Victoria-An intimate look at the Woman behind the Crown and her childhood

Victoria-An intimate look at the Woman behind the Crown and her childhood

It was the first day of the Discover the real Victoria, made in Kensington Exhibition, 24th May, a glorious day of summer sunshine and the Palace grounds were a busy sight! People sunbathing, reading or just relaxing.

The queues to the ticket office was long…

Kensington Palace: The queues at the ticket office for, Discover the Real Victoria exhibition was long!
Kensington Palace: The queues at the ticket office for, Discover the Real Victoria exhibition was long!

Fortunately for me, I did not have to wait in queue to get a ticket with a timed entry. As a Member of the Historic Royal Palaces, I get to visit at anytime and as many times as I wish. You can read more on the benefits of this Individual Membership here

Here’s how my day went at the exhibition in Kensington Palace.

Discover the Real Victoria Exhibition

The exhibition was in two parts – Victoria: Woman and Crown and Victoria: A Royal Childhood.

1 | Victoria: A Royal Childhood

Victoria, A Royal Childhood was the first of the two exhibitions where I began my tour.

It was not overwhelmingly crowded as I anticipated it to be. I had plenty of time on my hands and I did not want to rush through. The exhibition allowed the visitors to follow a route through a suite of rooms and it did give me a feel of how Victoria grew up. There were many rooms here, and these have been curated to reflect how they would have been when young Victoria grew up. I will just mention a few that is of interest and which relates to the exhibition particularly the Red Saloon room, the Dance room, the Baby room, and the Playrooms.

Read: Kensington Palace – Why you should visit this 18th century historical gem

1.1 | The Red Saloon room

Victoria's first meeting with her senior ministers in the Red Saloon Room
Victoria’s first meeting with her senior ministers in the Red Saloon Room

The Red Saloon Room was where Queen Victoria held her first meeting with the Privy Council, the most senior ministers and advisors, on 20th June 1837.It was laid out with pretty little miniature figurines on top of the large long table, depicting the scene as painted by Sir David Wilkie (1785-1841) in 1838.

Kensington Palace: Red Saloon Room - First Council Meeting of Queen Victoria by Sir David Wilkie in 1838
Kensington Palace: Red Saloon Room – First Council Meeting of Queen Victoria by Sir David Wilkie in 1838

1.2 | The Dance Room where Victoria had her first dance with Albert

The dance room was dimly lit with a piano in one corner of the room.

I thought that the room was rather small. It was a little crowded here, so I walked briskly through to the next room.

1.3 | The Baby Room where Victoria was born

Kensington Palace: A Royal Childhood - The Baby Room where Victoria was born
Kensington Palace: A Royal Childhood – The Baby Room where Victoria was born | Image: georgina_daniel

The baby room where Princess Victoria was born was one of the highlights of my visit.

The room was dressed in green wallpaper which, perhaps, reflects her maternal Leiningen heritage. It was gently warm, the drapes neatly pulled back and the sunlight coming through. It was not difficult to imagine for a moment, stepping back into history, where the room was the same, and the glorious sunshine streaming through on a very ordinary Spring morning, same day in May, 200 years ago. Described as “a pretty little Princess, as plump as a partridge” by her Mother, the Duchess of Kent in a personal letter, the heir, fifth in line to the throne was born.

Queen V_3
Victoria, Duchess of Kent with Victoria, later Queen Victoria, c.1824 (enamel on copper), Henry Bone (1755-1834) / Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 2018 (credit to: http://blog.bridgemanimages.com/

I remained fascinated with the unfolding of her story as I continued on to Her playrooms.

1.4 | Victoria’s Playroom

Her playrooms were well laid out with a toy box in the centre of the room. There was an invitation for children to sit on the carpet and play with the toys from the toy box, a gesture which I thought was unusual. I have visited many palaces and castles during my visits and usually there are signs that says “please do not touch” – I was pleasantly surprised that here, and I welcome the idea too, to engage children-visitors to get the feel of how Victoria played.

I was enchanted with Victoria’s doll house, with its miniature furniture and pretty colours. It was an ordinary London townhouse. It is thought that it was probably made by the palace staff with household bibs and bobs and scrapes of pretty pink palace wallpaper.

Kensington Palace: A Royal Childhood - Victoria's Doll House
Kensington Palace: A Royal Childhood – Victoria’s Doll House

The Ten Wooden Peg Dolls caught my attention. Victoria started collecting these when she was 11 years old. After two years, she had 132 dolls, each with a name and its own background story either after her favourite dancers or imaginary ladies.

1.5 | Victoria’s Journal and Kensington System

Victoria had vivid imagination and would describe the characters in detail. She was lost in writing her own stories.

IMG_2231 (2)
Kensington Palace: A Royal Childhood – Kensington System Rules

The rooms displayed her journal entries and, in some instances her handwritten entries. These captivated my interests and I spent some time reading them. The sight of “Kensington System” hung on the wall and the distressing effects of these rules did not go amiss but I remained fascinated by her story.

1.6 | Theatre Room

There was a Theatre room which was cute. Victoria loved the theatre, and she attended the concerts and the theatre shows as often as she could. It was one way to escape the constraints of the “Kensington System”.

Kensington Palace: A Royal Childhood - The Theatre Room where Victoria visited to escape the Kensington System
Kensington Palace: A Royal Childhood – The Theatre Room where Victoria visited to escape the Kensington System

From the Royal Childhood of Victoria, the exhibition continued on to Woman and Crown Exhibition.

Read: Kensington Palace Gardens – an idyllic getaway from chaos of the City

2 | Victoria – Woman and Crown (1819-1901)

Kensington Palace: Victoria - Woman and Crown (1819-1901)
Kensington Palace: Victoria – Woman and Crown (1819-1901)

There were a lot of information exhibited here and dresses she wore. This exhibition was aimed at unveiling the private life of Queen Victoria behind the carefully controlled public image of her role as queen, wife, mother and empress.

2.1 | Victoria as a Woman

IMG_2328 (2)
Kensington Palace: Victoria – Woman and Crown Exhibition, The Secret Portrait of Queen Victoria, by Franz Xaver Winterhalter in 1843, Lent by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for the exhibition.

As a woman, Victoria was totally in love with Prince Albert. She commissioned a secret portrait of herself as a surprise gift to Prince Albert for his 24th birthday. The portrait shows Victoria in a simple ivory gown, looking relaxed, with her long hair round her shoulders in a sensuous manner – intended for his eyes only!

2.2 | Victoria as a Woman

As a wife, Victoria adored her husband, Prince Albert. In her words, he was “an angel whose brightness shall illuminate my life” – she submitted to the choices of her husband in all matters.

The dresses and the jewellery she wore was often designed and chosen by Albert. They both often appeared in public together which made them popular with the nation. 

IMG_2320 (2)
The original colour of this dress was bright pink . Queen Victoria wore a bonnet so as not to upstage her husband.

One of the displays exhibited a gown worn by Victoria which was originally in bright pink and fashionable at that time. Queen Victoria always wore a bonnet when in public with Prince Albert because she did not want to upstage her husband who had no right to wear a crown. A stark contrast to the black gowns, and widow’s bonnet which she was so famous for wearing later in life.

2.3 | Victoria as a Mother

As a mother, I think her views can best be attributed to one of her journal entries in 1952: 

“Children, though often a source of anxiety and difficulty, are a great blessing and cheer and brighten up life, and to see us after 12 years surrounded by this blooming family is a source of great gratitude”

2.4 | Victoria as an Empress

IMG_2345 (2)
Kensington Palace: Victoria, Woman and Crown Exhibition – Victoria’s love affair with India takes centre stage at the Exhibition | Image: georgina_daniel

As an empress of the world’s largest empire, the exhibits displayed the story behind her love affair with India, the Koh-i-Noor diamond, her friendship with deposed Maharajah Duleep Singh.

IMG_2343 (2)
Kensington Palace: Victoria, Woman and Crown Exhibition – Personal diary of Queen Victoria with inscriptions in Urdu | Image: georgina_daniel

There were exhibits of her personal diaries inscribed in Urdu.

2.5 | Victoria’s love affair with the Scottish Highlands

There were further exhibits on her visits to the Scottish Highlands and Balmoral. The couple’s first visit was in 1848 and she captured their first moments in her journal entry where she wrote:

“All seemed to breathe freedom and peace, and to make one forget the world and its sad turmoils”

They loved the mountains, the people, the highland games and the dances.

Queen Victoria published a book in 1868, ‘Leaves from the Journal of our Life in the Highlands from 1848 – 1861’ – this book were of extracts from her journal, of her time in Scotland with Albert.  The book sold 80,000 copies in the first 3 months. You can purchase a copy by clicking the link below:

Read more on 200th Anniversary of Queen Victoria’s Birth – this blog contains a video on Balmoral Castle which gives a splendid view of the beauty of Scottish Highlands.

