Arguably one of the most beautiful parks in London and once the private gardens of Kensington Palace itself, Kensington Gardens is a 270-acre green getaway from the hustle and bustle of London. But what’s inside?
The first stop in Kensington Gardens for those entering from the western side of the park will be the mighty Albert Memorial. Situated only a 20-minute walk away from hotels such as the Park Grand Kensington London hotel, this towering gothic monument rises out of Kensington Gardens to an impressive height of 176 feet at the top of its church-like spire. It includes a likeness of the late prince himself made of gilt bronze sitting under his spire, and was built in 1875 to commemorate Prince Albert’s death to typhoid in 1861.
After checking out the Albert Memorial you’re likely moving along to the nearby Serpentine Galleries, two popular art exhibition spaces which freely admits park-goers from 10am to 6pm Tuesday to Sunday. The Serpentine Gallery is located on the western side of The Serpentine River and The Serpentine Sackler Gallery on the eastern bank. Both galleries have been a huge hit with tourists since their opening in 1970, and has been home to over 2,000 different contemporary art displays in their 45-year histories.
The Allotment in Kensington Gardens and Henry Moore Arch
Gardening enthusiasts will likely find their favourite attraction of Kensington Gardens just to the north of the Serpentine Sackler Gallery; The Allotment in Kensington Gardens. This is open all week from 9:30 am – 4:00 pm and offers tips on growing your own plans and vegetables and also houses chickens, making it an ideal attraction for young and old. The impressive Henry Moore Arch can also be spotted from The Allotment, which is a six-metre high Roman travertine sculpture on the edge of the Serpentine.
Italian Water Gardens
Continuing north around the winding Serpentine will bring you to the ornate-looking Italian Water Gardens, one of the park’s oldest attractions. These were built in 1860 and have four stunning basins surrounded by urns, statues and rosettes in a classy mixture of white marble and stone. Be sure to pay them a visit before returning to the Park Grand Kensington London.
Peter Pan Statue
Heading back southwards along the Serpentine will take you to one of Kensington Garden’s most famous and well-known residents: Peter Pan. A stone likeness of the boy who never grows up can be found playing his flute, with a recent renovation at the park bringing the 100-year old statue into the 21st century. Swiping a smartphone at a nearby tag to get a ‘callback’ from Peter himself which will play a three-minute monologue down the phone in a modern touch sure to delight fans of the film both young and old.
Princess Diana Memorial Playground
The Princess Diana Memorial Playground can be found in the north-west corner of the park, making this an ideal last stop for those heading back towards the Park Grand Kensington Hotel. Children will be sure to run around like crazy upon seeing the amazing pirate ships, sandpits and teepee tents set against a tropical-looking backdrop of trees and plants.
Aside from giving parents a chance to sit down after a day touring the gardens, the playground also has sensory trails and other toys for less able-bodied children to enjoy, making this the perfect last stop on the tour for the whole family.