Next to the palace, Kensington Gardens encompasses a large parcel of land. There is a small formal garden next to the palace, but the bulk of the 270 acres of land is given to a large grassy meadow lined with trees on either side of a wide concrete walkway. This is devoted to public use, for residents of London to enjoy sunshine and fresh air. Once a part of Hyde Park (which is still 350 acres itself), located right next to Kensington Gardens, the total amount of green space is impressive. These two parks are part of a chain of royal parks stretching from Kensington Palace to Buckingham Palace.
I was expecting something like an arboretum, but this wasn’t the case. There were several wildflower sections wrapped with ironwork fencing on the edges where we came in from Queensway subway station on the walk to the palace.
These spots were wild and overgrown, still with some lovely flowers.
A sweet scent filled the air around these wisteria.
In front of the palace is a large green space with a pond. There were literally hundreds of people in the park on this weekend day, running, walking and enjoying the sunshine with picnics and blankets, sunbathing and reading.
The sculpture of Queen Victoria is in front of the palace, looking out over the pond. Queen Victoria’s daughter Louise, who was a sculptor herself, designed the statue. It was presented in 1893 to celebrate Victoria’s Golden Jubilee.
This formal geometric garden is part of the Orangery, a greenhouse and terrace built by Queen Anne in 1704. Originally, orangeries were build as massive greenhouses to grow fruit trees for the very wealthy. Queen Anne used hers as a greenhouse, but also a space to hold teas and evening entertainments. Her story is a sad one. She ascended to the throne after William and Mary, with William’s death in 1702. Anne was Mary’s sister. She was not a well woman, and despite 17 pregnancies died without a surviving heir. She survived smallpox, but two of her daughters died of it. Of her other three children to survive birth, two died in infancy, and the last died at age 11. She was succeeded on the throne by her cousin, George I. Today, the Orangery at Kensington houses a cafe and is closed for renovations, but the garden is still available to view.
The center pool is a large rectangle, surrounded by bands of plantings with foliage in interesting colors and flowers along the edge. Visitors walk around the garden on an upper level, with viewing alcoves between the green hedges, seen here on the upper left corner.
A variety of white and pale purple flowers edge the garden.
These snowball flowers are white allium, a variety of flowering onion. The white flowers behind it look like viburnum.
Large pots hold plantings of flowers with the same one in all the round pots and a different one in the smaller square ones.
I think this silvery foliage is Dusty Miller. I’m not sure what the red flowers are. You can see yellow daffodils in the water.
A portion of the Orangery can be seen in this photo, along with the walkway alcoves between the hedges. There is an arch visible here, but it was roped off to keep people out of the garden itself.
Lovely deep purple irises were blooming.
It was just too far to walk to the other attractions on the property of memorials to Prince Albert and Princess Diana, the Italian Garden, sculptures and Serpentine Gallery. It was also getting hot that day, so we went to our next destination.
It is wonderful that such a large city has dedicated green space for local residents and visitors to enjoy. It is something sorely lacking in many of our cities in the US. Our small town has a greenway called the Oklawaha, and we frequently use it for walking during the mild days of spring and fall. Are there parks and green spaces in your city?
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18 thoughts on “Kensington Gardens”
I love seeing your pictures and reading your very informative post. The gardens are lovely!
Pretty area indeed. I love parks, I love walking around in shade. I only walk in the sun in the winter . ha!
We live in the Broadlands, in Loudoun county. We have trails and woods right across the street from my house and all through our neighborhood. We walk those trails many times a week.
Often, I take my daddy to the Potomac river, Algonquian Park and that is a wonderful place to walk around along the river. There are also woods with a 2 mile trail.
We have have a lot of parks in our area. We never go into Washington DC. I know there are nice parks there, but there are too many people I do not care to be around: protesters, bums, etc. besides, it costs a fortune to park. The metro is raising their prices and I do not like the metro either :::grumble::: So, we are fortunate to have a lot of parks in our county, and also very important, … playgrounds
You have captured the gardens beautifully. We have eaten lunch at The Orangery a couple of times which is a real treat. Looking at your pictures makes me want to go back again. Thank you for sharing your trip with your readers.
I always love seeing the very formal British gardens, but the “wild” space is also lovely.
The Brits do love their gardens, and they show them off to the public as often as they can. Prince Charles, in particular, apparently has quite the green thumb and I’ve seen a few documentaries about his efforts on behalf of both public and royal gardens. As usual, thank you for the beautiful and informative tour! You certainly visited at the perfect time of year. I live at one of the entrances to Yellowstone National Park, so my town doesn’t devote a lot of real estate to green space, but we do have a small park with lots of shade trees and spots for picnics. We have both theatre and music in the park all summer. It’s usually less crowded than YNP ☺.
Erysimum cheiri “Wallflower (I guess the orange flower is)
Lovely! Thanks for the details and history. I love all things British. I would be surprised if those yellow flowers in the water were daffodils! They usually do not like wet feet. Could they be Louisiana Iris ? Carol in Texas
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Beautiful! And I agree it is lovely they have so many open spaces, and doubly good that some parts are overgrown and wild. Thanks for sharing!
Just read both your posts….isn’t just so much fun to be out and adventuring new places. Beautiful landscapes. Thanks for sharing with us.
Thanks for sharing your photos – I enjoyed all of them a lot!
I have enjoyed this travel post very much! All so beautiful…thanks for taking us along! 🙂
Loved all your photo’s. You would have enjoyed visiting the Chelsea Flower Show – I think it was on after you left. We have lots of parks in Hull and my local one is only 5 minutes away. There are 2 large statues of Victoria and Albert, a small pond and a large greenhouse, which has plants, birds and fish in tanks – a nice warm place to sit and rest in the winter time 🙂
Beautiful parks and views with an interesting and informative narrative! I had no idea all those parks were actually connected!
Great photos! Surely sounds like you had a terrific trip. I remember Kensington Gardens from 10-12 years ago, when my daughter has an expat job in London and I took my granddaughters to the Princess Diana playground in Kensington Gardens. Did not get there on my quick trip to London this spring, but will plan to do so next Augest, when I head back to the UK. Will also get to Festival of Quilts in Bormingham on that trip.
St. Louis has several green spaces for folks to walk about and enjoy a picnic — Forest Park, Laumeier Sculpture Park, & Citygarden to name a few. In my little town we are connected to a bike trail that wanders miles through our entire county. Currently it is being connected to the next county over. It is widely used by bikers, joggers, & dog walkers. Love them all!
When I watch English TV shows, I’m drawn to their gardens, and how green everything is. One day, maybe I’ll get to see in real life. Beautiful photos, Carole!!!
For a minute there, I thought I fell through the rabbit’s hole and wound up in England!
Beautiful gardens and what a sad yet interesting story about Queen Anne’s children. Sounds like you had a wonderful trip! Thanks for sharing at the July Take Me Away. As you can see, I am a little behind with my blog reading these days! Enjoy your week!
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