2.6 | Victoria’s love affair with Isle of Wight

Queen Victoria once said of Osborne House, that “it would be impossible to imagine a prettier spot” and one could not agree with her more! Osborne House became her permanent home till her death in 1901.

Read: Isle of Wight and the Victorian Love Affair with the island

Travel tips and Useful information:

Tickets

Visiting during Covid-19 and adhering to safety measures – Pre-booking and selecting a specific time slot is required prior to the day of your visit. All related information are here for you to peruse.

Tickets are £17.50 for Adults    and     £8.70 for Child

The ticket covers entry to Kensington Palace and the Discover the Real Victoria – Made in Kensington Exhibition.

You may wish to consider purchasing an Annual Membership with the Historic Royal Palaces which grants you unlimited access to 6 Royal Palaces including Kensington Palace.

Opening Times

Monday-Sunday: 10:00-18:00

Last admission: 17:00

Getting here

Kensington Palace, Kensington Gardens,

London W8 4PX

Public Transport

London Underground and trains

High Street Kensington station (10 – 15 minute walk) – for the District, Circle and Piccadilly lines

Queensway station (10 – 15 minute walk) – for the Central line

Notting Hill Gate station (20 – 25 minute walk) – for Central, District and Circle lines

Paddington station (20 minute walk)

Bus

Routes 70, 94, 148, and 390 stop along Bayswater Road

Routes 9, 10, 49, 52, 70 and 452 stop along Kensington High Street


Is this post valuable to you in aiding your travel plans to Kensington Palace? if so, let me know in comments below or via Contact Form. I would love to hear from you.

Happy adventures!

March 2021, Update


March 2021, Update


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Superbloom Tower of London

Superbloom Tower of London | timelesstravelsteps.com

The Very Special Superbloom at the Tower of London

A visit to the Tower of London these days is made even more special! Not only will you experience all there is to this World Heritage Site, which is famously known as the most secure fortress in the country, a royal palace and a prison along with the opportunities to get up close to the Crown Jewels, meet the legendary Yeoman Warders and the ravens, but you shall also be treated to a sea of delightful Superbloom at the Tower of London.

With the year being a very special year in the history of UK, the Overseas Territories and the Commonwealth as it marks the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, many places across the globe have installed displays and exhibitions to honour Her Majesty’s 70-year long reign. Superbloom at the Tower of London is one such display for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

If you are planning a visit to Superbloom at the Tower of London, this guide is perfect for you. In this guide, you shall find all the information on Superbloom at the Tower of London, what to expect when you visit and the best ways to experience this amazing display on the moat surrounding the iconic fortress.

I visited Superbloom at the Tower of London last Saturday and I share as much information here to support your visit.


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Related read: 7 Best Ways to Experience the Tower of London


What is Superbloom Tower of London?

Commissioned by the Historic Royal Palaces, the idea of Superbloom was to create an organic, living piece of art that changes over the course of time. Hence, Superbloom is a term given to the planting of about 20 million of 29 different seed mixes which took place in March 2022. The seedlings were planted in the dry moat surrounding the Tower of London. The flower species were specifically selected for their vibrant colours and their ability to thrive in the urban space. They are expected to produce an amazing display of waves and waves of flowers in the dry moat surrounding the Tower of London.

The waves of blooms will grow over summer, bringing changing colours along with new flowers every week or month that passes. The sea of flowers with its vibrant colours is also a haven for bees and other pollinators.

Recommended read: A Complete Guide to the Tower of London

The Design of Superbloom at Tower of London

The planting designers together with a team of landscape experts and contractors have put in time and expertise to create a vibrant field of colours like none before seen at the Tower of London, in an area what was previously a dry moat. The team have fully embraced the idea of urban horticulture and have created a new biodiverse habitat where seed eating birds will happily co-exist in the city, thus celebrating the value of nature to wellbeing.

Although Superbloom Tower of London is primarily an exhibition to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, it is designed to provide a beautiful natural landscape for pollinators such as bees, birds and insects. Visitors to the castle will be treated to a visual feast of vibrant colours of assorted flowers in a beautiful new naturalistic landscape.

What flowers are planted at Superbloom Tower of London

Twenty million seeds are sewn over the ground of the moat surrounding the Tower encompassing 29 species of flowers. The species include Gypsophila elegans, Papaver rhoeas hybrids (‘Shirly poppies’), Cosmos bipinnatus and two varieties of chrysanthemums.

What to expect on your visit to Superbloom Tower of London

1 | An Immersive Experience

For the first time, visitors to the Tower of London can wander through the historic moat. A space of wonderful natural beauty offers a visitor to feel immersed in the flowers and that they are stepping out of the city.

The Superbloom is designed in such a way that there are clear paths winding through the enchanting display for visitors to walk around easily, allowing you to get close to the blooms. There are benches that are positioned at various points for you to sit and enjoy the serenity of the natural display.

2 | Work in Progress

According to the Historic Royal Palaces website:

Once in the moat, you can choose to climb the stairs and slide down into the moat on the four lane Superbloom slide! (please note, the slide will not be open in wet or very hot weather). Prepare to spend around 30 minutes exploring a one way route along winding willow-lined paths set to a specially commissioned soundscape with sculptural elements along the way.

Historic Royal Palaces

However, when I visited Superbloom on June 18, I did not see the Superbloom slide or sculptural elements nor any special sound installation. I can only presume that these are work in progress, and will be installed in the coming days.

3 | Slower Growth

Another thing I found on my visit was that the seedlings are growing , and growing slowly. Therefore, not all seedlings are fully in bloom yet, so there are areas of vibrant colours and there are greenery with no burst of colours. I guess this is to be expected as nature has been unpredictable lately. The spring had been dry and cool, resulting in a slower growth.

Although seedlings were sowed in March, with expectations that the flowering varieties will bloom in 8 to 9 weeks, there were flowering in some places while in some others, flowers are taking a little longer to bloom than expected.

So, as you walk around the viewing path, you will find Superbloom at different stages of flowering, and this may change daily. The seedlings appear to have thrived towards the east of the moat where conditions have been more balanced. The rest of the moat will catch up soon.

Georgina’s Top Tip: Plan a visit for early or mid July and in August when the slower blooms would have caught up and Superbloom is expected to be at its finest.

4 | Queen’s Garden

An important feature of Superbloom Tower of London is the Queen’s Garden, to be found on the Tower Bowling Green. Designed by award-winning landscape designers, Grant Associates, the Queen’s Garden takes inspiration from the Queen’s Coronation dress. The garden features symbols and flowers that can be found on the coronation dress which was designed by Sir Norman Hartnell and worn by the Queen in 1953.

The dress celebrates rich fabric and exquisite embroideries. The embroideries are symbolic flowers arranged along gold beads, diamanté and pearls, representing the United Kingdom and several Commonwealth countries 70 years ago. The Queen’s Garden is designed to reflect this symbolism.

The centre of the Queen’s Garden is dedicated to 12 cast coloured glass flower designs, representing the dress’ s emblems rising above the garden. The design represents various flowers and national emblems including the thistle of Scotland, and the maple leaf of Canada. The coloured glass designs glisten in the light, very much like the beads, diamanté and pearls on the coronation dress. These are surrounded by shrubs, roses and a mix of summer blooms.

Story of The Moat at Tower of London

Like most medieval castles, the Tower of London features a moat. In the beginning, it was only a ditch and was filled with tidal water from the nearby river. In the 1240s, King Henry III ordered that a moat be dug to completely surround the castle. However, when Edward I came to power, he ordered for the moat to be expanded. A moat is generally dug around a castle as a security measure, to prevent attackers from getting to the castle easily. So, in accordance with Edward I orders, the moat was dug deeper, very deep with at least 50 metres wide, for a long-lasting effect. It was filled with water.

The moat was used as a fishery and became a perfect source of food for centuries. Over time, the moat became stagnant due to poor water supply at the Tower and gave rise to deadly infections. It led to the momentous decision by Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (1769-1852) to have the moat drained. The moat at Tower of London had remained dry ever since except for the one time in 1928 when the moat became flooded when the Thames burst its banks.

The moat surrounding the tower seen today is very much of the same shape since the 13th century. Since it had been drained, the dry moat became very useful for various purposes and as a food source. The south of the moat was used to growing vegetables as early as the 1890s while livestock grazed in the rest of the moat. During the war, the moat was converted to allotments, so residents could grow their own produce.

