The Roof Gardens

London

About us

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 3am you’re guaranteed a great night out!

Meet the Roof Gardens team


Sam Wilson

General Manager

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.


Peter Avis

Restaurant Manager

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 Howard

Head Chef

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.


David Lewis

Head Gardener

David Lewis has been Head Gardener at The Roof Gardens for six years and during his time has been involved in many exciting projects such as replanting all three gardens; English Woodland, Tudor Garden and Spanish Garden, as well as designing our commemorative 75th Anniversary Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2014. David and his team restored and renovated the Gardens as part of a major refurbishment project which has been the only planned renovation of the Gardens since they were originally designed and built in the 1930s.

David has become the unofficial Historian for the Gardens and hosts a regular Gardening Club designed to unite urban gardening enthusiasts in a social setting and provide an informative insight into the history of the Gardens, hot gardening topics and seasonal subjects. Along with the Head Chef, David is responsible for implementing the sustainability plan across the whole business, ensuring all teams are aware of their impact on sustainability. David and his team also grow a variety of produce for the chefs to use such as fresh herbs, olives and fruit.

Our History

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 www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVSoS3ZRfI8

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!

Awards

We’ve also been the proud recipients of a few awards over the years – here’s just a selection.

  • Babylon Restaurant awarded three-star rating by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) – 2012, 2013
    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. Babylon’s Head Chef, Ian Howard, commented: “We are absolutely thrilled to have been awarded ‘Most Improved Sustainability’ by such a prestigious organisation as the Sustainable Restaurant Association. This reinforces the importance of being sustainably aware and ensuring these practices are measurable; which we work hard at Babylon to put into place along with our local community engagement programme.”

  • The Roof Gardens won ‘Best Club’ at the Best Bar None Awards 2013. The awards recognise licensees who demonstrate excellent management standards.

  • 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

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