Charing Cross now to ensure you’re in the centre of everything and within easy access of all these hidden treasures.