In 1977, for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, the moat was planted with 470, 000 begonia blooms, and this year, the moat is planted with 20 million seeds from 29 flower species.

The Legacy of Superbloom Tower of London

The Superbloom at the Tower of London is scheduled to end on September 18, 2022 but this does not mean that it will disappear permanently. The Superbloom marks the beginning of a permanent transformation to the moat surrounding the Tower of London as a haven for bees, butterflies and other pollinators. The natural landscape created for the Platinum Jubilee is said to remain, thus a permanent green space in the heart of London for all to enjoy.

Practical Information for Visiting Superbloom at the Tower of London

1 | How long is the Superbloom Tower of London

Superbloom at the Tower of London takes place during the summer of 2022, as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

From June 1 through to September 18, 2022


2 | Best Ways to Experience Superbloom

There are 3 ways to experience Superbloom at the Tower of London.

2.1 | A combined visit to Superbloom and the Tower of London;

2.2 | book a slot for Superbloom experience only;

2.3 | View the Superbloom installation from the Public Viewing Path at Tower Hill.

For the first two options, you will need a ticket. There are various ticket types available to suit your itinerary and best to pre book online prior to your visit:

Ticket Types

Ticket Tower of London & Superbloom Moat TicketSuperbloom Moat Only Ticket
Adult with Donation£ 40.20£13.20
Concession with Donation£32.20£10.60
Child with Donation (Ages 5 to 15)£20.10 £6.60
Adult without Donation£36.50£12.00
Concession without Donation£29.20 £9.60 
Child without Donation Ages (5 to 15)£18.20£6.00
Prices correct at time of writing, extracted from the official website of Historic Royal Palaces.

Family Tickets and Groups are also available. Check prices at the official website here.


3 | Where is the Superbloom

Superbloom can be found at Tower Moat, Tower of London, London EC3N 4AB


4 | How to Get to the Superbloom

The nearest station to the Tower of London is Tower Hill. Once you disembark from Tower Hill, follow directions to the Tower of London which are clearly signposted towards the Tower.

Check Transport for London website for the London Underground map, alternate routes and for further guidance on how to get to Tower Hill/Tower of London.


ADD TO YOUR SUPERBLOOM TOWER OF LONDON ITINERARY

1| Things to do nearby

Make the most of your visit to London Tower Hill area and visit nearby places:

1.1 | Tower Bridge

Visit one of London’s favourite landmarks, the iconic Tower Bridge. This suspension bridge was built between 1886 and 1894 and offers something for every visitor. Go inside the bridge, walk on the glasswalkway, enjoy stunning views of London’s skyline and visit the very special Victorian engine room.

Where: Tower Bridge Rd, London SE1 2UP

1.2 | St Dunstan in the East

Visit St Dunstan in the East, a beautiful serene garden set in the midst of an old church ruins. Located within minutes of Tower Hill Station, it is a perfect spot to escape to for a few minutes of peacefulness.

Free event.

Where: St Dunstan’s Hill, London EC3R 5DD

Read the complete article on St Dunstan in the East – 8 Reasons to Visit this Serenity amongst Ruins.


1.3| Sky Garden London

Within 3 minutes of St Dunstan in the East, is Sky Garden, London. Famously known as the ‘Walkie Talkie’ for its unique shape, Sky Garden is the highest public green space, a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city below. You can visit the Sky Garden for free between 10:00 and 6:00 p.m. but you need to book your tickets online in advance.

Free event with prior booking.

Where: 20 Fenchurch Building, 1, Sky Garden Walk, London EC3M 8AF

Read the complete guide to Sky Garden and how to book your free tickets.

1.4 | All Hallows by the Tower Church

All Hallows by the Tower has a rich and long history, going way back to 675 AD. All Hallows lay claim as the oldest church in the City of London and tell the stories of more than 1300 years. Located next to the Tower of London, the church has cared for beheaded bodies over the years, including that of Thomas Moore. This quaint little church is worth a quick visit.

Free access.

Where: All Hallows by the Tower Church, Byward Street, London EC3R 5BJ


2 | Where to Eat

The area around the Tower of London is highly touristy. There are plenty of choices when it comes to food ranging from street food to high-end dining. Here are just a couple to stoke your interests:

2.1 | The Hung Drawn and Quartered

The Hung Drawn and Quartered is a historic pub and provides a glimpse into London’s history. The somewhat grisly name of this pub relates to its location close by to the former public execution ground of Tower Hill. Its location provides a fantastic spot to rest weary feet after exploring the old city of London area. Delicious fun pub grub.

Dine-in Only

Where: 26-27 Great Tower St, London EC3R 5AQ

2.2 | The Glassrooms on the River

Offering a unique dining experience along the River next to the Tower of London, and panoramic views like none other, the Glassrooms on the River is an exclusive and intimate dining experience within a glass bauble where you could enjoy seasonal British cuisine. Available for summer 2022, from June to September. Prior booking is essential.

The Glassrooms on the River


3 | Where to Stay

From budget hostels to apartments and high-end hotels, accommodations in London are literally unlimited!

3.1 | Millennium Hotels & Resorts

The superb hospitality and quality offered by the Millennium Hotels and Resorts in London is one I would highly recommend. Moreover, Millennium Hotels are centrally located and within easy access of London’s transport network.

Browse Millennium Hotels & Resorts in London and book yourself a fabulous experience.

3.2 | Radisson Hotels

Take a look at the Radisson Hotels group. The Radisson Hotels chain offers accommodations ranging from upper upscale, mid-market, millennial lifestyle, hotels with a unique personality and story. They also have a chain of hotel accommodations suitable for business travellers.

Browse Radisson Hotels in London and book yourself a beautiful and memorable stay.

3.3 | Booking

As well, you could also run through booking dot com, a site I use and frequent for my searches on accommodations when I travel.

Browse a wide range of accommodations offered by Booking dot com to suit all budgets in the City of London


4 | Easy Day Trips from London

If you are a visitor to London, make time to visit some destinations away from London. You don’t have to rent a car if you do not want to if you wish to see the highlights of rural England and the English countryside. You could easily hop onto a train or a coach and enjoy the journey and sights. Here are a few options for you:

4.1 | Dover Castle England

Dover Castle perched high above Dover Hill is a magnificent first line of defense and has a rich history. Home to secret bunkers, dug deep into the white cliffs, Dover Castle is well worth a trip.

Read the Complete article on the Mighty Dover Castle that has all the information you need to design your visit — how to get to Dover from London, where to get tickets to Dover Castle and what not to miss when visiting Dover Castle.

4.2 | Stonehenge Wiltshire

Hundreds of thousands of visitors make their way to see one of the most intriguing architecture in England — The Stonehenge. Visit the Stone Circle, Heel Stone, explore Stone Age life and enjoy the Wiltshire countryside. A visit to this prehistoric monument will have you captivated, wonder and perhaps wanting to learn more…

Read the complete guide to Stonehenge, its history and theories on how the monument came about along with travel tips.

4.3 | Hever Castle Kent

Experience 700 years of history of Hever Castle, which began as a humble country house in the 13th century belonging to the Boleyn family. The immaculate award winning gardens, the romantic double-moat along with the castle’s rich history and association with the Tudors all make this destination a favourite to explore.

Read the complete guide to Hever Castle and related articles on a fascinating chapter of British history.

4.4 | Other Popular Day Trips

You may wish to peruse some of our best selling day tours from London.


finally…

The flowers were not in full bloom when I visited but the areas where they thrived was a pretty sight. I would encourage you to visit and experience the moat awash in spectacular colours, but to do so from mid July onwards. I look forward to returning in mid August for a dramatic and engaging experience.

Have fun experiencing Superbloom Tower of London.






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Presently June 2022 Travel News

durdle.door.england. presently june 2022 timelesstravelsteps.com

June 2022 Travel News and Tips – festivities and beauty in all forms plus flip flops, barefoot dances, and wind-tousled hair …

“It is the month of June. The month of leaves and roses. When pleasant sights salute the eyes and pleasant scents the noses.”


June 2022 is the first of the summer months and with it brings festivities and beauty in all forms. From Royal celebrations, Father’s Day (Sunday June 19), Juneteenth (Sunday June 19, USA), Pride Month to Summer Solstice, summer flowers and longer days for BBQ evenings. The beauty of June is to be found in the simple pleasures of flip flops, sunbathing on luxury catamaran or sand in between your toes on a vast stretch of golden or white sandy beaches. Blowing bubbles with our kids, water fountains and let’s not forget the soft serves!

As wonderful as the month of June is and we are feeling the higher temperatures and humidity of the season in London already, the heatwave has come a lot sooner than expected — it is a worrying sign of climate change that calls for everything we could do to save our Earth.

