09 June 2014

Holland Park and the Londoners Sunny Day Phenomenon

One thing that is immediately obvious to anyone who lives in London is the Londoners sunny day phenomenon. This is characterised by women in summer dresses, men in shorts, pub gardens full of people and grassy areas covered in white bodies attempting to absorb some colour (or cancer) from the sun. For a busy, bustling city like London, there is no shortage of parks. Wherever you are, you're only a short stroll to a grassy spot whether it be park, common, heath or square.

I recently explored Holland Park and was pleasantly surprised by it. It has a mix of leafy walks, green lawns, kids play areas and formal gardens. It even has a Japanese garden with Koi pond and rocky waterfall, playing fields and a cafe.

Holland Park is spread across 54 acres of what used to be the grounds of Cope Castle, a large Jacobean mansion hidden in the woods. It was built by Sir Walter Cope in the early 17th century, who became Chancellor of the Exchequer under King James 1. It was renamed Holland House after the Earl of Holland’s wife Lady Rich inherited the property.

Holland House was badly damaged during World War II. One wing was saved and is used as a youth hostel. A remaining section of the front terrace is now used as a distinct backdrop for the park's summertime open-air theatre productions and classical concerts.

Its one of those parks that are good for walking but on a really sunny day would be a little crowded as there really isn't that much flat green space to to have a lie on, most of the grounds being leafy and wild.

I enjoyed the fact that the grounds constantly varied as I made my way through the park, there was always something new to see. A stop at the cafe was pleasant too. They do sandwiches, a hot breakfast and lunch dishes, all surprisingly good. We placed our orders, found a table outside and settled in for some people watching in the sun over some good grub.

The absolute highlight was the Kyoto Gardens. It is a small Japanese garden in the centre of the park and made me miss Japan so much! To top it off as we were leaving, we were lucky enough to be in prime position to see a truly magnificent peacock show off its feathers in a beautiful display of turquoise colour. The crowd that gathered and amount of photos taken was testament to it being the highlight for many other peoples day too.

After he'd had his fun, and practice run, the peacock meandered off to show off to a female peacock in the next garden over. I'm not sure what the mating ritual for peacocks is but I was not expecting this!

Holland Park is easily accessed from Holland Park tube station on the Central line or High Street Kensington underground station on the District line. Its a short walk from both.

Which park do you head to on a sunny day?


  1. Ha ha! That video is too cute! Your photos in this post are fantastic, Sam! Makes me want to get outside right now! I usually head outside in Kent, to walk along one of the rivers or marshes. I don't do it often enough.

    1. Isnt it? He is one cheek peacock! Thank you! But i think some credit goes to the weather for those photos. You must have some lovely walks, is there a post about them you can share?

  2. I don't think there is much better than the parks in London in the summer time... absolutely gorgeous photography as well! Love that peacock! I'm loving your blog as well! Count me in as a new follower! :)

    1. London parks sure are the places to be during summer.
      Thats very sweet of you, Im still learning about my new camera.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting Tammy!