Kensington Gardens top 10 sights
The Lancaster Hall Hotel is ideally located moments from Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park. The parks comprise of around 625 acres and were originally used by Henry VIII as a hunting ground. Each monarch has left their distinctive mark and today it is used by large numbers of Londoners and visitors who enjoy the open spaces, beautiful gardens and quirky landmarks and monuments.
Kensington Gardens is a must on any London travel itinerary and here are our top 10 highlights. Book your stay directly on our website for a rate inclusive of breakfast.
The Italian Gardens.
Located on the Bayswater side of the park, the Italian gardens can be found at the entrance opposite Lancaster Gate tube station.
They were the brainchild of Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria and were completed in the 1860s.
They consist of 4 main ponds with fountains and a central rosette, again with fountain. There are numerous stone statues, carvings and urns along with an ornate shelter which originally housed the pumps for the fountains. With the recent addition of a café behind the pump house this is a wonderful place to sit and observe the colourful park life.
Queen Anne's Alcove
Queen Anne's Alcove has to be London's grandest park bench!
Situated to the side of the Italian Gardens its construction was overseen by Sir Christopher Wren, one of Britain's most acclaimed architects. His other works include St. Pauls Cathedral and the Royal Observatory at Greenwich.
Completed around 1705 it was located closer to Kensington palace but was moved to this spot in the 1860s.
We are often asked ‘Where are the Parakeets in Kensington Gardens?’
As their numbers have grown over the past 15 year they have moved from near the Albert Memorial to a spot just past the Peter Pan statue.
On entering the park on the Bayswater side, opposite Lancaster Gate tube station take the path to the right of the Italian Gardens (passing the Rolls Royce ice cream van) and keep on this path past the Peter Pan statue and a few moments later you will find the Parakeets.
It is not unusual to see groups of people taking photos with Parakeets perched on their heads or shoulders. Apples skewered onto the railings along this path have become a common sight and seem to do the trick in attracting the Parakeets.
Peter Pan Statue
In 1912 a statue of Peter Pan appeared without warning or permission in Kensington Gardens and remained ever since.
Commissioned by the author J.M Barrie and depicting Peter pan blowing a pipe on the stump of a tree it has proved a popular attraction in Kensington Gardens since. Children love to explore this intricate statue with fairies, mice and squirrels cast into the base.
As you enter the park on the Bayswater side opposite Lancaster Gate Tube station be sure to take the path to the right of the Italian Gardens (on the same side as the Rolls Royce ice cream van) keeping to the side of the Long Water. Moments later you will come across a tranquil spot where you can feed the ducks and sit on a park bench whilst your children explore the statue.
The Albert Memorial
The Albert Memorial is a monument on a grand scale and is a must for any tour of the Royal Parks. It can be found on the Kensington side of the park by the Albert Hall.
Designed by George Gilbert Scott it was built to commemorate Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert after his untimely death from typhoid fever in 1861.
Prince Albert holds a catalogue of the Great Exhibition held moments away in Hyde park in 1851 and sits on a base surround by 187 carved figures of architects, poets, painters, sculptors and musicians. On each corner of the overall monument are marble sculptures representing Asia, Africa, America and Europe.
Physical Energy Sculpture
The magnificent Physical Energy Statue is the creation of British artist George Watts who unfortunately died before it was installed in Kensington Gardens in 1907.
The statue is very much a focal point given its central location within Kensington Gardens.
The Round Pond
The round pond in Kensington Gardens is very much the focal point of the formal landscape features of the park and is home to a huge number of Swans, Geese and Ducks. George II who was the last reigning monarch to use the adjacent Kensington Palace up until 1760 had commissioned the Round Pond which was finished around 1730.
On a Sunday morning it is popular with model yacht enthusiasts in particular the Model Yacht Association and the London Model Yacht Club.
Stretching back to 1605 Kensington Palace has a long rich history and to this day is the official royal residence of a number or Royals including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Parts of the palace are open to the public all year round including the King's State Apartments and Queen's State Apartment.
The Diana Playground
The most spectacular tribute to Diana Princess of Wales has to be the Memorial Playground located next Kensington Palace.
Everything is on a grand scale centred around a pirate ship and surrounded by mature trees and plants. Children can explore this magical space containing toys, sculptures, swings, roundabouts and trails from 10am onwards every day. To ensure safety, only adults supervising children up to the age of 12 will be allowed in. There is plenty of seating for adults whilst children explore. Entrance is free so it is wise to arrive early with the nearest entrance next to Queensway tube station on the Central Line.
The Sunken Gardens
The Sunken Garden is situated next to Kensington Palace and is a formal flower garden created in 1908 based on a similar design to that found in Hampton Court.
Prince Harry announced his engagement to Megan Markle in the Sunken Garden which had been a great favourite with Diana Princess of Wales.
The surrounding metal arbour known as the Cradle walk was recently re-instated and is popular with those seeking a perfect Instagram photo.