However, the Southern Hemisphere enjoys the changing colours of the season as it moves from autumn to winter. With Winter Solstice on either June 20 or 21 marking the shortest daylight hours. With cooler and fresher days, the countries in the Southern Hemisphere are a haven for those who want to escape the humidity of the Northern Hemisphere.

The month of June also tells us that these beautiful long days are gone before you know it — and soon, you shall be in the second half of the year.

Related reading: Read about the origins of June, birthstone, birthflowers, myths, legends, traditions, celebrations, superstitions along with rhymes, quotes and sayings — Presently June 2021

Welcome to Presently June 2022, our monthly e-column

June 2022 travel news | timelesstravelsteps.com

1 | JUNE 2022 AND LONDON UK

June had never looked more beautiful than it does now in London! With Union Jacks and floral colours everywhere you go in London, the charming city London is amazingly beautiful.

In the United Kingdom, June 2022 began with the 4-day bank holiday weekend (Thursday June 2 to Friday June 5, 2022) to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations. The long weekend offered many opportunities for us to come together to celebrate the unprecedented anniversary as well as to travel abroad or enjoy a staycation.

If you are considering travels in the coming months, you may find the following travel news useful.

2 | JUNE 2022 TRAVEL NEWS | COUNTRIES WELCOMING VISITORS

As summer gets underway, travel seems to return to some normalcy with more countries loosening their Covid-19 restrictions.

2.1 | UNITED STATES

As of June 12, 2022, all travel restrictions to and within the United States have been lifted. Travellers are no longer required to show a negative COVID-19 viral test or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board their flight. The rules as to mask wearing are not definitive at present. For example, New York City airports such as JFK still require mask wearing indoors. Some airlines may also require mask wearing during flights. Therefore, please check for the latest guidelines offered by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as regards mask wearing during flights and in public transportation.

Travelling to the USA as a Visitor

Non US citizens or non Green Card holders travelling to the USA requires that you get a visa or an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) visa waiver to enter or transit the USA as a visitor. An ESTA is valid for 2 years and allows for multiple entries. Apply for your ESTA via iVisa for instant delivery or from the official website of the US Customs and Border Protection.

NB: An ESTA does not entitle you to automatic entry to the USA. You will need to go through border control at point of arrival.

Our Best Selling Activities in the USA

Outdoor and nature activities in the USA are presently popular. You may want to give the following activities a go for best experiences:

1 | Tour aboard the Boston Duck

Climb aboard a unique amphibious vehicle and discover Boston on land and on water in one non-stop journey. The World War II-style “Duck” takes you along historic streets and into the Charles River on an 80-minute tour of the city. Check availability on the Boston Duck Tour.

2 | Sightseeing Tour of Bryce Canyon National Park

Experience the difference a local guide can make — join a 3-hour small group guided tour and discover the must-see sites such as Thor’s Hammer, the Cathedral and the Natural Bridge Walk along with stone amphitheaters among towering hoodoos. Learn about the flora, fauna, history, and geology of this uniquely beautiful landscape. Check availability and book your space in this highly recommended and popular tour.

3 | Everglades National Park Airboat Tour

The Everglades National Park is a diverse landscape providing crucial habitats for rare and endangered species. Take a ride on an airboat, which is designed to operate well in shallow water and marshlands and view alligators, turtles, and even the elusive Florida panther. Book your experience of the Everglades National Park.

4 | NYC Summit One Vanderbilt

Immerse in a multi-sensory art experience at every turn and enjoy vantage points of New York from the open-air terrace and indoor lounge, perched nearly 1,100 feet above Manhattan. Learn more and book your immersive experience either by day or by night for unique timeless memories.

5 | Cruise around Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

Take a 60-minute boat ride and sail within 100 metres of the world’s most famous monument, the Statue of Liberty. Cruise under the Brooklyn Bridge and over to Ellis Island. Enjoy views of Lower Manhattan from both the east and the west sides along with views of the iconic Freedom Tower. Check availability on this best selling activity for New York City.

6 | From Page: Lower Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend

Explore, marvel and capture many photos of the two most famous natural formations in the world. The Lower Antelope Canyon is where the “pillars of light gleam through the cathedral-like canyon ceiling” affords plenty of picture opportunities.

Later, the tour takes you to the mighty Colorado River for a visit to Horseshoe Bend, where the river meanders around rocks creating a horse-shoe loop — views much loved by travellers. Enjoy a visit to these two attractions in half a day guided activity.

2.2 | CANADA

Canada is open to vaccinated travellers only. You do not have to provide a pre-arrival positive test. However, masks may be required in some outdoor and indoor venues.

2.3 | EUROPE

Vaccinations and pre arrival testing requirements have been removed by most European countries. Local mask mandate may still be in place in some outdoor and indoor venues.

France, Spain and Portugal still require unvaccinated travellers to have a negative entry test.

Related read: Guide to Seville TravelSanta Cruz Neighbourhood, Triana, Bohemian Seville, Plaza Espana, Real Alcazar, Seville Cathedral and more…

The Netherlands still bans unvaccinated travellers to its country.

Related read: The Complete Guide to AmsterdamAmsterdam Bucket List, Where to Stay, Dutch Culture Food, Surinamese Cuisine, Best Transport options from Airport to City Centre, and more…

OUR BEST SELLING ACTIVITIES IN EUROPE

1 | FRANCE: Catamaran Cruise in Cannes

Set sail aboard a modern catamaran across the Bay of Cannes from the old port of Quai Laubeuf. Head towards the Île Sainte-Marguerite and to islands of the Lérins Islands group, or make your way over to the Corniche d’Or to moor either between the islands or in a cove along the Esterel Massif. Get some time to swim and snorkel in the Mediterranean Sea (masks and snorkels provided). Learn more about this activity and book your timeless experience in Cannes.

2 | PARIS: Eiffel Tour Direct Access to Summit by Elevator

For this activity, you shall meet the greeter to collect your entry tickets to Eiffel Tower Summit, 2nd Floor Eiffel Tower, 1st Floor Eiffel Tour and Eiffel Tower entry ticket. Access to Eiffel Tower Summit is by elevator. Check availability and book your Eiffel Tower experience before your travels.

3 | LONDON: Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studio with Transfer

Go on a magical full day trip to the Warner Brothers Studio from Central London. Dive into the wizarding world of Harry Potter and experience Platform 9 ¾, ride the Hogwarts Express as well as step onto the famous cobblestones of Diagon Alley, featuring the shopfronts of Ollivander’s Wand Shop, Flourish and Blotts, and Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. Check availability on this best selling activity and reserve your experience to avoid disappointment.

4 | LONDON: Tower of London and the Crown Jewels Exhibition

Explore the Tower of London at your own pace. Built by William the Conqueror in 1086 castle – a secure fortress, royal palace, and infamous prison. Spot the ravens that live on the premises and find out why they are known as the guardians of the Tower. See the memorial dedicated to those who were executed on the castle grounds. Visit Beauchamp Tower, White Tower, the torture chamber and the magnificent collection of Crown Jewels. No visit to London is complete without a visit to the Tower of London.

5 | HUNGARY (Budapest): Evening Sightseeing Cruise along the River Danube

Enjoy a 1-hour evening sightseeing cruise on the historic Danube River and sail between the Buda and Pest sides of magical Budapest. During the cruise you will see the majestic Chain Bridge and Elisabeth Bridge, and the Buda Castle on the hill, amongst others. The cruise will circle Margaret Island. By far the most magical sight is of the Budapest Parliament Building, glowing in gold and surreal. Audio guides in 30-languages are available. Reserve your experience of an Evening Cruise on the Danube.

Related read: Castle Hill Budapest | 30 Top Things to do in Budapest | Szentendre in One Day

2.3 | MEXICO

Mexico welcomes all travellers and does not have any entry restrictions.

2.4 | AUSTRALIA

If you are fully vaccinated, you can travel to Australia. Pre arrival tests are no longer required but you may be required to undertake tests when travelling interstate within the country.

2.5 | NEW ZEALAND

New Zealand is still closed to non essential travellers but plans to relax its rules to international travellers as from July 2022. Fully vaccinated travellers with a pre departure negative test could visit New Zealand at this time.

2.6 | ASIAN COUNTRIES

Entry to most of the Asian countries for non-essential travel is relatively strict. In most cases, travellers are required to be fully vaccinated and have a negative pre arrival test.

The Philippines are open but require a negative pre arrival test.

Japan is still closed to tourists.


Related read: For countries already welcoming visitors, please refer to the previously written Presently series on Travel News 2022.


