Kensington Gardens, London

In a city of large and splendid public spaces, Kensington Gardens, London is top of the list for its diverse landscapes, impressive statuary, easy access and amenities.

Kensington Gardens embraces 111 hectares (270 acres) in central London, bounded on the north and south by Bayswater and Kensington Roads, on the east by Hyde Park and by Kensington Palace on the west.
Kensington Palace, Kensington Gardens, London England
The gardens were created in the first third of the 18th century as a private feature of Kensington Palace and its formal promenades, Sunken Garden and Round Pond date back to that time. New features have been added over the years, and the grounds have been open year round to the public since 1841.

Even a casual ramble rewards visitors with tree-lined allées, lakes and abundant plantings, along with famous features worth seeking out.

The Italian Garden, in the northeastern section, was commissioned by Prince Albert as a gift for his wife, Queen Victoria. This garden was recently restored to its original splendor, and the white marble fountains and neo-classical sculpture of the Jenner Memorial are one of the area’s highpoints.

Bordering the Italian Garden is the Long Water, created at the park’s inception by merging several ponds to form a continuous body of water. The Peter Pan statue on its western bank is a nod to author J.M. Barrie who visited Kensington Gardens often and chose it as the setting for one of his Peter Pan books.

Toward the western edge of the gardens lie the Round Pond and the Sunken Garden, a terraced Tudor-style garden inspired by a section of Hampton Court. Directly in front of Kensington Palace birthplace of Queen Victoria, is a statue of young queen on her ascension to the throne.

The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk is marked with 90 plaques overlooking prominent locations in Diana’s life. Near Kensington Palace is a memorial playground, whose wooden pirate ship is extremely popular with children.

Visitors with walking difficulties can board a Liberty Drive, a free mobility service with stops at points around the park.

Also free is the Serpentine Gallery, featuring modern and contemporary art as well as programs open to the public.

There are restrooms and refreshment stands throughout the park, as well as the Broadwalk Café near the playground. Visitors craving a more traditional meal will enjoy breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea in the elegant Orangery, built in grand style for Queen Anne in the 18th century.


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