The Garden Guide

Royal Hospital and Ranelagh Gardens

Chelsea's Royal Hospital was established  by King Charles II in 1681, as a retirement home for old soldiers.Sir Christopher Wren  designed the buildings (completed in 1692).  The architectural style is variously classified as Palladian, Renaissance and Baroque.  The square courtyard has a classic renaissance form. Its layout with gravel walk, lawns and statues is English.

The land to the east of the Royal Hospital was the site of the famous Ranelagh Pleasure Ground in the eighteenth century. It was re-designed by John Gibson in the nineteenth century and is now a green retreat with shady walks, beside the site of the annual Chelsea Flower Show.

The Royal Hospital Chelsea is on the London Gardens Walk and included in the eBook guide to the London Gardens Walk

View from the renaissance courtyard of the Royal Hospital to the wood park which is Ranelagh Gardens

Kip drawing of the Royal Hospital in Chelsea, looking towards the River Thames. The layout of the buildings is unchanged. The site of the Chelsea Flower show is in light green and the site of Ranelagh gardens is in a darker green

Ranelagh Gardens in the eighteenth century

Chelsea Pensioner Ranelagh Gardens

Ranelagh Gardens in Winter

Royal Hospital Road, London, Greater London, England, SW3 4SR

All year. Daily (except 25th December and Chelsea Flower Show). Monday to Saturday 10am to sunset., Sunday 2pm to sunset.

Entrance free

Visit the Royal Hospital and Ranelagh Gardens website

Nearby gardens

Nearby hotels

Nearby nurseries

Designers and Influences