3 | How is Summer Solstice Celebrated in UK

The Summer Solstice is a popular event celebrated at the world famous neolithic monument, Stonehenge, Wiltshire. Thousands gather from the night before to watch the first sunrise on the longest day in summer in the Northern Hemisphere. The Stonehenge sunrise on 21 June 2022 over the Heel Stone is watched and celebrated just as it was 5000 years ago.

Stonehenge is one of the oldest and most mysterious landmarks in the world and attracts millions of visitors each year. If you wish to experience the Summer Solstice event at Stonehenge in June 2022, contact the official website of English Heritage who manages the event and Stonehenge for Summer Solstice Open Access Information.

Important Note: At time of writing, Rail Strikes are scheduled for June 21, 23 and 25 in the UK which means travellers journey across the country will be severely affected. If you are planning on experiencing Summer Solstice at Stonehenge and/or visit Stonehenge during this time, you are best to reach the destination by car.

Recommended related read: Complete Guide to Visiting Stonehenge – A Sophisticated Architecture Not to Miss (information on how to get to Stonehenge along with a little history included)


TRAVEL OFFERS FOR JUNE 2022

An all inclusive holiday is still the trend this summer with our trusted partners coming up with great offers for single, couples, family and group travels. Look up the following providers:

Related read: 10 Benefits of Package Holiday You will Love to Know


Travel resources at a Glance

Planning your dream vacation? Excellent! Here are all the Resources and Practical information you need for your self-guided or guided vacation.

Legal entry/Tourist travel Visa

Check Visa requirements with iVisa, a leading independent company in the travel documentation industry.

Flights

I have a few choices. Search Google flights because they offer very competitive prices. You could also try Opodo for cheap airfares. For special experiences, go to On the Beach and Jet2Holidays. My all time favourite has been Qatar Airways for long-haul flights for the comfort and their first-class service. I use British Airways as well. For all other global deals >> kiwi.com

Accommodations

My favourite website for booking hotels is booking.com – I love their flexible cancellation policy which means I’m covered till the last minute. I also like that the totals show up for the whole stay so it helps me budget better. Other favourites of mine are Millennium & Copthorne Group of Hotels and Resorts for their consistent high quality accommodations and service. You could also take a look at the Radisson Hotels chain that caters for all budget. For accommodations in UK that has a personal touch and affordable luxury, stay at Hotel du Vin.

Unique experiences & tours

My all time go to resource for unique experiences and tours is Get your Guide. I am also a fan of Viator for their special deals. You shall find suggestions on recommended tours sprinkled throughout TTS on each experience I write about.

Travel insurance

Never travel without travel insurance and never overpay for travel insurance! I use and recommend World Nomads for your travel insurance needs. They even insure on the go. Before purchasing any any travel policy, read through the terms to ensure that the plan is right for you and your trip.

Travel essentials

Never travel without these! I use and fully endorse all the products on this page but especially: High powered wireless power bank, Universal travel adapter and unlimited portable pocket wifi.


Catch up with all travel guides and tips so far written in Timeless Travel Steps


finally … June 2022 Travel News

There are virtually no restrictions these days in travelling domestically and travelling abroad is becoming easier. Masking mandates might still be present in some places and it is worth checking prior to travel. As we continue to explore more, remember to always travel consciously, safely and make small changes that add up to big differences to save Earth, our Home.

As the newly radiant sun steps forth from spring time , wrapping us in warmth and brilliant days, the sky blazes in blue with the drifting of the birdsong and steady buzz of young bees along with summertime pollen. With blooms just as pretty as they are, playing begins from the youngest to old, smiles, laughter and jokes run free. Out comes flip flops, barefoot dances, and wind-tousled hair. Jazz begins in the way we walk, eyes dance upon meeting — so whatever we do, let us make the most of the here and now of what the glorious month of June 2022 offers.

Until next time,

Georgina xoxo

June 2022


My sincere wish is for you to enjoy our articles, and if at all you find the information helpful to your travels, use the links to book your holidays or activities. We earn a commission at zero cost to you. As always, we appreciate your continued support. You may wish to support Timeless Travel Steps in other ways also.


This article and related articles are sprinkled with affiliate links. We may earn a commission from qualified purchases and bookings at no additional cost to you. These links have no influence on the editorial content we produce.


Please support the humanitarian efforts for Ukraine in any ways you can — here are some links where you could do so:

DEC Ukraine Appeal

UNICEF Ukraine Appeal

OXFAM Ukraine Appeal

PLAN INTERNATIONAL Ukraine Appeal





AN OVERVIEW OF THE BOLEYNS AND THE HOUSE OF WINDSOR

Anne boleyn | timelesstravelsteps.com
the boleyn lineage | timelesstravelsteps.com
History of Britain | Timeless Travel Steps


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Hampstead Pergola Serene Haven

Hampstead Pergola London  - Serene Haven | timelesstravelsteps.com

Hampstead Pergola – The Grandeur of Run-down Terraces | London’s Secret Serene Haven

The Hampstead Pergola, a beautiful faded splendour hidden away in the north west corner of Hampstead Heath is one of London’s secret serene havens. This hidden treasure is a breathtaking wonder and perfect for all seasons to wander. You can’t but fall in love with the grandeur of these run-down terraces that radiate a sense of serenity at every step you take. Set on raised walkways, the endless corridors of Edwardian pillars are overgrown with vines, roses and exotic flowers. The subtle fragrance of roses fills the air, and views at every turn. This serene haven looks like a magical secret garden.

The Hampstead Pergola and Hill Gardens is a perfect destination in London (just 30 minutes from London Euston) to getaway to for a picnic with friends and family, or to enjoy some peace and quiet reflection. The Hampstead Pergola is a photographer’s paradise and a destination sought out for weddings and celebratory events.

In this guide, we take a look at how the story of these really pretty run-down terraces began, what happened along the way and who cares for them now. I have included several photos here, taken a few days ago, in the beautiful summer sun to give you an idea of how beautiful this place is but nothing beats the ‘here and now’ experience which are truly rich. Therefore, I give you all the practical information you need on how to get to Hampstead Heath Hill Garden and Pergola, opening times and where to park if you are not taking public transportation.

Walk with me … click to watch a preview of the magical serenity of the Hill Garden and Pergola

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This article and related articles are sprinkled with affiliate links. We may earn a commission from qualified purchases and bookings at no additional cost to you. These links have no influence on the editorial content we produce.


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The History of Hampstead Pergola

London’s secret serene haven in Hampstead Heath is the legacy of Lord Leverhulme and dates back to 1905.

Lord William Leverhulme ( 1851 — 1925)

William Leverhulme was born in Bolton to a grocer in 1851. Along with his brother, he established Lever Brothers in 1885, a soap manufacturing company. The business was immensely successful.

In 1904, Lord Leverhulme purchased an Edwardian mansion, ‘The Hill’ overlooking Hampstead Heath. He rebuilt his house to incorporate a wing to each side of the house, a ballroom and an art gallery. Over the course of the following year, he expanded his estate to include the land surrounding The Hill.

Lord Leverhulme loved landscape gardening. With this additional space and his love for landscape gardening, he decided to build a legacy, The Pergola. He wanted a spectacular garden to host extravagant Edwardian garden parties and at the same time a space where his family and friends could spend long summer evenings privately. To make his dream come true, he employed Thomas Mawson, a landscape architect and garden designer.

Navigate to learn more about Lord Leverhulme and the Leverhulme Trust.


Read: 12 Famous Parks in London


When was Hampstead Pergola built?

Construction of the Pergola began in 1905 and was completed in 1906. Over the following years, Lord Leverhulme extended his estate further, thereby also allowing for further extension to the Pergola in 1911 and 1925.

Decline, Restoration and Present Caretakers of Hampstead Pergola

Lord Leverhulme resided at The Hill until his death in 1925. He died of pneumonia at the age of 73. After his death, The Hill and gardens were bought by Baron Inverforth. ‘The Hill’ was renamed as Inverforth House and retains as such till today. Baron Inverforth died in 1955, and left the property to Manor House Hospital.

Unfortunately, by 1960, the hill garden and the pergola were in a poor state of dilapidation. London County Council stepped in to take over and carried out some restoration. The gardens were restored and opened to the public in 1963. Further restoration work was carried when the Corporation of London took over in the late 1980s, in whose care the Hampstead Heath Hill Garden and Pergola rests today.


Read: Why Regent’s Park is the #1 Garden with a toal Zen in London


Inverforth House today

Inverforth House was sold to developers in the 1990s. The property was converted into two houses and several flats which are now privately owned.


Recommended read: St Dunstan in the East – 8 Reasons to Visit this Serenity amongst Ruins

Stay Connected with Timeless Travel Steps – Subscribe for Newsletters and Inspirational Articles for Your Next Journey


Practical Information for Hampstead Pergola

1 | Where is Hampstead Heath Hill Garden and Pergola?

