The Open Garden Squares Weekend started in 1998 as a bid to share the love for the capital’s private garden squares. Over the years it’s grown to include all sorts of other exciting green spaces. Today it’s the London Parks & Gardens Trust’s biggest annual event, and a brilliant opportunity to discover new gardens and gain entry to beautiful spots that normally have no public access.
More than 200 gardens spanning 25 boroughs are participating this year, and entry to nearly all of them is included in your weekend ticket, though a handful require advance booking or are subject to a ballot for places.
Highbury Stadium Square is one of the latter. The former Arsenal football ground, now a two-acre garden, is opening to the public for the first time since the art-deco stadium became a swish residential development when the club moved to its new ground in 2006 (apparently one fan bought a flat on the exact spot he’d once held a season ticket).
Designed by Christopher Bradley-Hole, it’s a minimalist space with grassy areas and evergreen hedges. Lighting and water features are integrated into Perspex walls, and straight paths evoke the old chalk pitch markings.
Some of the original turf has been returned to the site and re-laid in a memorial garden dedicated to 500 Arsenal supporters whose ashes were interred in the pitch.
Entry to the ballot to visit the garden is free if you buy a weekend ticket in advance online; booking this way will also save you a couple of quid, so even if you don’t score a ticket, you’ll still be a winner. Sara O’Reilly
Open Garden Squares Weekend takes place June 14-15 but you need to enter the ballot before May 27.