Happiness is well-tilled soil, abundant sunshine, and a garden full of beautiful flowers just bursting into bloom. Or, if you live in London, a flat full of houseplants to compensate for the distinct lack of the above. Either way, greenery that’s good for the soul can be found all over town, as London is blessed with an array of magnificent garden centres. Here are some of our favourites, for a sunny stroll amongst the blooms.
1. Petersham Nurseries, Richmond
Part garden centre, part Instagram magnet, the endlessly charming Petersham Nurseries simply demands a visit. Perched on a lazy bend of the Thames just outside of Richmond, this upmarket garden centre stocks a range of high-quality plants with an undeniable flair. There are greenhouses here in which I’ve wanted to buy absolutely everything in sight, from hanging plants to ornate grandfather clocks, and it’s no surprise that Petersham Nurseries has blessed many a social media feed. The food menu at the garden centre’s cafe and restaurant, meanwhile, would be the envy of many an eatery across town. Read all about it here.
📍 Petersham Road, Church Lane, TW10 7AB.
🚇 Nearest station is Richmond.
2. W6 Garden Centre and Cafe, Hammersmith
Tucked away on the fringe of Ravenscourt Park, and partly hiding in the railway arches of the Underground line, sits W6. A sprawling courtyard full of shrubs, trees, bushes, and flowering plants is idyllic for a summer wander, whilst a dedicated green room and house plant section will prove a mighty temptation to all. Overcoming one’s urge to buy armfuls of stylish plant pots is a hard-fought battle on a visit here.
📍 17 Ravenscourt Avenue, W6 0SL.
🚇 Nearest station is Ravenscourt Park Station.
3. Camden Garden Centre, Camden
The site of many a lunchtime wander for the folks of Secret London HQ (before we sadly moved offices away from Camden), Camden Garden Centre is a verdant oasis in the heart of North London. There’s a massive range of house plants in all shapes and sizes, and the place has been named both Urban Garden Centre of the Year and UK Garden Centre of the Year in the past. Better still, it’s a vital community space, having been founded in 1983 to tackle youth unemployment in the area as one of the first social enterprises in the UK. To this day they offer employment, training, and educational opportunities, with over 300 trainees having earned their stripes here.
📍 2 Barker Drive, NW1 0JW.
🚇 Nearest station is Camden Road.
4. Rassell’s of Kensington, Kensington
Amongst all our London garden centres, Rassell’s is one of the most historic. Having stood since 1897, it remains a favourite for freshly-cut flowers – and their seasonal window displays are a big draw too. The real treat, however, is the hidden courtyard through the back of the shop, where greenery looms from every angle.
📍 78-80 Earls Court Road, W8 6EQ.
🚇 Nearest station is High Street Kensington.
5. Alleyn Park Garden Centre, West Dulwich
Dreamy Dulwich is worth the day trip any day of the week, but in Alleyn Park Garden Centre, they’ve got an absolute winner. Here you’ll find trays and planters overflowing with gorgeous flowers, changing accordingly with the seasons. And if you foolishly think for a second that your money isn’t in danger here, just have a look at their gorgeous pots. I want them all!
📍 77 Park Hall Road, SE21 8ES.
🚇 Nearest station is West Dulwich.
6. Boma Garden Centre, Kentish Town
Boma Garden Centre is another of London’s garden centres which marries Instagram-ready aesthetics with bountiful plant life. And they’ve got a friendly cat mascot too, Bluebell. The staff here know plants and are brilliant at intuiting what the casual gardener wants, so listen carefully. Boma also offers a garden maintenance service for those who want beautiful gardens but don’t trust themselves to get it right. As an added boon, they’re dog-friendly, too!
📍 51 – 53 Islip Street, NW5 2DL.
🚇 Nearest station is Kentish Town.
7. Alexandra Nurseries, Penge
Penge is one of the lesser-spotted neighbourhoods on Secret London, but here’s one wonderful reason to make the journey down there. Alexandra Nurseries is an utter gem, with a strong commitment to a low-impact lifestyle and buying and selling only what’s needed. The garden centre stocks creations from a range of independent crafters and suppliers – along with an enviable range of plants – and the on-site coffee shop is a delicious bonus.
📍 Parish Lane, SE20 7LJ.
🚇 Nearest station is Penge West.
8. The Palace Gardener, Fulham
Garden trends come and go, but you can be sure that swish West London spot The Palace Gardener will be right on top of them. An upmarket spot in the grounds of Fulham Palace, The Palace Gardener’s charming glasshouses are filled with arbours, patio furniture, planters, and more – in short, everything to make a garden fit for royalty!
📍 Bishop’s Avenue, SW6 6EE.
🚇 Nearest stations are Pasons Green or Putney Bridge.
