Kensington Gardens is one of my favourite spots in West London. It's more intimate than Hyde Park, with more planting and trees, and it includes the complex of Kensington Palace.
Kensington Gardens is the more developed bit of the gardens to the west of the road (West Carriage Drive) that runs north-south through the park and across the Serpentine: that means that it includes Kensington Palace, the Albert Memorial, the Round Pond and Serpentine gallery, but not the Diana Memorial Fountain.
The wooded area is more thickly planted with trees than Hyde Park, but it also has lovely areas of lawn, particularly around the 'Round Pond' (which is actually more oval). The pond is a great place to feed the ducks, and safe as the water on the edges is fairly shallow. The area around is popular for sunbathing, picnics and kite flying.
Like Fuzzworks, the bit I like the most is the Sunken Garden, which is technically part of Kensington Palace but is free for the public to look at. The Sunken Garden was created in 1909 and modelled on the Tudor Garden in Hampton Court. It is beautifully maintained, with ponds and exquisite borders. It's also a little haven for wildlife. Because the tourists feed them, the birds and squirrels have become phenomenally tame, so it's a great place to get a photo of your kids feeding squirrels (mind - they do occasionally bite, so it's not actually that good an idea for little kids).
The main paths are now quite busy highways for cyclists, but there are paths also reserved for pedestrians only. There are toilets at both Black Lion Gate (near Queensway), Palace Gate (on Kensington Road) and Mount Gate on West Carriage Drive.
At the north end is the Diana, princess of Wales Memorial Playground, a lovely small park with all sorts of things to let children's imagination run riot, like sculptures, teepees, a sensory garden, and the centrepiece - a large pirate ship set in a sea of sand. It has more restricted hours than the rest of the gardens. For adults, there's always the Serpentine Gallery, which runs regular exhibitions of art and sculpture, and occasionally concerts, and is small enough to pop in as you are walking past.
The park has several cafes, which are nice enough, but a bit pricey. The Orangery is very classy, as well as historic: it was added by Queen Anne at the beginning of the 18th century.
Strongly recommended on a hot, sunny day.
It's actually kind of hard to tell where Kensington Gardens starts and Hyde Park leaves off. You can walk between the two without knowing you have. In fact, to be honest, I'm not totally sure where the official boundary is. I guess it's at the road, but don't quote me on that. It's certainly easy to walk under that road by the lake without realising there's a road there at all never mind.
In spite of boundary issues, Kensington does have a different feel. I think the 'gardens' bit is important. While Hyde Park is very much broad sweeps of trees and grass, in Kensington there's more flower beds and stone balustrades. Don't get me wrong, it still has broad sweeps of grass, but it also has a few more twiddly bits around the edges. It's a little less brash, perhaps a little bit more English in a somewhat posh way.
Anyway, the park is a nice place to run, with a few slopes to quicken the heartbeat. It also has a nice play area, traditional fountains (usually with swans in them waiting for feeding) and is well supplied with toilets. All round a very good park for all the family.
Lovely park with a view of Kensington Palace and a monument dedicated to the Princess of Wales. Only thing that put me off a bit were all the dogs running freely, but that's just me. The park is easy to reach with the Central Line (Lancaster Gate St. on the north side) or the Picadilly Line (Gloucester Rd St on the south side).
Kensington gardens are an extension of Hyde Park, around Kensington Palace. Why they are separated only history knows as they are adjacent to each other. Except for the (very timid) Kensington Palace in the far west of the gardens, there are some formally laid out beds, a few dams and a lot of wild parklands. The gardens are famous for the swans which can be found around the central pond at all times of the year.
Although much shadier than Hyde Park, I often feel its main use is a quick thoroughfare to Kensington High Street!
Kensington Gardens is probably most famous for housing Kensington Palace the former home of the late Princess of Wales. It is one of the Royal Palaces open to the public but a ticket is fairly expensive as you would expect.
A centre piece of the park is the lovely circular lake with ducks and swans. Not far from here is the Diana memorial playground which boasts a large pirate ship surrounded by a huge sandpit. During the summer holidays this is packed out.
There is also a beautiful Orangery which houses a cafe serving afternoon tea. During the summer months this becomes very busy.
Lovely spot in South Ken where I have whiled away many an afternoon with the cricket set and a load of beers. I used to really enjoy walking down embassy row alongside here fantasising about getting invited to a ferrero rocher party and singing the pavement song.
A place where I can cut-off from the hustle & bustle of city life. As soon as you step inside it feels like you're in the country! The wide open leafy spaces, long walks on summer nights, the smell of grass, the cries of laughter from children playing, roller-bladers showing off their tricks, dogs barking, cyclists & runners, the tranquility of reflection... When I was a student, I used to take my books and study in here. Now, I spend a few hours on a weekend (weather permitting) walking through the park with my trainers on and iPod playing...
Stunning place, really relaxing and I LOVE IT HERE!! It is probably the most tranquilising experience i have had in my life. the water is beautiful, and it is generally a really relaxing place. Covering 111 hectares (275 acres), Kensington Gardens is planted with formal avenues of magnificent trees and ornamental flower beds. It is a perfect setting for Kensington Palace, peaceful Italian Gardens, the Albert Memorial, Peter Pan statue and the Serpentine Gallery. The Gardens are particularly popular for sunbathing and picnics in fine weather. It is also popular as a healthy walking route to work for commuters. The paths are used extensively by joggers and runners. Cycling is allowed on the designated path linking the Queen's Gate to West Carriage Drive, Mount Gate to the Broadwalk and the broadwalk itself from Black Lion Gate to Palace Gate.
Informal games do take place in the Gardens but are discouraged in view of the importance of the historic landscape and the desire to maintain their primary role as a peaceful refuge for people living, working or visiting Central London.
If you are a visitor to the city you really should put this place on you to do list. A wonderful place to chill for a while out of the hustle and bustle
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