Holland Park overview
What’s it all about?
Sandwiched between bustling Kensington High Street, Brook Green and tourist heavy Notting Hill and Portobello Road, Holland Park is both laid back and buzzy. Residential blocks of celebrity stuffed mansions surround the communal gardens that inspired Richard Curtis’ film Notting Hill. This leafy neighbourhood has a historic green space at its heart. The park itself symbolises the epitome of West London living, where acres of lush green space meets the best of London’s cultural scene in the form of the open air opera house and theatre. In addition to the area’s scenic landscape, its hip boutiques and restaurants, international schools and high end property market have lured a global crowd, further adding to its cosmopolitan mystique. These international residents tend to hail from a variety of professions, but Holland Park has always been a hotspot for those in the arts and entertainment industries and has been home to a number of film and TV executives. This might go some way to explain the prominence of Holland Park in popular TV shows including Absolutely Fabulous and As Time Goes By, in both of which lead characters have homes in Holland Park.
- The deepest point on the Central Line is between Notting Hill Gate and Holland Park stations.
- The first ever dahlias grown in England were planted in the gardens of Holland House by Lady Holland in the early 19th century.
- Holland Park Avenue was once a highway through London. It is one of the city’s oldest thoroughfares and was known as a particularly dangerous road for robberies.
Architecture and property
Holland Park is named after Holland House, a Jacobean mansion once the headquarters of the Whig party. The house was bombed in 1940, and the parts that remain are the backdrop for the Holland Park Theatre, the home of Opera Holland Park. Surrounding buildings weren’t affected and streets of huge period homes still surround the park. Some particularly beautiful five, six and seven bedroom detached homes can be found on Abbotsbury Road and Addison Road. As the name suggests, Holland Villas Road is home to some of West London’s largest villas. Particularly desirable for young professional couples or small families are the homes on Holland Park’s mews streets, such as Royal Crescent Mews and Holland Park Mews. Lansdowne House is a higgledy piggledy residence on Lansdowne Road.
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Eating and drinking: The main artery of the area is Holland Park Avenue, where there's a handful of busy coffee houses. Julie’s Restaurant & Champagne Bar has been quenching the thirst of trendy Londoners for over 40 years and a glass of bubbly in its decadent, moody interior is an experience not to be missed. The food is excellent too – expect grilled sardines with rock salt and orange oil, lobster risotto and crispy skin chicken with shaved truffles. One of Holland Park’s most opulent restaurants is The Belvedere, a one time ballroom located in the middle of the park. Residents come here on special occasions to enjoy the great food and elegant surroundings. The Academy and the tucked away Ladbroke Arms are also excellent dining spots, each offering al fresco seating and delicious plates of food. The Castle serves excellent bloody Marys.
Shopping: The semi pedestrianised Clarendon Cross is a cluster of boutique shops peddling the kinds of specialist luxury goods only found in Kensington. It’s impossible to walk past Harper and Tom’s flower shop without quite literally stopping to smell the roses – their pots of beautiful blooms spill out of the shop and onto the street, brightening up any morning commute. Londoners travel from all over the city to rifle through the vintage wares at Virginia on Portland Road, while any Holland Park local worth their salt knows that the only place to go for kitchenware is Summerill & Bishop.
- The main artery of the area is Holland Park Avenue, along which you’ll find a handful of coffee houses and Daunt Books.
- Don’t miss the sausage rolls at Lidgate’s butchers, where Holland Park locals pick up fresh meat and poultry. Then head to Jeroboams deli, a haven of stinky cheese and olives the size of ping pong balls. There's a Tesco Express by the station.
- Michanicou Bros on Clarendon Road is a greengrocer like no other, where piles of cascading exotic fruits fill the shop with delicious smells all year round.
- Westfield shopping centre, with over 350 stores is just down the road on Ariel Way.
- There are plenty of parks and outdoor playing fields for locals to exercise in as well as several good gyms in the area. GymClass on Holland Park Avenue is a local favourite for its small class sizes.
- When the chaos of the city gets too much, head to one of Holland Park’s beautifully decorated spas like Cowshed and treat yourself to a calming massage.
- Locals love Holland Park’s thriving afternoon cafe culture and in summer friends flock to Holland Park Avenue where they can enjoy outdoor tables, artisan espressos and unparalleled people watching.
Gone are the days when Holland Park was home to a medley of exotic birds including emus, peacocks and cranes – wildlife spotting today tends to be restricted to well heeled locals walking their dogs. However, the park is still a haven for animal life and now boasts a great Ecology Centre. Wind your way through the maze like woods flecked with Japanese gardens, modern sculptures and tennis courts to the open air opera house and enjoy one of their summer productions. To really get away from the busy West London streets, make for nearby Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, where locals can take boats out on the Serpentine and ogle the beautiful ornamental gardens.
There are several new developments either underway or recently completed in Holland Park. The 41 apartments in 205 Holland Park Avenue sold out rapidly, evidence of the area’s thriving property market. The three new apartment buildings at Holland Green boast an ideal location, sandwiched between Holland Park and Edwardes Square.
Tube: Situated on the Central Line in Zone 2, Holland Park station facilitates quick travel across London. Locals can be at the heart of the Capital in a quarter of an hour, and it’s 17 minutes to Bank. Notting Hill Gate, Shepherds Bush and Shepherds Bush Market underground stations are also located close by.
Bus: Local bus routes serve Camden Town (31), Piccadilly Circus (94), White City (148), Maida Hill (228), Clapham Junction (295) and Cricklewood (316). The 94, 148 and 295 are 24 hour services, and there is also the N207 night bus to Holborn.
Road: Holland Park is situated between the A4 and the Westway, so locals have their pick of routes heading out of London. From the A4, the M4 provides easy access to the M25 and the West of England.
Cycle: There are several Boris bike docking stations around Holland Park station, so locals don’t even need to have their own bike to enjoy the picturesque 25 minute cycle through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park to reach Oxford Circus.
Holland Park is home to some of West London’s best schools as well as several international schools. For primary education, Fox Primary School and St Clement and St James CE Primary School are popular options, as is Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School for older children. Holland Park School recently underwent a huge renovation project and now boasts an impressive glass walled library and a 25m swimming pool. The Southbank International School and Italian La Scuola Italiana a Londra are two possible options for Holland Park’s international residents.
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