Kensington Palace Gardens – an idyllic getaway from chaos of the City
Kensington Palace Gardens are beautiful and offer a place of tranquillity if you want to fly-away your time.
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Kensington Palace Gardens
Kensington Palace Gardens is made up of beautiful landscaped grounds. Trees here are planted in straight lines, there are some unique looking ones near the round pond and colourful flowering shrubs which makes a visit here more than inviting.
The Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace Gardens
The Sunken Garden is my favourite part of the Palace grounds. I am sure it is the case for many visitors to this idyllic location.
It was planted in 1908 and resembles classical gardens of the 18th century in the UK. 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 at Kensington Palace Gardens
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 chaos of the City.
Popularity of the sunken garden
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 Kensington Palace 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 Kensington Palace 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.
The Kensington Palace Pavilion is open for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. It offers simple menu of delicious English dishes. While you are here, enjoy a traditional afternoon tea which I would highly recommend. (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.
Travel tips and Useful information:
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
Getting to Kensington Palace Gardens:
Access to 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).
My final say…
If you are in London in spring/summer, make this garden one of your stops. Find a spot at the cradle walk and just enjoy the moment of tranquility.
Finally, was this post valuable to you for when planning your visit to London. If so, do let me know in comments or via Contact Form, I would love to hear from you.
Happy discovering London 🙂
January 2020, Update
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“If you’re curious, London’s an amazing place.”
–David Bailey, contemporary English fashion and portrait photographer