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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.
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.
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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