Derry & Tom’s Roof Gardens
NOTE: The roof gardens closed a few years ago. This post is now a historical adjunct to the former roof gardens.
A bus trip from Little Venice is the best way to get here. Many boaters moored at Little Venice make the mistake of getting buses from Paddington, when the best stops are in fact at the bottom of Westbourne Bridge Road just a few minutes walk away! From here the 27 bus takes one to Bayswater, Notting Hill Gate and High Street Kensington. If one’s boat is moored within the Paddington basin area it is however best to get the 27 from Praed Street or the Circle/District lines to High Street Kensington.
The Derry and Tom roof gardens as they are popularly known, are possibly the earliest such feature in the UK. They were opened in 1938 and located at the top of the Derry and Toms store.
An inconspicious entrance in Derry Street, just of High Street Kensington, leads to the roof top gardens. They are normally open to the public unless private functions are being held.
Other attractions in the area include Holland Park and Kensington Gardens/Kensington Palace. A pleasant walk back to Little Venice/Paddington can be easily undertaken by a route through Kensington Gardens (perhaps including a visit to the famous palace or the Serpentine Gallery.) Head for the Italian Gardens on the north side of the park. This leads to Lancaster Gate. Cross Bayswater and head for Sussex Street. At the roundabout here one can head for either Little Venice (via Westbourne Terrace) or Paddington Basin (via Spring Street, Praed Street and London Street.)
Early postcards featuring the roof top gardens: Above Spanish Gardens; Below Tudor Gardens
A 2012 view of the Spanish Gardens
The flamingoes are without a doubt the roof gardens’ star attraction
The tudor arches
A stream complete with overbridges runs the full length of the roof gardens
Note: Derry & Toms (or the Babylon Roof Gardens as they were known more recently) closed in 2018.
Abbey – The famous road, crossing, studios & The Beatles
Bayswater – Shops in West London a short distance from Little Venice
Camden – The Horse Market & tunnels
Crockers – The large folly pub atop Maida Hill Tunnel
Derry/Toms – Kensington’s famous 1930’s roof gardens
Edgware Rd – Watling Street: One of London’s oldest thoroughfares
Great Central – A large railway depot at Marylebone/Lisson Grove
Metesco – A little-known electricity sub-station near the canal
Nash Houses 1 – Old and modern versions alongside the canal
Nash Houses 2– North, South Bank & Park Villages
Aircraft Factory – The unique Spitfire buildings in W2
St. Pancras – London’s International Rail Terminus