Monday, 9 February 2015

Free Stuff To Do in Shepherd's Bush - Holland Park

Kyoto Garden at Holland Park. Photo: Wikipedia
OK, it's not in Shepherd's Bush, but Holland Park is just a short walk away and is undoubtedly one of London's loveliest parks. Formerly the seat of Lord Holland, the park boasts an opera house, a Japanese garden, tennis courts, a giant chess set,  a children's playground, a cafe, ice cream (in summer), and Peacocks.  What more could anyone want?

If you're short of time, our top tip is to take the bus on the way there - either the 94 or the 148 - and then walk back.  As you wend your way back to the Bush, take the back streets, and make sure you stroll down Holland Villas, and gaze enviously at the millionaire mansions with their forecourts packed with Bentleys and Maybachs.  See if you can actually find anyone at home - most of the villas are dark.

Our suggested route - through the back streets. Courtesy of Google Maps.

But back to Holland Park.  Part of its beauty is that it was once the playground of the Lords Holland, and despite many years under municipal control it still has the feel of a grand country estate. Like Kenwood House in Hampstead, Holland Park still feels posh.

Holland Park peacocks lend a touch of class

Holland House itself is more or less a ruin, having been extensively renovated by the Luftwaffe in WW2, and never rebuilt.  You can still feel its grandeur, but a glance at the 1892 photo below gives an idea of how much was lost in the bombing.
Holland House in 1892
Parts of what remained used to a Youth Hostel, run by the YHA, but the lease has now expired and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has yet to find a new tenant.  No longer can student backpackers stay at one of London's poshest addresses for the price of a youth hostel bed.

Formal Gardens. Photo: Wikipedia
In summer there is opera, a mini-Glyndebourne for city-dwellers, and much cheaper. You can even bring a picnic. To book tickets for the coming summer season (they sell out early), follow this link.

Lord Holland. Photo: Wikipedia

Make sure to visit Lord Holland before you go. He is perched on a large throne-like chair in the middle of a pond, and usually has a generous covering of pigeon poo in gentle mockery of his genteel legacy.

Oh, the idignity

Despite the pigeons, I think we can all be grateful for what Lord Holland left behind - one of London's most beautiful parks and a public resource for all Londoners to enjoy.


The Bush Telegraph offers a personal view on life in Shepherd's Bush. Read about the Campaign to Save Hammersmith Park, find out about our new Farmer's Market, see what's on at The Bush Theatre,  find out the latest news on the future of Shepherd's Bush Market,  and the Council's plans to upgrade the Goldhawk Road and the Uxbridge Road.  Also read about free stuff to do in The Bush. If you would like to contribute a story about our neighbourhood, email us at

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