Address: Inverforth Close, North End Way, London, NW3 7EX

Tel: 020 7332 3322

2 | Getting to Hampstead Heath Hill Garden and Pergola

2.1 | By London Tube/Underground

The nearest station to Hampstead Heath Hill Garden and Pergola is Golders Green on the Northern Line. You can access the Northern line at Euston Station. The journey between Euston Station and Golders Green is 15 minutes.

Use London’s TFL Planner to plan your journey.

From Golders Green Station, Hampstead Pergola is a 20-minute walk.

2.2 | By Bus

You could catch bus 210 and 268 from Golders Green Station and these take you to Inverforth House (Stop L), close to Hampstead Pergola. It takes about 2 minutes to walk from the bus stop to the Pergola.

Bus 210 from Golders Green Station headed towards Finsbury Park. Journey time is 9 minutes.

Bus 268 from Golders Green Station headed towards South Hampstead. Journey time is 10 minutes.

2.3 | Parking

The nearest car park to Hampstead Pergola is Jack Straw’s, offering 60 spaces and it is an uncovered car park. It takes 8 minutes to walk from the car park to Hampstead Pergola.

Address: City of London
Jack Straw’s
12 North End Way
London
NW3 7ES

Charges

  • 0-2 hours: £5
  • 2-4 hours: 10
  • each additional hour: £9

Parking with a valid Blue Badge is free.

**Prices correct at time of writing: June 2022

Pay with RingGo

Pay with RingGo (external link) or call 020 7110 0000 and quote location number 79453.

3 | Is Hampstead Pergola free?

Admission to this hidden splendour is free throughout the year.

4 | Opening times:

Hampstead Heath Hill Garden and Pergola is open from 8:30 a.m. to 1 hour before dusk, or 8:00 p.m. (whichever is earlier).


finally …

Although the Hampstead Heath Hill Garden and Pergola is under the care of the Corporation of London today, the Pergola was not fully restored to its former opulence. It went into slow decline since the death of Lord Leverhulme and remains a shell of its former sparkle. Nonetheless, the Hampstead Pergola offers history, nature views, beautiful fairytale settings in the summer sunshine and at any time of the year. Moreover, this faded splendour is unique in characterdistinctive, moody, eerie and absolutely amazing at the same time.

So, if you haven’t visited the Hill Garden and Pergola yet, pack your picnic basket, with sandwiches, a red, white or rosé, and head over for a mid-morning stroll while we have perfect weather. It is worth the time and the trip.


Travel resources at a Glance

Planning your dream vacation? Excellent! Here are all the Resources and Practical information you need for your self-guided or guided vacation.

Legal entry/Tourist travel Visa

Check Visa requirements with iVisa, a leading independent company in the travel documentation industry.

Flights

I have a few choices. Search Google flights because they offer very competitive prices. You could also try Opodo for cheap airfares. For special experiences, go to On the Beach and Jet2Holidays. My all time favourite has been Qatar Airways for long-haul flights for the comfort and their first-class service. I use British Airways as well. For all other global deals >> kiwi.com

Accommodations

My favourite website for booking hotels is booking.com – I love their flexible cancellation policy which means I’m covered till the last minute. I also like that the totals show up for the whole stay so it helps me budget better. Other favourites of mine are Millennium & Copthorne Group of Hotels and Resorts for their consistent high quality accommodations and service. You could also take a look at the Radisson Hotels chain that caters for all budget. For accommodations in UK that has a personal touch and affordable luxury, stay at Hotel du Vin.

Unique experiences & tours

My all time go to resource for unique experiences and tours is Get your Guide. I am also a fan of Viator for their special deals. You shall find suggestions on recommended tours sprinkled throughout TTS on each experience I write about.

Travel insurance

Never travel without travel insurance and never overpay for travel insurance! I use and recommend World Nomads for your travel insurance needs. They even insure on the go. Before purchasing any any travel policy, read through the terms to ensure that the plan is right for you and your trip.

Travel essentials

Never travel without these! I use and fully endorse all the products on this page but especially: High powered wireless power bank, Universal travel adapter and unlimited portable pocket wifi.


I sincerely hope that this article about the Hampstead Pergola in London is helpful to you in discovering more of the charming city London. If so, please use the links to book your train tickets, activities and related visits. We earn a commission from qualified purchases and accommodation stays at zero cost to you. As always, we appreciate your continued support.

Have a splendid time at Hampstead Pergola.

xx


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12 Famous Parks in London

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A Guide for Visitors to Explore 12 Famous Parks in London

From the evergreen sweeping slopes of Primrose Hill and the exotic Rose Garden at Regent’s Park to the hidden gems of the royal gardens at Kensington Palace, London is a city that offers an exceptionally vast Royal Parks and exquisite green spaces as a welcome break from the busy city. Here is our selection of 12 famous parks in London and ways to explore these serene green spaces.


This article and related articles are sprinkled with affiliate links. We may earn a commission from qualified purchases and bookings at no additional cost to you. These links have no influence on the editorial content we produce.


famous parks in London | timelesstravelsteps.com

Travelling to London? You may appreciate the following best read articles about London also:


Our selection of the 12 famous parks in London:

1 | Battersea Park London

Battersea Park, one of the famous parks in London is located on the South Bank of River Thames. Occupying an area of 200 acres, this Victorian park was built between 1854 and 1870. Home to a large lake, ecological areas, Pump House Gallery, sports facilities and the famous London Peace Pagoda.

The London Peace Pagoda in Battersea Park is one of the 80 Peace Pagodas around the globe. The Peace Pagodas were built as part of an advocacy for world peace and non violence by the Buddhist monk Nichidatsu Fujii (1885 — 1985) who was the founder of Nipponzan-Myohoji Buddhist Order.

Standing at 33.5 metres, the Battersea Peace Pagoda has four bronze statues of the Buddha symbolising the four characteristics of Buddha’s life — birth, contemplation towards enlightment, teaching and death. The Pagoda is located in a serene location overlooking the Thames River, surrounded by lush trees and green lawns.

Good to Know Information about Battersea Park London

Open: 10:00 A.M. — 5:30 P.M. during Spring and Summer;

10:00 A.M. — 4:30 P.M. or dusk during Autumn and Winter

Where: Battersea Park, Battersea Park SW11 4NJ

Pedestrians can access Battersea Park via Albert Bridge Road, Prince of Wales Drive and Queenstown Road (SW11 4NJ)

2 | Kensington Palace Gardens London

Kensington Palace Gardens is a hidden gem! A delightful beautiful garden is located next to Kensington Palace, an 18th century wonder. This historic palace is used by the present day younger royal family. Located in the prestigious Kensington neighbourhood, Kensington Palace Gardens is open to the public and is one of the top destinations for Londoners to escape to amidst their daily chaotic city life.

Although Kensington Palace Gardens can be visited at any time of the year, it is best experienced in spring and summer, while a visit in the coolness of the autumn chill has its own charm.

Where: Kensington Gardens, London W8 4PX

Getting to Kensington Gardens

Kensington Palace is located within easy walking distance of the following train stations:

>10 mins from High Street Kensington Underground Station

>10 mins from Queensway Underground Station 

>25 mins from London Paddington 

>22 mins from London Marylebone

>40 Mins from London Victoria

TTS Best Tips:

Take a very special journey in the royal footsteps and walk around the beautiful grounds with a local expert. You will be given interesting insights into the history of the royal family and see the statue of the late Princess Diana in the sunken garden. Afterwards, enjoy Britain’s most loved drink, tea like never before — a traditional British high tea.

Check availability of this unique activity to Kensington Palace Gardens and High Tea and book your experience.

NB: Entry to Kensington Palace is not included in this activity.

Recommended read: Kensington Palace Gardens — An Idyllic Getaway from Chaos of the City


Timeless Travel Steps Best Tips:

Kensington Palace Entrance Ticket

Kensington Palace: Kings Grand Staircase - The first link to the King's State Apartments. The walls surrounding the staircase was painted by William Kent in 1720, depicting George I's court.
Famous parks in London | Kensington Palace: Kings Grand Staircase – The first link to the King’s State Apartments. The walls surrounding the staircase was painted by William Kent in 1720, depicting George I’s court.

Visit the historic Kensington Palace while you are there. Bathe in the history and opulence of this remarkable 18th century wonder. Learn about the intriguing tales of the state rooms, the beautiful palace apartments, see the room where Queen Victoria was born, the tragic tales of the Stuarts, secret stories and public lives of the royals. Marvel at the mind-blowing architecture of the Cupola Room and the King’s Grand Staircase. Kensington Palace is definitely worth a visit if you like an insight into the royal lives, both past and present.

