Find your way to Mayfair's secret gardens

Timothy Barber
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THINK of Mayfair and you probably don’t think of greenery. Sure, there’s tidy old Grosvenor Square for you to spread out in at lunchtime on a sunny day, or the island of grass at the centre of bustling Berkeley Square. There’s even Hyde Park once you take your life in your hands and fight your way across Park Lane. But other than that, Mayfair is a stone jungle – an elegant stone jungle of splendid Regency elevations, cobbled alleys and bijou shops and galleries, but a stone jungle nevertheless.

Or is it? Taking a saunter around the knot of streets making up W1, it’s hard to believe that behind some of those buildings lies a sprinkling of the finest private squares in London – a cluster of secret gardens that are pretty much unique to the West End’s most exclusive corner. And the only way to set foot in them is to move in.

“Mayfair is different to other prime central areas, where residents have key access to garden squares,” says Peter Wetherell, managing director of estate agent Wetherell. “Grosvenor and Berkeley squares are open to the public, but the area does have a few secret gardens that people don’t even know exist.”

Not that key access to garden squares is a bad thing – from Knightsbridge to Notting Hill, those able to make use of the beautiful gardens and lawns occupying our magnificent squares have the privilege of stepping out of the urban bustle into an exclusive idyll. There’s a cost though – maintenance fees can mount up, and in Mayfair’s secret gardens they can reach £1,000 per year.

But there’s an investment plus too – private access to a garden in Mayfair generally adds 7 to 10 per cent to the value of a property. And the small number of families and high number of vacant second homes makes such places real havens of tranquillity.

Four bedrooms over three floors, with access to gardens through double doors from the reception room.
Call Harrods Estates on 020 7409 9205

Three bedroom apartment on ground and lower ground floors, in Victorian townhouse opening on to Green Street gardens.
Call Wetherell on 020 7493 6935

Four bedroom family home overlooking stunning private garden in Notting Hill.
Call Knight Frank on 020 7229 0229

Grade II listed Georgian townhouse in Mayfair, with own garden and access to shared garden.
Call Wetherell on 020 7493 6935