London Visit: Lambeth Palace Gardens. The Archbishop of Canterbury opens the gardens for public viewing on the first Friday of the month from April to September. If you’re looking for places to take the kids in London or you’re a keen gardener, make sure you visit the Lambeth Palace Gardens.
Lambeth Palace and Garden
The Lambeth Palace Gardens Highlights
Lambeth Palace is a Grade I listed building and although you don’t get to see inside much of it, the Great Hall and Crypt will probably be open for viewing. The main attraction for visitors is the glorious garden which has been a private place since the 12th century. If you’ve ever wondered what lies behind the expansive boundary wall, this is your opportunity to investigate.
It’s thanks to Archbishop Welby (105th Archbishop of Canterbury) that visitors are welcome to explore this magnificent 10-acre garden. Once a month from April until September, a charity takes over a portion of the space and provides activities for the public to enjoy.
Once a formal garden with a geometric design, the late 18th century Archbishop Moore opted for a parkland style with fluid paths and contours. On entry, you are given a pamphlet which provides an overview of the garden with a map. You’ll discover that the beehives produce honey which is available to buy at the Palace Shop. The orchard contains apple, plum, cobnut and quince trees. I won’t tell you everything because that would spoil it for you, just read the pamphlet so you don’t miss out anything important.
Take time to inspect the grounds which are varied including courtyards, mounds, a terrace, and pond. You will discover an assortment of trees like the Black Walnut planted by Queen Mary and ancient White Marseille fig trees said to be planted by Cardinal Pole. From delicate flowers to the Native Hedge, this is a must-see garden for budding horticulturalists.
Statue and Cat Roaming Around
You can enter the Great Hall which houses the Library. This was started in 1610 with the book and manuscript collection from Archbishop Bancroft. There are over 120,000 books, a few of which are displayed in glass cases. The Gutenberg Bible, Lambeth Bible, and Lambeth Choir Book are part of the archive. There are plans to build a new library on the grounds and you can see these exhibited at The Great Hall.
The Crypt may also be open on your visit. This is a small, intimate chapel which is worth investigating.
Next door you will find the Palace Shop which sells that Honey I mentioned earlier.
Lambeth Palace Gardens Information
To find out more visit the Lambeth Palace Website. The address is Lambeth, London SE1 7JU. It is next to Lambeth Bridge opposite the Houses of Parliament on the South Bank of the River Thames. The nearest station is Lambeth North, Waterloo or Kennington. Visit the Palace Garden on the first Friday of the month from April until September. It only costs £5 which is very reasonable. Kids can gain entry for free. Opening times are 12-3 pm. You can buy refreshments from the charity stand and there will probably be an ice cream van on site!
Other Things To Do Near Lambeth Palace Gardens
If you have kids with you make sure you pop into the Archbishop’s Park next door. This was once part of the Palace Garden but was given to the people of Lambeth in 1901 by Archbishop Temple. This park is very child-friendly with a Zip Wire 35 meters in the air covering 225 meters.
The Garden Museum is located in the church next door to the Palace which is a must for any keen gardener. Read my Garden Museum Review to find out more. We booked a meal at the café afterwards which was excellent. Read my Garden Café At Garden Museum Review.
Just around the corner is the Florence Nightingale Museum which I enjoyed. Read my Florence Nightingale Museum Review for more information.
Author: Homegirl London. Photographs: Homegirl London. Thanks: Homeboy for visiting with me.