Book your ticket for a visit to Kensington Palace.

Recommended read: Kensington Palace — Why you should Visit this 18th Century Historical Gem


3 | Hyde Park London

Famous parks in London

Hyde Park is a Grade I listed park and is one of the eight Royal Parks in London. The most popular of green spaces in the City of London, it offers a venue for world class events, concerts and boating activities along with cycle paths, plenty of quiet spaces to relax, unwind and be ‘just be’.

This incredible green space in one of the world’s largest metropolises, is home to famous landmarks such as the Albert Memorial, Serpentine Lake, and the Speaker’s Corner. Hyde Park’s tree-lined avenues and winding walkways make a great escape to wind-down your day.

While anytime of the year is a great time to bathe in the serenity bestowed by this green space, you may want to visit at a specific time of the year to experience the changing seasons. Hyde Park is one place where the changing seasons are best noted, with snowdrops, daffodils and crocuses in early spring to summer and the absolutely beautiful vista of fallen golden, brown honey-coloured leaves in late autumn/fall.

Aside from being one of the famous parks in London, Hyde Park has another important role. Hyde Park London forms a chain beginning from the entrance of Kensington Palace through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, via Hyde Park Corner and through Green Park, past the main entrance to Buckingham Palace.

Open: All day

Where: Hyde Park, London W2 2UH

Getting to Hyde Park:

The nearest Tube Stations are: Victoria, Bond Street, Green Park, Paddington, Knightsbridge, Marble Arch, Hyde Park Corner.


famous parks in London | timelesstravelsteps.com

4 | Green Park London

One of the eight Royal Parks in London, this green oasis was officially named “Green Park” in 1746. Green Park, nestled between Hyde Park to the west and St James Park to the east is a peaceful triangle of open meadows of mature trees and grassland. The lack of flower beds or lakes does not deter Londoners from seeking a quiet retreat from city life.

Located next to Buckingham Palace, Green Park spans nineteen hectares (forty seven acres). It makes a splendid stop for a breather after visiting the nearby landmarks. The popular landmarks here which attract the most visitors are Buckingham Palace, Wellington Arch, and Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace.

Where: Piccadilly, London W1J 9DZ

Getting to Green Park:

Green Park Tube Station is served by Jubilee, Piccadilly and Victoria Lines


Timeless Travel Steps Best Tips on Famous parks in London:

Secret Gardens of London

For an off-the-beaten path experience of the best parks and gardens in London, join a unique small group tour specifically curated for garden lovers and lovers of flowers. This tour typically covers a full day and takes you on a journey to discover some of London’s best kept garden secrets — an experience that goes beyond the usual tourist haunts of the capital city. Added to gardens, flowers and learning about medicinal uses of some of the very interesting plants, you shall also enjoy High Tea at Chelsea Physic Garden.

Check availability and book your space on this unique experience of visiting the Secret Gardens in London.


5 | St James Park London

A charming parkland in the heart of the city, St James Park is the oldest Royal Park in London. Occupying an area of 23 hectares (57 acres), features a large lake and is primarily a wildlife sanctuary. A leisurely stroll through this green oasis allows for swans, geese, ducks and even pelicans.

Take in the spectacular views from the Bridge across the lake where you could see the Big Ben, London Eye and Buckingham Palace. There are several fountains, and statutes along with memorials to discover in St James Park.

At the very heart of the park is Tiffany Fountain. Tiffany Fountain is famous for the magnificent six metre plume of water it sends into the air. On some special occasions, the jet is illuminated in any one of the rainbow colours.

A monument to look out for is the Queen Victoria Memorial that stands in front of Buckingham Palace. At 25 metres, this incredible monument commemorates the passing of Queen Victoria in 1901.

St James’ Park borders Buckingham Palace to the west and you may also want to experience the Birdcage Walk and the Horse Guards Parade.

Make your way along The Mall, and if you are here at the right time, you may catch the moment for the Changing of Guard, a ceremonial event where soldiers stand down and are replaced by the next group.

More on “Changing of Guard” below.


6 | Regent’s Park London

Regent’s Park, named after Prince Regent who later became King George IV is a favourite haven for Londoners and visitors alike. The ample green space in this famous park of London encompasses 170 hectares (410 acres). A truly scenic park offering tree lined paths, children’s playgrounds and sports facilities.

The highlight of the park must surely be the award winning Queen Mary’s Rose Garden. The Rose Garden boasts the largest collection of roses in London with a reputed 12,000 roses planted here.

A serene Japanese Garden Island, enjoys a secluded area in the park, an open-air theatre for musical entertainment, boating lake, walking trails and a Zoo. Yes, London’s ZSL Zoo is within Regent’s Park.

Good to Know Information about Regent’s Park London | Famous parks in London | Famous Parks in London

Open: 5:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M

Where: Regent’s Park London, NW1 4NR

Getting to Regent’s Park London

Nearest Tube Station is Regent’s Park on the Bakerloo Line

Recommended read: Why Regent’s Park is the #1 Garden with a total Zen

7 | Kew Gardens London

Kew Gardens is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has been home to botanic collections since the 18th century.

“Home to the largest living plant collection on earth” Kew Gardens is a haven for nature lovers! This one hundred thirty two hectare (three hundred twenty-six acres) is a grand showpiece of landscaped gardens and architectural features. Home to flora and fauna from around the globe, Kew Gardens plays a crucial role in the fields of scientific, economic, botany and ecology.

Strolling through the Botanic gardens, it is easy to forget that you are in England. There are plants and trees from varying climate zones, ranging from desert to Alps. Asian magnolias in full bloom, Japanese cherry trees and in the lush Victorian Palm House, papayas!

The Princess of Wales Conservatory is another beyond-believe space at Kew Gardens. The gigantic waterlillies are at least a couple of metres in diameter! The iconic Palm House houses the oldest tree-fern, known as Encephalartos altensteinii which was brought from Africa to England in 1775, believed to be the oldest surviving plant in the world.

Pristine flower beds, exotic flowers, Victorian glasshouses and their winter spectacular makes Kew Gardens a perfect destination throughout the year.

Kew Gardens London is an unmissable destination for everyone, both young and old alike.

Good to Know Information for Kew Gardens | Famous parks in London

Open: From 10:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M, in summer

Where: Kew Gardens, Kew, Richmond, London, TW9 3AE

How to get to Kew Gardens, Richmond, London

1 | By train

Kew Bridge station is 800m from Elizabeth Gate, via Kew Bridge. South West Trains run services from Waterloo, via Vauxhall and Clapham Junction. There is no level access at Kew Bridge.

Richmond station has lift and level access. Take 65 bus (in the direction of Ealing Broadway) to Lion or Victoria Gate.

2 | By tube

Kew Gardens station is 500m from Victoria Gate. It is in Zone 3 and is served by the District Line (Richmond branch) and London Overground.

There is no level access from the westbound platform. It is possible to continue one stop to Richmond and catch a tube back to use the eastbound platform which does have level access.

Timeless Travel Steps Best Tips:

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Pre book your visit — Kew Gardens Entrance Ticket

Kew Gardens is fully wheelchair accessible.

Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Registered disability assistance dogs are allowed in the gardens.

8 | Richmond Park London

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Richmond Park, the largest of London’s Royal Park covering an area of 2500 acres, has some of the best wildlife. Designated as a National Nature Reserve, the park is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a European Special Area of Conservation.

The wide open spaces and grasslands are an important area for wildlife, such as rare species of birds, beetles, bats, deer herds and wildflowers.

There are about 650 wild deer within Richmond Park. Although historically the park was created for deer hunting by Charles I in the 17th century, these days the deer are mostly home across the pond, wandering delightfully in their natural surroundings.

Richmond Park London makes a perfect day out for nature lovers and sports enthusiasts. You could try power kiting, horse riding, golf or off-road cycling along the Tamsin Trail.

Good to Know Information about Richmond Park

Open: Typically open 24 hours except November to early December and February to early March, when pedestrian gates are open at 7:30 A.M. and closes at 8:00 P.M.

Where: Richmond Park, Richmond, TW10 5HS

How to get to Richmond Park London:

The nearest Tube/Train station is Richmond Station, served by National Rail or District Line. From the station, take bus #371 or #67 to the pedestrian gate at Petersham.

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9 | St Dunstan in the East London

An unusual but a beautiful park set amongst ruins of war, St Dunstan in the East offers a world away from the hustle and bustle of London city life.

Tucked away on a quiet street between Tower Hill and Monument, is the ruins of an old Gothic church that has a rich history. Often referred to as ‘London’s Secret Garden’, plants are allowed to reclaim their rightful place among the ruins, giving St Dunstan in the East a special, natural and quirky feel.

