|PostCode District||W8, W11, W14|
|Borough||Kensington & Chelsea|
|OS Grid Reference||TQ246798|
Holland Park is a district and a public park in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, in west central London in England. Holland Park is widely regarded as one of the most romantic parks in London, due to its abundant wildlife and secluded hideaways.
Holland Park has a reputation as an affluent and fashionable area, known for attractive terraces of large Victorian townhouses, and high-class shopping and restaurants. There are many popular shopping destinations located around Holland Park such as High Street Kensington, Notting Hill, Holland Park Avenue, Portobello Market, Westbourne Grove, Clarendon Cross, and Ledbury Road.
There are no official boundaries, but they are roughly Kensington High Street to the south, Holland Road to the west, Holland Park Avenue to the north and Kensington Church Street to the east.
The northern half or so of the park is semi-wild woodland, the central section around the ruins of Holland House is more formal with several garden areas, and the southernmost section is used for sport. Holland House is now a fragmentary ruin, but a substantial part of its grounds were preserved from development and taken over by the local council. 'Holland Park' contains a famous Orangery, a cricket pitch, tennis courts, a Japanese garden, a Youth Hostel, one of London's best equipped children's playgrounds, squirrels and (impressively for a London park) peacocks. Today the remains of the house form a backdrop for the open air Holland Park Theatre, which is the home of Opera Holland Park. The green-roofed Commonwealth Institute lies to the south.
History[edit | edit source]
The district was rural until the 19th century. Most of it was formerly the grounds of a Jacobean mansion called Holland House. In the later decades of that century the owners of the house sold off the more outlying parts of its grounds for residential development, and the district which evolved took its name from the house. It also included some small areas around the fringes which had never been part of the grounds of Holland House, notably the Phillimore Estate (there are at least four roads with the word Phillimore in their name) and the Campden Hill Square area. In the late 19th century a number of notable artists (including Frederic Leighton, P.R.A. and Val Prinsep) and art collectors lived in the area. The group were collectively known as "The Holland Park Circle". Holland Park was in most part very comfortably upper middle class when originally developed and in recent decades has gone further upmarket.
Of the 19th century residential developments of the area one of the most architecturally interesting is The Royal Crescent designed in 1839. Clearly inspired by its older namesake in Bath, it differs from the Bath crescent in that it is not a true crescent at all but two quadrant terraces each terminated by a circular bow in the Regency style which rises as a tower, a feature which would not have been found in the earlier classically inspired architecture of the 18th century which the design of the crescent seeks to emulate. The plan or the Royal crescent was the design of the planner Robert Cantwell, and it was the need for the newly fashionable underground sewers which caused the "crescent to be designed in two halves rather than any consideration for architectural aesthetics.
The stucco fronted "crescent" is painted white, in the style of the many Nash terraces which can be elsewhere in London's smarter residential areas. Today many of these four storey houses have been converted to apartments, a few remain as private houses. The Royal crescent is a listed Grade 2.
Holland Park is now one of the most expensive residential districts in London or anywhere in the world, with large houses regularly listed for sale at well over ten million pounds sterling. A number of countries maintain embassies here.
In Popular Culture[edit | edit source]
The BBC sitcom As Time Goes By is primarily set in Holland Park.
Edina Monsoon's house on Absolutely Fabulous is in Holland Park, and she is eager to disavow people's assumptions it is located in Shepherds Bush.
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