An early summer’s day in pretty Holland Park is one of the highlights of living in London, so we are super excited to hear that the literary festival, Ways with Words, are pitching their tents there, too, in May.
Now we’ve been to Ways With Words in the lovely seaside town of Southwold where we ate battered fish, listened to literary luminaries in the town hall and took blustery walks along the beach, but this year they’ve managed to nab the Holland Park theatre which is usually reserved for summer Opera outings for a new Words in the Park gathering.
Given its intimate scale – the festival lasts just three days, from the 18th to the 20th May, and features just 21 speakers – it’s a great opportunity to meet and chat with some of Britain’s best loved writers, travellers, journalists and politicians such as Tony Benn, Sophie Dahl, A.S.Byatt, Andrew Marr, P.D.James and Sandy Toksvig; as well as a highlight talk with Wild Swans author, Jung Chang, on Saturday.
And if you tire of talking there’s always the park, a picnic and a glass of something wonderful to distract you.
If you can’t make the festival the other best kept secret about the park is the wonderful Marco Pierre White Belvedere Restaurant, located in the summer ballroom of the Jacobean mansion, Holland House. This classy, old-school French restaurant, with its swagged tablecloths, high, bright windows and impeccable service, offers one of the finest and most affordable lunch menus in the capital (2-course £15.95, 3-courses £19.95). We highly recommend it.
Words in the Park: 18th-20th May
Location: Opera Holland Park, Abbotsbury Road, London
Tickets: £12 for individual talks, £50 for a full day