8 reasons to fall in love with Kensington Gardens

Kensington Gardens Doyouspeaklondon Lifestyle London Blog

Kensington Gardens, one of London’s royal parks, are a true gem in the heart of the city. In my opinion, they are among the most exciting, offering a diverse array of highlights to explore and enjoy.

Back in the 18th century, Queen Caroline dreamed up these amazing gardens as part of Kensington Palace. Nowadays, they’re no longer exclusive and everyone can admire these outstanding gardens.

Today, DOYOUSPEAKLONDON invites you for a guided walk through Kensington Gardens. Just follow my lead and enjoy the view!

1. Kensington Palace & its rich history

Let’s begin our journey from the west of the park, near Kensington Palace. Although I haven’t visited the Palace yet, I’m eagerly looking forward to the opportunity. If you’re interested in exploring its interiors, I recommend booking well in advance (more info at the end of this post).

Kensington Gardens holds a special place in the hearts of Londoners and tourists alike, largely due to its association with Diana, Princess of Wales, who lived at Kensington Palace until her passing in 1997. 

However, the gardens also boast historical significance as Queen Victoria’s birthplace, marked by the memorial statue located in front of the Palace.

So much history and drama in this Palace, spanning over 300 years of existence! 

2. The Orangery & Princess Diana’s statue

Next, let’s move on to The Orangery, a renowned restaurant adjacent to Kensington Palace. To locate it, simply circle around the palace to the right, pass the outdoor cafe, and at the top of a winding path follow the charmingly named “Wiggly Walk” path.

The Orangery is known for its quintessential afternoon tea ceremony, featuring Queen Victoria’s famous Victoria sponge adorned with generous lashings of cream and jam! But you can simply come for lunch and discover some signature dishes.

Next to it is a magnificent part of the Gardens, hidden close to the Palace. 

I took these pictures before the Diana memorial was installed (as shown in the pictures below), and I must admit the gardens looked more lush and colourful back then…

This bronze statue of Princess Diana was unveiled in August 2021 by her two sons, Princes William and Harry. Designed by sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley, the statue commemorates Diana at Kensington Palace’s Sunken Garden, one of Diana’s favourite locations. It has become a very busy area but if you go early you might get some space and quietness to admire the sculpture and environment.

3. The “Round Pond”

As its name suggests, there’s a circular pond in front of Kensington Palace where ducks, pigeons, and sometimes squirrels peacefully coexist, unperturbed by human presence. It’s a wonderful spot to relax on a deckchair (on hire, information at the end of the post), admire the view, read a book, or simply bask in the sun!

4. The Italian gardens

From the Round Pond, take the Budges Walk to reach the Italian gardens (check out the link to the map at the end of this post). These ornamental water gardens that can be found on the north side of park, near Lancaster Gate, were created in the 1860s. 

They draw inspiration from Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, where the royal family used to holiday. Prince Albert, a keen gardener, designed the gardens at Osborne House himself. He introduced an Italian garden layout with raised terraces, fountains, urns, and neat flower beds. In 1860, he brought this stylish garden idea to Kensington Gardens.

We are incredibly fortunate that the gardens underwent restoration in 2011, returning them to their former splendour. 

I recently discovered this hidden gem within Kensington Gardens and was truly captivated by its beauty. It’s remarkable to find such a peaceful sanctuary just a stone’s throw away from the bustling city…

5. The Peter Pan statue

If you go south of the Italian gardens, along the “Long Water” river that separates Kensington Gardens from Hyde Park, you will find the Peter Pan statue. 

It is a bronze sculpture from 1912, depicting J. M. Barrie’s famous character. It was commissioned by Barrie and crafted by Sir George Frampton. The statue marks the spot where Peter Pan lands in Barrie’s 1902 book ‘The Little White Bird’ after flying out of his nursery. Similar statues by Frampton can be found in six other locations worldwide.

6. The Serpentine Gallery & its annual Pavilion

There are two Serpentine Galleries: one is in the south of the river (the Serpentine Gallery), one is in the north of it (The Serpentine Sackler Gallery). After seeing the Peter Pan statue, continue walking along the river and turn right when you reach the bridge.

I adore the Serpentine Gallery not only for offering free access to contemporary art year-round but also for its annual spotlight on an architect’s work right outside the gallery, during the summer.

We’re thoroughly enjoying this family outing, exploring the structure and sharing our thoughts – even if we don’t always agree on every detail!

The 23rd Serpentine Pavilion has been designed by the architect Minsuk Cho and his firm, Mass Studies. It is called Archipelagic Void, and features a unique void surrounded by a constellation of smaller, adaptable structures strategically positioned at the periphery of the lawn.

It’s a fantastic free activity in London, whether you’re a local or a tourist. Even if you’re not particularly a fan of art, this cultural event provides a wonderful reason to explore Kensington Gardens!

7. The Albert Memorial

Let’s conclude this walk with a visit to the Albert Memorial, situated in the southern part of the Gardens, near Queen’s Gate.

The Albert Memorial sits just north of the Royal Albert Hall. Queen Victoria commissioned it in memory of her husband, Prince Albert, after he passed away in 1861. It was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott in the Gothic Revival style.

I love the view of the memorial with the Royal Albert Hall in the background. There’s a charming café and a peaceful garden path next to the monument, offering a perfect spot to admire the scenery. It’s a true oasis in the heart of bustling London!

8. Exploring Kensington Gardens Green Spaces

Kensington Gardens offer vast opportunities for cultural attractions, lush gardens, or simply leisurely walks. You really can not get bored of this park. 

If you’ve followed my guide, you’ve seen a great deal of what this royal park has to offer, but feel free to explore further – there are many more perspectives and statues to discover.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed exploring Kensington Gardens. If you’re planning a visit soon, I’d love to hear about it on DOYOUSPEAKLONDON!


To go further:

Kensington Palace, Kensington Gardens, London W8 4PX
Kensington Palace website

Kensington Gardens deckchairs information here

The Orangery restaurant: Kensington Palace Gardens, London W8 4PX
The Orangery website

Serpentine Gallery: Kensington Gardens, London W2 3XA
Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday: 10am-6pm
Open bank holidays.
Serpentine Gallery website

Kensington Gardens Map link


 

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