Two parks

We managed to get out a little earlier today but the local breakfast places were still closed so we went down to St Pancras, thinking we might enjoy some hot porridge at the Camden Food Co cafe. Unfortunately, it too was still closed.

The AMT cafe at St Pancras
The AMT cafe at St Pancras

Next door, the AMT cafe was open where we could buy toasted paninis and coffee. Even though it is a very small cafe, because the rooms in St Pancras are high, they have cleverly made a tiny balcony or terrace where you can sit and watch the coming and goings of the people below.

Building works at King's Cross
Building works at King’s Cross

Next door to St Pancras, King’s Cross station is being remodelled and this domed roof is being created.

As usual, Tigger had a destination in mind, and as usual, I didn’t ask but just waited to see where we would end up. Although this was not our final goal, we stopped off along the way in Kensington Gardens.

Buckhill Lodge, Kensington Gardens
Buckhill Lodge, Kensington Gardens

This pretty building, dated by the plaque above the window to 1858, is called Buckhill Lodge. I assume that it was once the park keeper’s lodge though today a notice warns that it is “private”.

Queen Anne’s Alcove
Queen Anne’s Alcove

This extraordinary structure is called Queen Anne’s Alcove. It was designed by Christopher Wren and built in 1705. The seated figure gives you an idea of the scale of the thing, surely the most ornate of London’s park benches!

The ornamental ponds were frozen over
The ornamental ponds were frozen over

The ornamental ponds were frozen over and there were notices warning that the ice was thin. The black-headed gulls were keeping busy, perhaps hoping people would have food for them, though they were still too nervous to approach very close to us.

Black-headed gull
Black-headed gull

Edward Jenner was seated deep in thought, apparently oblivious of the gull perched on his head.

Edward Jenner and companion
Edward Jenner and companion

We returned to the main road and took another bus. This one delivered us at the bottom of a steep path that leads to where we were heading.

The steep path
The steep path
(the white line divides pedestrians from cyclists)

We were on our way to Holland Park, once the grounds of a beautiful house, but now a public park, and a very fine one.

Hopeful squirrel
Hopeful squirrel

Hardly had we arrived when we met this hopeful squirrel. He came up close, obviously hoping for a handout but, unfortunately, we had nothing for him. Next time we will remember to bring some nuts.

Lord Holland
Lord Holland

A little further along, Lord Holland, at least in effigy, casts an avuncular eye upon the scene from his plinth in the pond named after him.

Holland Park Dutch Garden
Holland Park Dutch Garden

Parks and gardens are not usually at their best at this time of year but where they are well-kept, something of their charm remains, as in the Dutch Garden shown above.

The ruined house
The ruined house

There is a lot to see in Holland Park. There are several sorts of gardens and some interesting buildings. The original house, dating from the Jacobean period, was unfortunately badly damaged during WWII, and only one wing remains in use. The rest of the house presents a sad if picturesque aspect.

The Maid Sun worshipper
The Maid, Eric Gill (left) and Sun Worshipper, Jacob Epstein

One of my favourite features of Holland Park is the cafe. Well, of course! As well as providing a pleasant venue for refreshments, the cafe also displays works of art. The ones on show this time were, respectively, The Maid (also often known as The Virgin) by Eric Gill and Sun Worshipper by Jacob Epstein, both made around 1910.

Holland Park cafe terrace
Holland Park cafe terrace

The cafe’s terrace was prettily illuminated and the lights were like a beacon drawing us towards a warm cup of tea!

Garden with fountain
Garden with fountain

Holland Park is possibly my favourite park at the moment. It is seen at its best in summer when the gardens are flourishing and alive with birds and other creatures but even in winter it is worth a visit. And there is always the cafe where one can warm up after a walk in the frozen grounds!

Copyright © 2010 SilverTiger, https://tigergrowl.wordpress.com, All rights reserved.

About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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4 Responses to Two parks

  1. WOL says:

    Holland Park does look like a lovely garden. I would imagine the Dutch gardens would be a lovely place to stroll about on a warm spring’s day or a lazy summer’s afternoon. Are there places where one might picnic?

    Is the wing of the house still in use a private house or some sort of public space? Sad that it got bombed. Jacobean architecture is interesting.

    One assumes that P. Pan was not at home in Kensington Gardens, having gone to warmer climes for the winter — or perhaps he lives at Buckhill Lodge?

    Amazing that Queen Anne’s alcove has wood panelling — seems a very impractical choice given that it’s exposed to the elements.

    • SilverTiger says:

      What are today known as Kensington Gardens were originally the grounds of Kensington Palace, a royal residence. I expect Queen Anne’s Alcove dates from those times when there would have been money to maintain some follies.

      Holland Park is also an extensive area and I don’t doubt that people could find places to picnic if so minded.

      I too am intrigued by Buckhill Lodge and wonder whether it is used as a residence but have so far not managed to find out.

  2. AEJ says:

    You have shown me many wonderful homes in your blog, but Buckhill Lodge is my new favo[u]rite. Of course, with each new post I have a new favo[u]rite.

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