Spring is upon us and that means finding more things to do that require outdoor activity. With the flowers beginning to bloom and many people flocking to the popular parks around London you may find it hard to find somewhere to bathe in that much needed sunlight. The Privy Gardens of Whitehall in Westminster may be the spot for you. Located in walking distance from several iconic London hot spots, the Whitehall Gardens are a great place to stop by on your way to somewhere else. Everybpdy needs a place to relax, an oasis away from the city yet close by, and the Whitehall Gardens are exactly that, especially with its beautiful trees and shrubbery that have just as much history to them, as the sculptures within the garden and the surrounding area. If you’re a guest at the Shaftesbury Premier London Paddington and passing through the area, this may be a great stop off point to enjoy the calming scenery rarely found in a busy city like London.
The Old Garden
On the site where the new garden now stands there was originally a former “Privy Pleasure Garden” dating back to the 1400’s which was used by the Monarchs and aristocracy of England. Based in the Whitehall meant that it was very close to the Palace of Whitehall, the main residence of the royal family until its destruction in a fire in 1698. Tudor and Stuart Monarchs would frequent this area until its demise in the aforementioned fire. This original garden was created as part of York Place, the famous Cardinal Wolsey’s place of residence. Henry VIII converted the already existing Orchard into a larger garden, complete with a sun dial and artistically planted trees and plants.
The remnants of the last garden have changed dramatically over the years, becoming neglected and dirty in the 1700’s before the grounds wer eleased to the Duke of Richmond and Montagu in the late 18th century. Eventually, the garden was eventually built over for the Ministry of Defence in the 1930’s but a new garden on the grounds was created as townhouses begun to crop up, dating back to 1864. These were designed by George Vulliamy as gardens for the surrounding houses. Benjamin Disraeli was one notable residence of this square and would have enjoyed the gardens outside his house between 1873 and 1875.
George Vulliamy’s garden incorporates many beautiful types of Plant life. His garden is filled with many types of greenery including beautiful London Plane Trees, Lime Trees and trees of heaven. Trees of heaven are also known as an Ailanthus altissima and is Chinese origin. The tree is also frequently mentioned within places such as East Anglia and as far as Taiwan. These trees of heaven create vast spaces of shade and vivid greenery within the garden. It is no wonder that Whitehall Garden has become a Site of Importance for Natural Conservation in the eyes of the government due to its contribution in central London to wildlife, especially in such a built up area.
What to see and do
The garden is very close to iconic London landmarks such as Trafalgar Square and has within it several sculptures dedicated to the likes of William Tyndale, a leading figure in the Protestant reform of the middle ages. Another memorial statue has been introduced for Sir Henry Bartle Frere who was a colony commissioner and played a hand iin several wars that broke out in Afghanistan and Southern Africa during his time as the commissioner of Southern Africa. His conduct during such rulings had him recalled back to England where he died before he could attend hearings about his wrongdoings.