St Dunstan in the East is truly a charming little space where tranquility is experienced at any given time.

Good to Know Information

Open: 8:00 A.M to 7:00 P.M

Where: St Dunstan in the East

St Dunstan’s Hill, London EC3R 5DD

Getting to St Dunstan in the East:

Nearest Stations are: Monument, Bank, Fenchurch Street and Tower Hill

Highly recommended read: St Dunstan in the East — 8 Reasons to Visit this Serenity amongst Ruins

10 | Holland Park London

Holland Park spans 54 acres and is the largest park in the affluent Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. There are plenty of things to do here including tennis, football, cricket and netball along with health walks which are regularly scheduled here.

Holland Park is famously known for its dahlias. The Holland House Garden has proudly grown dahlias year by year ever since these beautiful flowers were first successfully grown in England (1814).

There is yet another reason to visit Holland Park — an oasis of calm offered by the uniquely landscaped Japanese style Kyoto Garden, perfect for quiet reflection and relaxation. Tiered waterfalls, stone lanterns, Japanese maple trees, a pond full of beautiful koi carp. There are also a couple of peacocks wandering around. It is hard to imagine that you are in London when visiting Kyoto Garden, the zen here is incredible.

Good to Know Information about Holland Park London | Famous parks in London

Open: 7:30 A.M to 8:00 P.M. (or closes half an hour before dusk in winter)

Where: Holland Park,

Ilchester Pl, London, W8 6LU

How to get to Holland Park:

Nearest Stations are Holland Park, Kensington High Street, and Nottinghill Gate.

11 | Greenwich Park London

A much loved park by Londoners, Greenwich Park is one of the oldest in London and has a rich history. Established in the 15th century, Greenwich Park offers many things to do in and around the park or secluded spots if you wish to steal moments to yourself to bathe in the serenity of the gentle breeze and calmness.

Enjoy panoramic views over the Docklands and the City of London from atop Greenwich Hill. The views are absolutely spectacular at any time of day.

Visit the Queen’s House, play hopscotch on the Meridian, watch the Red Ball fall, explore British History, have tea in the Cutty Sark and discover the quaint pretty town of Greenwich. A visit to Greenwich will typically involve a day.

Good to Know Information about Greenwich Park London | Famous parks in London

Where: Greenwich Park, London SE10 8EJ

Open: From 6:00 A.M to 6:00 P.M (January & February), and 8:00 P.M from the start of British Summer Time.

Getting to Greenwich Park London:

By Train to Greenwich Station;

By Tube (Jubilee Line) to North Greenwich Station;

By Docklands Light Railway to Cutty Sark Station.

Recommended read: Greenwich in One Day – 45 Experiences and more to cherish

12 | Hampstead Heath London

Hampstead Heath is London’s beloved green space. Situated a little out of central London, Hampstead Heath offers green spaces with best views and highest points including Parliament Hill, Golders Hill Park, a lido that is open 365 days, swimming pond, sports facilities, playground along with an extraordinary pergola and hill garden. Added to stunning vistas are the natural habitat of the expansive grassland and ancient woodland.

Recommended read: Hampstead Pergola Serene Haven — includes a video for a sneak peek into the grandeur of run-down terraces.

Good to know Information about Hampstead Heath

Where: Hampstead Heath, West Gate Lodge, Hampstead Lane, Hampstead Heath. NW3 7JP

Open:

Hampstead Heath is open 24 hours 7-days a week;

Golders Hill Park opens at 7:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. during autumn and winter / 10:00 P.M. in the summer;

Hampstead Pergola and Hill Garden opens at 8:30 A.M. and closes at 3:15 during the winter months and 8:00 P.M. in the summer.

How to get to Hampstead Heath London:

TRAIN (OVERGROUND)

Take the Train to:

Gospel Oak, to the south east, 1 minute walk

Hampstead Heath, to the south west, on the edge of the Heath

TUBE

Take the Northern Line to:

Hampstead, to the west, 10 minutes walk

Golders Green, to the north for Golders Hill Park and the Heath Extension, 10 minutes walk

Tufnell Park or Kentish town, to the south east, both around 14 minutes walk

For more information and a map of the area, go to Hampstead Heath.

ADD TO YOUR FAMOUS PARKS IN LONDON ITINERARY

1 | The Ceremonial Event of the “Changing of Guard”

The dazzling Changing of Guard is a much cherished tradition of the British monarchy. It is the time of day where the time honoured tradition of the Queen’s Household Cavalry change their shifts, when the palace guards are replaced by the next team of guards. This ceremonial event takes place at 11:00 A.M. and is free to watch.

It is a popular event for tourists and there are crowd control measures in place for safety.

There is no single spot for best views because the ceremony spans three locations — Buckingham Palace, St James’ Palace and Wellington Barracks. Hence, it is impossible to view the entire Guard Mount.

The following information will support your planning to experience the Changing of Guard.

How to experience the Changing of Guard at Buckingham Palace:

Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace takes place at 11:00 A.M. on the following days:

August to May — Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays;

June and July — Daily

The timings to guide your visit:

>10:43 Old Guard leaves St James’s Palace;

>10:57 New Guard leaves Wellington Barrack;

11:00 Official Start Time

>11:10 St James’s Palace relief leaves Buckingham Palace;

>11:25 Relieved sentries leave St James’s Palace;

>11:40 Old Guard leaves Buckingham Palace;

>11:45 St James’s Palace Guard leaves Buckingham Palace.


Timeless Travel Steps Best Tips:

You may not need to join a guided tour to witness the Changing of Guard but as the highly popular event of Changing of Guard takes places along three different locations, we suggest the following three activities if you wish to end up at the right place at the right time, for best views and not much is missed. Select any to best suit your itinerary:

1 | Combine a visit to see the Changing of Guard and afterwards, explore the very grand State Rooms at Buckingham Palace on a rare occasion when it is open to the public — Changing of the Guard and Buckingham Palace Tour.

2 | Watch the ceremonial event of the Changing of Guard and explore the city of Westminster on a walking tour with a guide — Changing of Guard and Westminster Walking Tour

3 | Get closer to the dazzling action with a guide where you can follow the guards journey to Buckingham Palace on foot —Changing of the Guard Tour.


2 | The Iconic London Eye

Along the River Thames in Southbank neighbourhood stands the iconic London Eye, one of the world’s tallest cantilevered observation wheels at 135 metres (443 ft). Famously known also as the Millennium Wheel, it is the most popular paid tourist attraction with almost 4 million visitors a year.

The ride on the Eye takes about 30 minutes, with captivating views of London’s skyline such as Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower of London. On a clear day, you may get to see as far as 40 kilometres!

Good to know Information on the London Eye for your famous parks in London itinerary:

Where: The London Eye, Riverside Building, County Hall, London SE1 7PB

Open: From 10:00 A.M. – 6:00 P.M.

Nearest Tube Station:

Waterloo, Charing Cross, Embankment and Westminster.

Timeless Travel Steps Best Tips to Experience London:

London Eye with Fast Track Option

Join the fast track boarding and enjoy the gradual rotation of the wheel. Take in the mesmerising 360-degree view of captivating London and the city’s landmarks for 30 minutes.

Alternatively, you may want to see more of London for less by combining an experience of the London Eye with Big Bus and Thames River Cruise.

Recommended read: 18 Important Facts you would love to Know about the London Eye.


RELATED ATTRACTIONS IN LONDON WHILE ENJOYING THE FAMOUS PARKS IN LONDON

London has so many things to do that picking the best to do is pretty tough! However, if you are in town, enjoying the famous parks in London, there are some landmarks that are truly unmissable because these iconic sites are the roots to London as it is today. Here are two that may make a great start to your adventure in London:

1 | The Oldest Gothic Cathedral in London

Visit the oldest Gothic cathedral in London — Southwark Cathedral first established in 606 AD. While here, enjoy the cultural fusion of gastronomy at Borough Market, located at its doorstep!

2 | Tower of London

Tower of London — the most famous fortress in the United Kingdom and where the story of London began with William the Conqueror in 1066. Unveil the secrets, tragedies, torture, conspiracies, unsolved murders that took place in the Tower during the centuries along with centuries old traditions still practised today.

For more about London, navigate to Many Chapters in the Charming City London.


I sincerely hope that this article about the famous parks in London along with the recommendations for your itinerary in London is helpful for your London visit. If so, please use the links to book your activities, visits and accommodations. We earn a commission from qualified purchases and stay at zero cost to you. As always, we appreciate your continued support.

Have a super awesome time discovering London.

xoxo




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