Originally laid out above Derry & Toms department store, which opened in 1933, The Roof Gardens were conceived by the vice-president of Barkers, Trevor Bowen, who employed landscape architect Ralph Hancock to realise his vision. The gardens opened in May 1938.
There are three themed gardens: the Spanish Garden, Tudor Courtyard and English Woodland Garden. All three have been extensively restored and replanted.
The Spanish Garden is now planted in the style of the 1950s, while the Tudor Garden planting is based on the Biba ethos and planting from the 1970s. The English Woodland, which contains trees from the original planting, is managed as a 21st-century environmental and wildlife garden.
The gardens feature a selection of exotic wildfowl, including four flamingos.
Owned by Sir Richard Branson for 33 years, the gardens are part of Virgin Limited Edition. They host a members' club, a private function venue and, since 2001, on the 7th floor overlooking the woodland garden, the award-winning Babylon Restaurant.