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Kensington Roof Gardens to close after more than 35 years

Kensington Roof Gardens to close after more than 35 years

  • UK
  • London venue’s owner Virgin says Grade II-listed nightclub and restaurant is struggling to make a profit.
  • www.theguardian.com
  • guardian.letters@theguardian.com

Kensington Roof Gardens, one of ­London’s best-known party venues, is to close after its owner of more than 35 years, Virgin, said a challenging market meant it had struggled to make a profit.  The gardens, now a Grade II-listed site, date back to the 1930s, but the company said yesterday: “The time has come for us to close our doors.

“In an ever-changing London market the roof gardens has stood the test of time but in the face of unpredictable market conditions and a challenge to remain profitable, we feel that the time has come for us to close our doors,” Virgin Limited Edition said.

Virgin took control of the gardens, on top of a former department store in west London, in 1981 but will not renew its lease agreement. The nightclub and restaurant has been used for events, parties, awards ceremonies, weddings and dinners. It quickly gained a reputation for celebrity parties, and guests over the years have ranged from royalty to film stars and musicians. A total of 85 staff will lose their jobs as a result of the closure, which is being linked to rising inflation and high business rates. Virgin said it was working closely with affected staff to find alternate employment within the group and the hospitality industry.  The gardens boast four flamingos, a running stream and an Iberian segment based on the Alhambra in Granada.

Virgin added: “We are certain the roof gardens will continue to be one of London’s most spectacular and extraordinary landmarks and look forward to seeing what’s next for this beautiful venue.”

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