May 29, 2013, 5:51 am -- /EPR NETWORK/ -- Leafy London is celebrated on the weekend of Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th June with the opening of 215 private gardens all over the capital in the annual Open Garden Squares Weekend. Members of the public can visit a wide range of gardens located across 27 London boroughs – from historic, well-groomed, traditional squares in swish neighbourhoods to the new and experimental, including contemporary community allotments, roof gardens and ecology centres.
For a second year running, the manicured gardens at Number 10 Downing Street will be visited by those lucky enough to have won a special balloted tour. Other curious green-fingered guests can enjoy gardens as varied as the Thomas Cubitt-designed gardens of Belgravia's regal Eaton Square and the industrial Kings Cross Skip Garden – a movable and self-sustaining vegetable, fruit and herb garden that is thought to be the first of its kind.
There are 24 new gardens on board for 2013 including the Diversity Garden community project (featuring an edible hedge) in North Lambeth and Freighliners Farm in Islington. Also standing out on the long list are numerous gardens belonging to historical buildings, institutions, restaurants, schools and shops, including barges and prisons. With so many usually inaccessible gardens opening their gates, visitors staying at one of the many cheap hotels in London featured on the website LondonTown.com will find swathes of magical green spaces a mere stone's throw away from their accommodation.
Many of the weekend's featured gardens lay on a range of activities including jazz bands, village fetes and cream teas. Cadogan Place Gardens (SW1) will offer live entertainment from swinging 1950s band The Milkshakers while the Cadogan Hotel will be serving light lunches, afternoon tea and Pimm's. Located between Knightsbridge and Sloane Square, Cadogan Place Gardens is one of 12 gardens to be offering live music over the weekend – others include Earls Court Square, Kensington Square and Russell Square Gardens.
Over 30 gardens during the weekend will have activities for children and families – including the delightful Lexham Gardens near Gloucester Road, which will welcome back its popular clown and magician show. For grown-ups, Arlington Square in Angel hosts a pop-up gin bar with garnishes of produce grown in the square, while the Brunel Museum in Rotherhithe will serve cocktails in their roof garden on both days of the event.
Tickets for this quintessentially English affair cost just £10 if purchased in advance on the official website, opensquares.org . Guests can also buy tickets at certain gardens on either day for £12. Guided cycle rides are available with Blue Badge Guides – or visitors may prefer to make the most of the Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme. If ever there was an outdoors event that lent itself to the use of Boris Bikes, it's Open Garden Squares Weekend.
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