LONDON - Leighton House Museum - Kensington Gardens

Notting Hill London

Holland Park -
Located on the edge of Holland Park in Kensington, the house is one of the most remarkable buildings of the 19th century.
The house was the former home and studio of the leading Victorian artist, Frederic, Lord Leighton (1830-1896). Built to designs by George Aitchison, it was extended and embellished over a period of 30 years to create a private palace of art.
The Arab Hall is the centerpiece of the house. Designed to display Leighton's priceless collection of over a thousand Islamic tiles, mostly brought back from Damascus in Syria, the interior evokes a compelling vision of the Orient.
The opulence continues through the other richly decorated interiors, with gilded ceilings and walls lined with peacock blue tiles by the ceramic artist William De Morgan. On the first floor is Leighton's grand painting studio with its great north window, dome and apse.
Kensington Gardens -
William III bought what was originally part of Hyde Park in 1689.
An asthma sufferer, the king found the location quiet and the air salubrious and so he commissioned Sir Christopher Wren to design the redbrick building that is Kensington Palace. Queen Anne enlarged the Palace Gardens by 'transferring' 30 acres from Hyde Park and was responsible for the creation of the Orangery in 1704.
The Gardens are particularly popular for sunbathing and picnics in fine weather. It is also popular as a healthy walking route to work for commuters. The paths are used extensively by joggers and runners. Cycling is allowed on the designated path linking the Queen's Gate to West Carriage Drive, Mount Gate to the Broadwalk and the Broadwalk itself from Black Lion Gate to Palace Gate.
Informal games do take place in the Gardens but are discouraged in view of the importance of the historic landscape and the desire to maintain their primary role as a peaceful refuge for people living, working or visiting Central London.
(c) Chavanitas & Aisha Al Saif