Once belonging privately to Kensington Palace, Kensington Gardens is a Grade-I listed Royal Park of London. The gardens are adjoined to the west of Hyde Park and cover an area of 270 acres. There are various sculptures, memorials and fascinating architecture spread throughout the gardens with fun activities for children along the way to keep the whole family entertained.
Kensington Gardens was the perfect setting for Kensington Palace as the home of King William III and Queen Mary II. It was Queen Caroline who implemented the creation of the Serpentine Lake and the Long Water from the Westbourne stream, shaping the gardens to their current form. The gardens were closed to the public for most of the 18th century and started to open gradually to the ‘respectably dressed’.
The gardens are a tranquil space in the heart of London and are embedded with historically significant artefacts. These include the astonishing Albert Memorial, the Diana Memorial Playground and statues of John Hanning Speke and Edward Jenner.
Located on Albert Memorial Road, opposite the Royal Albert Hall, is one of London’s most intricate and striking monuments which was unveiled in 1872. The Albert Memorial was designed by George Gilbert Scott and pays respect to Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert. In Gothic Revival style, the monument takes the form of a Gothic ciborium, covering a statue of Prince Albert which glistens under the sun to reveal astonishing detail.
As a celebration of Kensington’s most famous resident, a bronze statue of Peter Pan resides to the west of the Long Water, close to the former residence of J. M. Barrie. The gardens were a great inspiration for Barrie’s stories and the charismatic statue, surrounded by wildlife, rests at the place where Peter lands in ‘The Little White Bird’.
The Italian Gardens situated near Lancaster Gate on the north side of the park is one of the most beautiful areas in Kensington Gardens. Created by Prince Albert for Queen Victoria, the stunning ornamental water garden features four fountains and numerous classical sculptures in the style of the Italian Renaissance. There’s a charming café to admire the views located just beside Queen Anne’s Alcove.
Immerse yourself in contemporary art and architecture by visiting the two free Serpentine Galleries which stand tall and impressive in the middle of Kensington Gardens. They are linked by a bridge over the Serpentine Lake and feature an array of artwork and exhibitions, as well as holding regular talks and events.
Designed for children, the Diana Memorial Playground is located just next to her former home, Kensington Palace. Inspired by the stories of Peter Pan, the playground features a marvellous wooden pirate ship surrounded by a beach, teepees, a sensory trail and various toys. The idyllic backdrop of greenery and nature makes it a great space for adults to relax too.
After you’ve had a stroll around Kensington Gardens, visit Bayswater, London, or pop into Aubaine to experience some authentic French cuisine.
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