A Secret Garden in Kensington

In the middle of busy Kensington is a little oasis – a tree-filled private garden. Mummy likes going there for some quiet time, to think about things to pause from rushing through the day. And of course, she prefers our company than not.But this garden is in the back of a local hotel – Number Sixteen, which has a discreet facade, as part of a row of Victorian stucco townhouses on Sumner Place. But once inside, the whole ambiance changes.
IMG_5354Number Sixteen is one of the Firmdale Hotels and we’ve been to two others (The Soho Hotel and Hem Yard Village) and we always find their interiors invigorating – colourful and different.  Mummy loves looking at them.

Most of their hotels are dog-friendly but always “under the discretion of management” – size of dog is one criteria and it depends on time of stay.  And that applies to their restaurant at Number Sixteen.

We are not allowed inside the restaurant itself but because they have a garden in the back, that’s where we sit and on a nice day, that’s where Mummy likes to go for lunch or a cup of tea.  And their staff – super dog friendly!IMG_5311 They always ask first if we needed water. And when it is warm enough to sit outside, we usually do.IMG_5312At the far end of the garden where we usually sit – we take shelter in the cabanaIMG_5017 From there we look at the calming water feature in front of us and the restaurant at the other end of the garden.IMG_4999George is always curious about the fishes 
But also wary of themIMG_5007He’s also wary of sitting on strange surfaces – look at that little face!!!!
IMG_5001Come on, Georgie, be lion-hearted!IMG_5027And sometimes when it gets too busy at the dog-friendly end of the garden, we are given a table closer to the restaurant
IMG_5346And look at the view from there.IMG_5339And of course we have Afternoon Tea thereIMG_5343And because it is after all Afternoon Tea, Mummy shared a teensy-weesny bit of scones with me.

Mummy loves noticing all the little details of the place – she thought the mosaic stones was a good background for my photo.IMG_5350 And admiring the lovely iron works on a stair case – no we couldn’t go upstairs but just for a photo op.IMG_5352 And this is the lobby of the hotel.IMG_5357Kit Kemp is the interior designer –  IMG_5355and we have her books too!IMG_5356And she had these toys made out recycled fabrics used in the decor – there’s Willow Bear, Minnie Rabbit (sold out) and Tiffany Pooch (that came home with us!) IMG_5031All made in the UK and each one is different.

May’s comment:  Number Sixteen – one of the Firmdale Hotels, occupying a Victorian white stucco townhouse in the heart of South Kensington, London, with its own tree-filled private garden. IMG_5328Always been one of my favourite hotels in London, because it feels like someone’s home.  Since I now live in London, there’s no need to stay there but we now have a different reason to be there – for some quiet time. One day walking past, I thought to stop and ask if me and my dogs could have a cup of tea in their conservatory. “Only in the garden and only if the dogs are on a leash and well-behaved.” It was a beautiful summer’s day and we didn’t mind sitting in the garden – a little oasis in very busy South Kensington. Good for lunch and afternoon tea. 16 Sumner Place, London SW7 3EG

Number Sixteen has been added to our List of places to Wine and Dine in London with your dogs


  1. Sian Widner

    Such good pictures! Looks like fun!

  2. Elizabeth Burman

    Looks like a lovely place to wile away some time. Have to laugh at poor little Georgies face, he really wasn’t sure whether he liked the seating arrangement.

  3. Judith Vogel

    What a jewel of a place you’ve discovered! Your photographs are excellent as well as the commentary,
    I enlarged George’s face (following your suggestion) his expression is priceless.
    You absolutely have a very special ability to draw your viewers into the experience with you. Now I feel very refreshed as I too joined you in spirit.
    Physically I’m on a bus #2 Fifth Avenue heading downtown from Columbia Pres Hospital where I’m volunteering on Thursdays in the Developmental Neuroscience Center.
    With love to you May and lots of hugs and tickles to Darcy and Georgie!

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