Carlton House, the London residence of the Prince Regent, was built (at great expense) on part of the site of the former royal garden of St James’s Palace and remodelled in 1813 by the Regency architect John Nash.
After becoming George IV, the Prince Regent lost interest in the house and it was demolished in 1827. Nash replaced it with Carlton House Terrace (1827–32) and Carlton Gardens (1830–33), houses for ‘persons of the highest social rank’.
Waterloo Place was Nash’s southern terminus for Regent Street. The central space between the two blocks of nine houses was intended to have a domed fountain, but is now occupied by steps down to the Mall and a column surmounted by a statue of Frederick Augustus, the ‘Grand Old Duke of York’.
The gardens have retained much of their 19th-century character, with serpentine paths, trees and shrubs. Handsome railings and a number of good statues define the perimeters of the gardens.
In 2008 the gardens were restored. The original path network has been reinstated with a firm surface of self-binding gravel. Replanting has added a greater variety of shrubs and groundcover more suited to the shaded environment.
If you are visiting this garden on Open Garden Squares Weekend, be careful to check the opening times.