Welcome to The Roof Gardens, one hundred feet above High Street Kensington in Central London. A grade II listed site and Europe's largest rooftop garden area of one and a half acres crowning the building which was until 1975 home of the legendary BIBA store. The Roof Gardens have been under the ownership of Richard Branson since 1981.
Masquerading as a tranquil urban oasis by day, you can almost feel the rock and roll mayhem and adventure these gardens have played host to over four decades of partying after the sun goes down. Not quite the Kensington Garden Peter Pan would have frequented. It's been quite a few years since I was last here at an after show party and I've never seen the gardens in daylight.
One floor up is the Babylon restaurant with it's fantastic outside deck providing views of London's iconic skyline. The Royal Albert Hall, Shard, Battersea power station and the London Eye all clearly visible.
The gardens are divided into a playful infusion of pure escapist styles including Moorish fantasy, Tudor formality, English woodland and Oriental romantic. The entire garden is growing unbelievably in only eighteen inches of soil including the 75 year old Oak tree that looms over the woodland garden.
The thirty five year old resident Flamingos are a hardy bunch and quite happy to spend the winter here. Bill, Ben, Slosh and Pecks are to be found greedily filtering algae in the ponds unfazed by my eager lens trying to capture their magnificent plumage.
By all means take your mother but get her out before sundown!