Holland Park

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Holland Park W8

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Being west of Kensington Gardens, Holland Park is relatively unknown to central Londoners – which is a shame because it’s one of the London’s loveliest open spaces.

History of Holland House

Holland Park is spread around 54 acres of what used to be the grounds of Cope Castle, a large Jacobean mansion hidden in the woods. It was built for Sir Walter Cope in the early 17th-century, who rose to become Chancellor of the Exchequer under King James I. It was renamed Holland House after passing to Lady Rich, whose husband was the Earl of Holland.

Sadly, Holland House was badly damaged during the Blitz and the only parts to survive were the east wing, gateway, and an arcade in the courtyard.

Holland Park opera

The park now contains a wide variety of activities, including playgrounds, tennis courts, cricket nets and football pitches. There is also an ornamental Japanese garden, and an outdoor theatre for summer evening stage plays. There are also regular opera performances in the gardens.

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  •  Guest – “As a regular opera-goer to both covent garden and eno, I was very happy to finally see a performance worth the money I paid for it. 'paulo' (julian gavin) was uncompromising, taking risks and created real excitement especially up the top of his voice. 'giovanni' (jeffrey black) was intimate but powerful and commanded the sympathy of the audience by acting and at times singing the others off the stage. 'francesca' (sheryl barker) was sound but unconvincing and occasionally sounded pushed as the role was in all honesty, too large for her and it will be interesting to see whether she lasts the whole run. The 'maletestino' was good and was by the end, hated by the audience and received jovial 'boo-ing' (as was the intention). The orchestra and the thick textures were expertly managed by philip thomas. Finally, the production was well thought through and made relatively simple a complex story.”
  • derekm – “This is a review of the holland park opera, rather than the park itself, which is nevertheless very lovely. I have been to several productions over a number of years, and I have found that they whilst the quality is always good, it can very variable. I have been to some which seemed to be put on by very young people straight out of music school. But I have been to others which I found to be even more enjoyable than some I have seen at the royal opera house. Sometimes the outdoor theatre seems to bring an extra little something to the performance, but at other times you wish the orchestra was indoors so you could hear them better. The problem is that they are not all situated straight ahead of you, between the audience and the stage, but rather in a line that stretches out from the middle to both sides. So the sound does not seem to be all concentrated in one focused place in front of the action. You may think that because it is an outdoor venue, the sets might suffer -- but rest assur”

If you enjoy this then try: Holland House (you can walk it in less than 2 mins); Holland Park Opera (you can walk there in less than 1 min); Kensington Gardens (walk it in 22 mins or catch a train from Holland Park to Kensington Gardens); Kensington High Street (you can walk it 10 mins) and Kensington Palace (walk it in 16 mins or catch a train from Holland Park to Kensington Palace).

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