9. Clifton Nurseries, Little Venice
We’re big fans of Little Venice here at Secret London, and this garden centre makes an argument for anyone to fall in love with the area. Clifton Nurseries is both the oldest garden centre in London (open since 1851!) and one of the prettiest. Exotic plants fill the picturesque glasshouse, and statues, ornaments, and accessories lurk around every corner. Under sunny London skies, there are few better places to be, particularly with Regent’s Canal a stone’s throw away. And the on-site cafe is simply delightful.
📍 5A Clifton Villas, W9 2PH.
🚇 Nearest station is Warwick Avenue.
10. N1 Garden Centre, Dalston
A sister site to Hammersmith’s W6, N1’s proximity to Dalston Junction station makes it dangerously easy to lug oversized plants back home. Set amongst the buzzing lifestyle of Dalston, the potent combination of cacti and hardwood floors means the crowd here trends towards the younger and snap-happy side of the spectrum. But those lucky enough to have gardens will find everything they need here too.
📍 25A Englefield Road, N1 4EU.
🚇 Nearest station is Dalston Junction.
11. Battersea Flower Station, Battersea
Honestly, even if this place sold the muckiest flowers in town, we’d include anyway solely on the power of that name. Fortunately, Battersea Flower Station is actually a gorgeous site selling a great variety of, you guessed it, flowers as well as plenty of gardening bits and bobs. Making excellent use of a tiny strip of land alongside the Overground tracks, Battersea Flower Station was once the stables for the horses of Battersea Park, but since 2012 has had a new life as one of London’s loveliest garden centres. On a summer’s day, a glorious, hypnotic explosion of colour awaits you here.
📍 320 Battersea Park Road, SW11 3BX.
🚇 Nearest station is Clapham Junction.
12. Wheelers Garden Centre, Chiswick
Small but perfectly formed, Wheelers Garden Centre is a family-run spot with a delightful penchant for garden ornaments. Baskets, ladders, sculptures, mirrors, fountains, and more will help take your humble plot to new levels of style, and their flower workshop is another excellent string to their bow. Find it directly next to Turnham Green station.
📍 Cato’s Yard, Turnham Green Terrace, W4 1LR.
🚇 Nearest station is Turnham Green.
13. The Nunhead Gardener, Nunhead
All of these London garden centres are gorgeous, but even so, The Nunhead Gardener stands out as perhaps the most spectacular one in town. Hiding in the railway arches beneath Nunhead station, the brick walls are festooned with all manner of houseplants, pots, and homeware, with the outdoor courtyard the place to pick up climbing and bedding plants, along with grasses, shrubs, and ferns. Simply a must-visit. You can also pick up plants and wares from them at their smaller retail branches in Camberwell, Mayfair, and Elephant Park.
📍 1a Oakdale Road, SE15 3BW.
🚇 Nearest station is Nunhead.
14. Conservatory Archives, multiple locations
A mini-chain of plant shops with locations in Clapton, Hackney, and Islington, Conservatory Archives specializes in indoor plants rather than those for the garden. You can hardly see the walls for all the plants inside, and whilst it must be a nightmare watering them all, the effect certainly is impressive. It’s always a delight to pop into a Conservatory Archives store and wander briefly through the tiny amount of space in between what must be hundreds of plants.
📍 Find your nearest location on their website.
15. Neal’s Nurseries, Wandsworth
Part of the Capital Gardens chain, Neal’s Nurseries is – in their own words – “the largest plant centre within Central London”. We might argue against the ‘central’ part of that sentence, but the place sure is ferociously well-stocked. You can grab everything from pots to barbecues, from seeds to garden furniture, and more, on a spot which has hosted a nursery garden since 1850.
📍 Heathfield Road, SW18 3HR.
🚇 Nearest station is Wandsworth Common.
16. Sunshine Garden Centre, Bounds Green
Life without plants is like a day without sunshine, but at Sunshine Garden Centre, you’ll get a restorative blast of both. Another multiple award-winning garden centre – including the crown of the UK’s Best Independent Garden Centre – Sunshine Garden Centre is renowned for top-notch customer service. Having nearly three acres of plant-filled space probably doesn’t hurt either…
📍 Durnsford Road, N11 2EL.
🚇 Nearest station is Bounds Green.
17. The Chelsea Gardener, Chelsea
The famed garden centre from which The Palace Gardener grew, The Chelsea Gardener has been a verdant paradise since 1984. If manicured lawns, artfully planted fruit trees, and neatly trimmed hedges are your idea of bucolic perfection, then the good folks here will be able to point you towards a dream garden layout. You can also hire the space out for events, including a gorgeous Orangery that’s ideal for intimate receptions. But first, coffee and cake in the cafe!
📍 125 Sydney Street, SW3 6NR.
🚇 Nearest station is Sloane Square.
So there you have it, a list of places to hit up across your next few lazy afternoons. Whether you’re just browsing, want to grab some aesthetic pictures, or need to buy ALL the plants, you’re sure to be sorted now.
Also published on Medium.