THE BEST PARK FOR SHOOTS IN LONDON
THE HIDDEN GEM: HOLLAND PARK
When I first started location scouting for my shoots in London, I was really nervous. I didn't want to just shoot at any location even if it was only for a test shoot. And I certainly did not want to see a red telephone box in any of my shots...
So, naturally, I went back to my roots and went on a hunt for parks and gardens (nature - get it? haha). Of course, the tourist-infested parks were on my list, but only at the very bottom. At the top were some private gardens of which I had no access to. But right in the middle was a gem that sparkled on my Post-It note: Holland Park.
I usually arrive at my shoot locations at least 30 minutes early to look around and to plan the flow of the shoot. Typically, I'll pick 5 locations I'll want to focus on, and snap a few photos along the way.
My hopes were high upon exiting Holland Park Station, but I didn't expect to be quite so blown away with the beauty and fantasy of the grounds. First off, Holland Park is huge and is situated in a really nice neighbourhood - you know, ones where the houses are all painted white and neatly lined up and the gates are all high and palatial. The height of the evergreen and oak trees made it feel like entering the woods. Once past the initial greenery, I was greeted by a stunning garden (called the Kyoto Garden) that had a pond, lots of Japanese shrubs and super friendly (and greedy) squirrels running around. Honestly I felt like I walked from England to Japan.
A few steps later, I walked into a rose garden filled with hues of beautiful pinks and reds. It was the most breathtaking garden I had ever seen. And to those of you who know how much I love flowers: yes, this was indeed a dream. Coursing through the bushes I was greeted by a peacock (a peacock!) and spent some time talking to him about the weather. He didn't quite want to engage in conversation as he was sunbathing, so I left him alone and continued to explore the red-bricked buildings and café adjacent to where we were. There was an area with Roman pillars, and several small ponds, as well as a few recreational spaces (that I wasn't too interested in).
Inspired and a little carried away, my phone rang at 9:35 and it was time to shoot.
Do give Holland Park a try if you're ever stuck brainstorming locations for shoots in London!