Kensington Palace Gardens
Kensington Palace is surrounded by beautiful landscaped grounds. Trees here are planted in straight lines, there are some unique looking ones (like the one below) near the round pond and colourful flowering shrubs which makes a visit here more than inviting.
The Gardens at Kensington Palace are beautiful and offers a place of tranquillity if you want to fly-away your time.
The Sunken Garden
My favourite part of the Palace grounds and I am sure it is the case for many visitors here is the Sunken Garden. It was planted in 1908 and resembles classical gardens of the 18th century in the UK. It is a secluded oasis of peaceful haven with ornamental flower beds, an ornamental pond with fountains and a variety of vibrant, exotic and colourful plants like roses, geraniums, cannas and begonias.
According to the Kensington Palace website, the fountain is “formed from re-used 18th century water cisterns retrieved from the palace.” The garden is terraced with paving and is surrounded by an arched, red-twig lime walk formed from original stock trees – the Cradle Walk.
The Cradle Walk surrounds the Sunken Garden with arched viewing-points which are equally spaced along the sides. This arch provides shades in the summer where you could sit on one of the many benches available and enjoy the vibrant colours of the flowers. It is peaceful here and a great place to getaway to away from the chaos of the City.
The Sunken Garden is not just a popular site for visitors but also for the royals. It was a place frequently visited by Diana, Princess of Wales when she needed time to reflect. In her honour, and as a ‘living tribute’ to her 20th anniversary of her death, the garden was renamed The White Garden in 2017, planted with more than 12,000 bulbs and many other flowers such as Persian lilies, Treasure Primrose Wallflowers and white-forget-me-nots which were special to her. More recently, the Sunken Garden was used when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their engagement in November 2017. I have also learnt that back in the day, the Cradle Walk was famously known as the “Nanny Walk” because it was a popular place for the nannies to meet in Kensington.
History of the Formal Gardens
Kensington Gardens which formed part of Hyde Park was a playground for King Henry VIII, a place where he hunted, and deer chased. When the Palace was established in 1689, Queen Mary II wanted a Dutch inspired garden to be created of formal flower beds and box hedges, with the aim to make King William III feel at home. The Gardens were further transformed in 1702 when Queen Anne came to the throne and she wanted an English-style garden. She was very fond of citrus trees and she commissioned the built of an Orangery in 1704 to protect them from the harshness of winter. The gardens were described as “very delicious” by John Evelyn, a diarist in 1705.
The Formal Gardens Today
Today, the Orangery is called the Kensington Palace Pavilion. It has become a fashionable spot for brunch or afternoon English tea favoured by bloggers like me, or as a venue for weddings and other celebrations. It is a perfect destination to getaway from the everyday hustle and bustle and experience a touch of tranquillity within a graceful architecture of palace settings surrounded by 300 years of history. It is open for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea and offers simple menu of delicious English dishes. While you are here, enjoy a traditional afternoon tea at the Pavilion. I would highly recommend it. (For more information, see below)
The Formal Gardens as we know it today was created by Queen Caroline from 1728 onwards. The 242 acres were designed to include the Serpentine boating lake, the Long Water, the Broad Walk and the Round Pond which are now looked after by The Royal Parks.
If you would like to see more of the beautiful landscape in Kensington Gardens, you may wish to purchase Kensington Gardens Treescapes: A Collection of Photographs.
For UK Readers
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Access to the Gardens is free and you can visit at any time.
Kensington Palace, Kensington Gardens, London W8 4PX
The Kensington Palace Pavilion
is open from 10.00-16.00. To avoid queues at busy times you are welcome to make a booking.
The Kensington Palace Pavilion
Tel: 020 3166 6113
How to get here:
Access to The Kensington Palace Gardens, Kensington Palace or Kensington Palace Pavilion is via Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens.
By London Underground
Use District & Circle lines to High Street Kensington (10 – 15 minutes walking time) or Bayswater (15 – 20 minutes walking time).
Use Central Line to Queensway
(10 – 15 minutes walking time) or Notting
Hill Gate (20 – 25 minutes walking time).
Other related posts where you can read more on Kensington Palace and Queen Victoria:
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