It is a sunny week end before the long cold winter, so why not enjoy a day out?
Saturdays in London, damnation of the damned. Londoners in week end, tourists everywhere, no places to breath, to hide. From Oxford Circus to Camden, From Leicester Square to Shoreditch, from The City to Canary wharf, streets are overcrowded everywhere. So why not take a break of civilization and visit a more quiet, refreshing, resourcing place.
A lovely FREE!!! place to enjoy nature.
Part of the Royal Parks are the Kensington Gardens.
Kensington Gardens covers 260 acres and was originally part of Hyde Park.
The Gardens with their magnificent trees are the setting for Kensington Palace, the choice of William III and Mary II for their London home. Queen Victoria was born in Kensington Palace and lived there until she became queen in 1837.
It was Queen Caroline, wife of George II, who in 1728 moulded the gardens to their present form by creating the Serpentine and the Long Water from the Westbourne stream. For most of the 18th century the gardens were closed to the public. They were opened gradually but only to the respectably dressed.
In a long series of improvements Queen Victoria commissioned the Italian Gardens and the Albert Memorial.
One of the best loved features in the Gardens is the bronze statue of Peter Pan. This charming piece features Peter Pan standing on a pedestal covered with climbing squirrels, rabbits and mice. The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground and a seven-mile Memorial Walk, which also goes through Hyde Park, Green Park and St James’s Park, were both opened in 2000. The Elfin Oak is a gnarled, partially hollow, stump, originally from Richmond Park. It is carved with the figures of fairies, elves and various small animals following the contours of the wood.
Outside Kensington Palace stands a statue of Queen Victoria sculpted by her daughter, Princess Louise, to celebrate 50 years of her mother’s reign.
Attractions at Kensington Garden:
The Albert Memorial
Prince Albert – Queen Victoria’s husband – died of typhoid fever at the age of 42. Soon after his death it was determined that a national memorial be created to recognise the British public’s deep sense of loss.
Influenced by the series of 13th Century Eleanor Crosses (Charing Cross perhaps being the most famous) and other statues in Edinburgh and Manchester, the Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens is one of the grandest high-Victorian gothic extravaganzas anywhere.
Officially titled the Prince Consort National Memorial, it celebrates Victorian achievement and Prince Albert’s passions and interests. Marble figures representing Europe, Asia, Africa and America stand at each corner of the memorial, and higher up are further figures representing manufacture, commerce, agriculture and engineering. Yet further up, near the top, are gilded bronze statues of the angels and virtues.
All around the base of the memorial the Parnassus frieze depicts celebrated painters, poets sculptors, musicians and architects, reflecting Albert’s enthusiasm for the arts. There are 187 exqusitely carved figures in the frieze, and the tour gives you exclusive access inside the memorial railings, so you can appreciate the craftsmanship up close.
The Italian Garden
The Italian Gardens is a 150-year-old ornamental water garden located on the north side of Kensington Gardens near Lancaster Gate. It is believed to have been created as a gift from Prince Albert to his beloved Queen Victoria.
The Italian Gardens consist of four main basins with central rosettes, all elaborately carved in Carrara marble, and the famous Portland stone and white marble Tazza Fountain. These are surrounded by intricately carved stone statues and urns. The urns have five main designs – the Swan’s breast, woman’s head, ram’s head, dolphin and oval.
It is situated at the head of The Long Water – the river which flows through Kensington Gardens into Hyde Park where it becomes The Serpentine. It is Grade II listed by English Heritage as a site of particular importance.
The Princess Diana Memorial Playground
A huge wooden pirate ship is the amazing centrepiece of the Diana, Princess of Wales’ Memorial Playground. This children’s wonderland opened on the 30th June 2000, in memory of the late Princess. Located next to her Kensington Palace home, the playground is a fitting tribute for a Princess who loved the innocence of childhood.
Over 750,000 children enjoy this free playground each year. Kids love to play, explore, dash about, and let their imaginations soar in this magical space. There is a sensory trail, teepees, a beach around the pirate ship and various toys and play sculptures; all set against a lush backdrop of trees and plants. There’s plenty of seating so the grownups can relax too.
The design has created an area where less able and able-bodied children can play together and seeks to provide for the physical, creative, social and educational development of your children. Inspired by the stories of Peter Pan, the playground encourages children to explore and follow their imaginations, learning whilst they play.
The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk
The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk takes visitors through four of the most beautiful parks in the world:
- St James’s Park
- Green Park
- Hyde Park
- Kensington Gardens.
The seven-mile-long walk, charted by 90 plaques set in the ground, takes you within sight of famous buildings and locations associated with the Princess during her life.
The Arch by Henry Moore
The Arch is a six-metre high Roman travertine sculpture positioned on the north bank of the Long Water. It was presented by the artist Henry Moore to the nation for siting in Kensington Gardens in 1980 – two years after his eightieth-birthday exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery, London.
The Arch is made from seven travertine stones weighing a total of 37 tonnes. The stones were sourced from a quarry in northern Italy.