A Stroll Through Kensington Gardens

Kensington Palace GateAfter enjoying a fragrant and satisfying Lebanese dinner on Kensington High Street in London, my husband and I opted to forego the Tube and walk through Kensington Gardens to our serviced apartment in Notting Hill.

One would think that the name “Kensington Gardens” would have alerted me to the presence of Kensington Palace, but no. My trip planning had been targeted towards several of the “big” attractions (e.g., the London Eye, Tower of London, Westminster Abbey), so I was pleasantly surprised when we entered the Gardens from Kensington Road and approached elaborately decorated, black and gold gates at the side of Kensington Palace.

Kensington Palace, Kensington Gardens, London, United KingdomTHE Kensington Palace. Once the home of King William and Queen Mary beginning in 1689. The birthplace of Queen Victoria. The center of English court life until 1760, when the royal family moved to Buckingham Palace. Princess Diana’s home from 1981 until her death in 1997. And today, the residence for members of the Royal Family. A royal residence right there in the park.

Building on Kensington RoadThe beautiful colors of sunset prompted me to take this photo of a building on Kensington Road (just south of, but facing the side of, Kensington Palace). But now I imagine what the building’s occupants must have witnessed over so many years.

Round Pond, Kensington GardensMoving deeper into the Gardens is the Round Pond, which sits east of the Palace. Swans paddled all around the Pond’s edge. This one swan was quite a character. He swam right up to us, then stayed close by. I moved to the right to get a different angle, but he swam right along with me. I moved to the left and the swan followed right along. Okay, friendly swan, I’ll just take your picture. The resulting photo reminds me of Narcissus. Royal swans…what can you do?

Kensington PalaceStanding at the Pond’s edge while facing west provides a great view of Kensington Palace, which recently underwent a two-year, £12 million renovation and is now re-opened for visitors (though only portions of the Palace are accessible to tourists). I would have liked to go inside, but it was after closing time (daily from 10am–6pm at least during the summer). Instead, we were treated to a nearly-people-free exterior experience. With the lights on, the Palace sure looked inviting, but the suited guards at all entry points made it clear that this was not the case, so we wandered by.

Queen Victoria StatueBut not before first visiting the marble statue of Queen Victoria, which was sculpted by the Queen’s sixth child, Princess Louise.

As we continued north on the Broad Walk, which passed in front of the statue, we entered a wooded area where benches lined the walk. My camera could no longer contend with the fading light and thick foliage, so I enjoyed a photo-free stroll with my husband past the Diana, Princess of Wales’ Memorial Playground and out onto Bayswater Road.

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About satnavandcider

An American expat living in England, exploring the United Kingdom and Europe through five senses and a camera lens.
This entry was posted in All Posts, Buildings, London and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to A Stroll Through Kensington Gardens

  1. RMW says:

    In my humble opinion, you didn’t miss much by not paying (£14.50 or $22.60) to see the interior of the palace. It was a major disappointment for me compared to so many other stately homes and historical buildings I have visited in Britain and other countries. My advice, unless you have a major obsession with Princess Diana and just have to see where she lived, is to save your money and be content with enjoying the beautiful Kensington Gardens for free!

  2. Thanks for sharing – it looks like a perfect evening for an after dinner stroll – it looks like you almost had the park to yourselves.

    • Thank for your comment, and sharing was my pleasure. 🙂 We were fortunate to have a very pleasant evening and relatively few people in the area. We wondered if it was so quiet because people were busy with the Olympics. Whatever the reason, it was really nice.

  3. Shutterbug Sage says:

    The swan shot is so serene! Lovely photos, every one!

  4. Lovely…still so envious you are there and….I am here.
    Raye

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