The Roof Gardens in Kensington has long been one of London’s most spectacular and extraordinary landmarks. Set 100ft above London, The Roof Gardens comprises three gardens spanning across 1.5 acres, a private members Club and Babylon Restaurant! The Roof Gardens is an ideal venue for every special event, from dinners to discos, weddings to business meetings and even BBQs on balmy summer nights!
Up on the 7th floor with amazing views over London's skyline and The Roof Gardens is Babylon Restaurant which offers an eclectic menu seven days a week for both lunch and dinner.
For you party goers The Roof Garden’s Private Members Club is as glamorous as it comes. Open Friday and Saturday nights between 10pm and 2am you’re guaranteed a great night out!
Meet the Roof Gardens team
Sam is responsible for the day-to-day management and operation of The Roof Gardens in Kensington, London. She is from Ayrshire in Scotland, an area famous for its golf courses. Sam has an extensive background in hotels and venues in the UK, having been deputy General Manager in a number of positions as well as GM at two venues in London prior to joining The Roof Gardens. Sam is a photographer in her spare time and has recently exhibited in London.
In 2001 Peter Avis was approached to join the opening team of Babylon Restaurant as Restaurant Supervisor. Peter became Restaurant Manager during 2006. In 2008 Babylon scooped the Best London Restaurant award at the Visit London Awards. Peter Avis has been awarded ‘2009 Restaurant Manager of the Year’ Award and the 2014 Catey Award for ‘Manager of the Year’.
Ian has been Head Chef at Babylon for 5 years. Ian’s career started at a variety of members’ clubs including the Savoy under Anton Edelmann and the Cumberland and W1 Brassiere under Gary Rhodes. Ian then went on to become the Head Chef of the Woodlands Park Hotel in Cobham, Surrey – which explains Ian’s flair for creating dishes using fresh and in-season produce. Ian’s ability for producing sustainable dishes has contributed towards Babylon achieving a three-star rating with the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) over two consecutive years, and winning ‘Most Sustainable Business’ at the 2013 SRA Awards.
The Roof Gardens in Kensington has long been one of London’s most spectacular and extraordinary landmarks. Originally above Derry and Tom's department store which opened in 1933, they were designed as an escape from London rather than a pedestal above it. The Roof Gardens were the dream child of the vice president of Barkers, Trevor Bowen, who employed landscape architect Ralph Hancock to realise his vision throughout the 1.5 acres of three themed gardens; The English Woodland Garden, The Tudor Garden and The Spanish Garden.
The building housed the department store Derry and Toms until 1973, and then became home to Biba, an iconic and popular London fashion store of the 1960s and 70s until 1975. In 1964 the original music video for Roy Orbison’s ‘Oh Pretty Woman’ was filmed in the gardens.
In 1981 a young man in jeans and scruffy shoes queued up to get into a well-known Kensington night club called Regine's, but was turned away at the door because he didn't meet the strict dress code. Undeterred, the same young man arranged a meeting with the club's owner, who admitted that it wasn't doing particularly well and offered it for sale. The individual, a still-to-be knighted Richard Branson, went on to purchase the venue, relaunched the Club as 'The Roof Gardens', and we can confirm that he hasn't been refused entry since!
Although the building and the gardens on the 6th floor were first established in the 1930s, it wasn't until 1986 that The Roof Gardens was awarded 'Grade II Star' listed status by English Heritage, marking the building as one of special architectural and historic interest. The following year in 1987, The Tudor, Spanish and English Woodland Gardens received a major facelift and didn't reopen until spring 1992.
In 2001 an additional floor was added to the Clubhouse to accommodate Babylon Restaurant which celebrated its 10th birthday in 2011.
We celebrated 75 years of The Gardens in May 2013 with a calendar of events to help mark such a momentous occasion, finishing with the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May 2014, where Ralph Hancock exhibited in 1938!
We’ve also been the proud recipients of a few awards over the years – here’s just a selection.
• ‘Best Club in Chelsea’ The Club at The Roof Gardens won the 2016 Design My Night award for Best Club in Chelsea. The award is decided on the basis of a public vote.
• ‘Most Prestigious Birthday Party Venue 2015’ for The Roof Gardens at the Prestigious Star Awards 2015
• Babylon Restaurant awarded three-star rating by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) – 2012-2015
• The SRA Sustainability Rating recognises restaurants as One, Two or Three Star Sustainability Champions depending on how they rate against a wide range of criteria covering 14 areas of sustainability and provides restaurants with a detailed assessment of their credentials across the three key areas of Sourcing, Society and Environment.
• In November 2013 The Roof Gardens won the coveted award for ‘Event Venue of the Year’ at the Eventia Awards 2013. The Eventia Awards honour outstanding business-to-business and business-to-consumer events overseas and in the UK, and is the key awards and networking night for the whole industry.
• In October 2013 The Roof Gardens won a ‘Best Employer in Hospitality’ award. Overall The Roof Gardens placed 11th in the top 50 best employers in the hospitality industry as voted for by staff members.
• Babylon Restaurant won a ‘Most Improved Sustainability’ award at the Sustainable Restaurant Association Awards 2013.
• The Roof Gardens took first prize in two categories as part of the ‘Brighter Kensington and Chelsea’ 2013 scheme: 1st prize for central public houses and restaurants and 1st prize for hotels and club gardens
• The Roof Gardens was named as the ‘COOLest’ place for Film Premiere After-Parties at the 2013 Cool Venue Awards in London
• The Roof Gardens Club team won an award for ‘Best Venue Twitter Channel’ in November 2012 at the Prestigious Star Awards 2012
• ‘The AA - Two Rosettes.’ UK 2007, 2010-2015.
• Babylon at The Roof Gardens received the prestigious award of two Rosettes by The AA in the UK. A 2 Rosettes award annually is given to ‘the best local restaurants, offering higher standards and better consistency. Greater precision is apparent in the cooking, and there is obvious attention to the quality and selection of ingredients.’
Latest from the The Roof Gardens blog
Learning for Life at BabylonThe Babylon team were delighted to recently welcome a group of students from Diageo’s Learning for Life programme to the restaurant.
Raise a glass to The Queen!Here at Babylon our bar team have created a new cocktail aptly named “God Save The Queen” a champagne celebration to match the jubilation of our Monarch’s 90th Birthday! Pop up to Babylon and enjoy sloe gin shaken with Maraschino, lemon and a fluffy egg white and topped with champagne (delicious!).
Getting to know our Head Chef Ian Howard!We caught up with Babylon’s head chef Ian Howard, to find out how he got into cooking and what new dishes we can expect throughout the summer months… When did you first realise you wanted to be a chef? I always used to enjoy cooking with my grandmother, and can remember making bread with her .