Like its neighbour Kensington, Holland Park is one of London’s most prestigious addresses, with houses costing anything up to £30 million. The park itself – comprising some 54 acres – was originally the grounds to Holland House, and is now open to the public, providing one of the area’s main attractions.
As renowned for jauntily coloured terraces as it is for its imposing mansions, Holland Park is an architect’s dream. Particularly impressive is the red brick Gothic-style tower, a 19th century replica of Welsh Castell Coch that was renovated in the 1960s by Richard Harris. Meanwhile The Royal Crescent is famous for its beautiful Victorian townhouses.
For sheer splendour, The Royal Crescent and Melbury Road (of Richard Harris fame) are truly unmatchable, boasting stunning gardens and perfect tranquillity in one of London’s most busy districts. However, few could fail to be charmed by the cobbled mews’ in Addison Place and Holland Park Mews, with their colourful cottages and iron staircases.
Simon Cowell, Michael Winner and Sir Richard Branson are just a few of the famous personalities to have fallen for Holland Park’s quintessential charm and central but secluded location.
Not really a village, but not quite a city, Holland Park’s colourful marriage of open parkland, cobbled high streets, stylish boutiques and numerous restaurants represent the best of both worlds. Traditional pubs nestle alongside haute cuisine, the plush greenery of the park houses a burgeoning opera house, and the hustle and bustle of Portobello Market is mere minutes away from the tranquility of the ancient Orangery. The princely peacocks adorning the park’s grounds add the finishing touches to what is undoubtedly one of London’s most exclusive locations.
Holland Park School, London’s first ever purpose-built comprehensive, is hugely popular with local and international students alike. Nearby prep schools include Norland Place School, a coeducational independent school for boys aged 4 to 8 and girls aged 4 to 11; Tabernacle School, an independent Christian school open to children between the ages of 3 to 16 of all races and social backgrounds; and Wetherby Prep School, a small, friendly independent school for children aged from 4 to 8.
Holland Park Underground station is on the Central line, providing direct access to the West End and to the City. Notting Hill Gate, with access to the Circle and the District lines, is also within walking distance, as is Latimer Road on the Hammersmith & City line.
The area takes its name from Lord Holland who owned much of the land here in the 19th century.
Eating and drinking:
Speck – a local Italian deli selling a huge selection of fresh ingredients, speciality goods and prepared foods. Go there for their delicious snack food – including hot Spinata Calabrese salami with fresh Burrata on Pane Carasatu (a Sardinian flat bread). It’s served salted and oiled, and is absolutely delicious. 2 Holland Park Terrace, Portland Road, W11 (020 7229 7005)
Gelato Mio – they make delicious authentic ice cream on-site, and the shop is open late, which is something of a mixed blessing. 138 Holland Park Avenue, W11 (020 7727 4117; www.gelatomio.co.uk)
Snog – a tasty alternative to ice cream, this place serves great frozen yoghurt. Fat free and low in calories, it’s definitely a healthier choice. A local branch is at Westfield, which can serve as a trusty regular movie haunt. It’s convenient and kid-friendly, and the cinemas are state of the art. Ground Floor Westfield, W12 (www.ifancyasnog.com)
Ottolenghi – If you’re feeling flush, pay a visit here. Their cakes are great and they’ve got displaying food down to an art form. You’ll probably find you’ll go in for just a few things and come out with bags of the stuff. 63 Ledbury Road, W11 (020 7727 1121; www.ottolenghi.co.uk)
Halepi – When you get the chance, head to this Greek restaurant and kebab house. It’s totally unpretentious, and the food is authentic. Their lamb on the spit with fresh lemon squeezed over the top is definitely the best you’ll find in London. 18 Leinster Terrace, W2 (020 7262 1070; www.halepi.co.uk)
Prince of Wales – If you fancy taking the kids to the pub, this fine establishment has a nice and simple children’s menu, a box full of toys and a huge garden they can run around in. Prince Of Wales, 14 Princedale Road, W11 (020 7243 2463)
Themes & Variations – Take a look in this gallery that focuses on Scandinavian and Italian decorative arts and furniture. They have some great pieces, though we’re yet to buy anything… 231 Westbourne Grove, W11 (020 7727 5531; www.themesandvariations.com)