The Roof Gardens are spectacular and best of all, they're open to the public to visit free of charge. The Roof Gardens were the dream of Trevor Bowen, the vice president of John Barker & Co. In 1936 he employed landscape architect Ralph Hancock to realise his vision. The gardens took two years to build at a cost of £25,000 and opened to the public in May 1938.
A shilling was charged for entry which raised over £120,000 for local charities over 30 years. The depth of the soil is 18-inches with drainage made of bricks and clinker over a waterproof membrane. Ralph Hancock brought in over 500 species of plants and shrubs and even imported rock from Pennsylvania for his alpine planting!
There are seven trees which remain from this original planting and the gardens have been acknowledged as a place of ‘Specific Historical Interest’ and given a Grade II listing by English Heritage.
The gardens are often hired for private events it's strongly recommended you phone ahead to make sure they're open otherwise you could be gate-crashing someone's wedding! When visiting the gardens you will be asked to add your name to the visitor log and photo ID will be required. If the gardens are in use you can always book a table in Babylon Restaurant for a bird’s eye view of the English Woodland Garden, or pop in for a cocktail on the terrace.