Kensington Gardens are part of London’s Royal Parks; almost an extension of Hyde Park they cover an area of West London between Knightsbridge and Bayswater.
The Royal Albert Hall, one of the most important music venues in the world, is located just across Kensington Gardens. Opposite is the Albert Memorial, a monument commemorating the death of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband who died of typhoid at the age of 42.
But for most visitors to London, Kensington Gardens will be forever associated with the late Diana, Princess of Wales who lived here in an apartment at Kensington Palace.
The gates of the palace, became the focal point for mourners on the days following her untimely death in Paris in 1997, with flowers piling high together with messages and cuddly toys; up to these days visitors are still leaving tributes to the Princess. On the day of her funeral, the procession started from here before travelling through Central London to Westminster Abbey for the service watched on television by millions of people all over the world.
Today, following an extensive renovation, the Palace can be visited to see some of the sumptuously decorated rooms and a permanent exhibition about Queen Victoria. The visitors entrance is covered by a loggia commemorating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Kensington Palace is also the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge who have recently renovated an apartment where they live with their children.
The gardens surrounding the palace include the sunken Dutch garden, a landscaped garden with beautiful flowers and a nice view of the palace; a statue of Queen Victoria sculpted by her daughter Princess Louise can be seen on the way to the palace Visitors’ Entrance.
For families visiting this part of London, one of the attractions not to be missed is the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground not far from the palace, recognizable by the big wooden pirate ship at the heart of it, popular with local and visiting children.
For a special treat, The Orangery restaurant housed in a garden pavilion next to the palace, serves afternoon tea in elegant surroundings or, for visitors on a budget, a very popular activity in the summer months is to have a picnic in the gardens around Kensington Palace.
Other attractions in Kensington Gardens include a statue of Peter Pan, the Physical Energy statue and the Serpentine Galleries which include the Serpentine Gallery with a Pavilion on its ground with a different theme every year and the Serpentine Sackler Gallery a short walk away.
Exiting Kensington Gardens through Marlborough Gate opposite Lancaster Gate underground station, will give the opportunity to see the Italian Gardens with statues and fountains including the famous Tazza Fountain overlooking The Long Water. The serene and calm environment is in big contrast with the hustle and bustle of London‘s traffic and crowds just a few meters away on the busy Bayswater Road.