How to make the most of Kensington Gardens
When making the most of Kensington Gardens, make sure you take some time in different areas of the park. Like the other 8 royal parks of London, and Holland Park, a 13 minute bus ride and walk 13 more minutes from Stanley Gardens. There are so many things to do that you can spend your whole day here.
This is a suggested route, but feel free to stop either in Lancaster Gate, Queensway, Marble Arch, and Hyde Park Corner Tube Station, the four stations surrounding the two parks. As Hyde Park is adjacent to Kensington Gardens, I will include things to do in Hyde Park too. So here are 7 things to do in Kensington Gardens.
Start your walk from South Kensington tube station and walk towards Cromwell Road where you will see the Natural History Museum, the V&As (Victoria and Albert Museum), and the Science Museum. Walk through Exhibition Road up to Kensington Gore. You will see 14th Century Tudor buildings including the Royal College of Music and the Royal Albert Hall. Take some time here for pictures. Between April – May, it looks sunny but still windy with rain in between, so wear a thick coat over a thin coat, that way, if it gets sunnier, you can take it off and put it back on when it gets windy and rainy again.
1. Royal Albert Hall
Behind the Royal Albert Hall, you will see long white steps to the big and tall Albert Memorial. We look like ants underneath. Be careful of crossing the road here, it’s busy. A few minutes’ walk away from the Albert Memorial statue is Kensington Palace and the Round Pond, but as I started my walk to the right of the statue, I went through the cherry blossom tree.
Kensington Gore, South Kensington
2. Cherry Blossom Tree, Kensington Gardens
Cross the road and go through the pink cherry blossom tree on your right. The cherry blossom tree only comes out between spring and summer depending on the weather as when it rains, it can ruin the beauty.
The Long Water Lake, Kensington Gardens (further up, in the mid point of the horizontal line, between the trees, you will see a dot of Kensington Palace)
2. Serpentine Gallery
Walk through Kensington Gardens and you will see the Serpentine Gallery, a small intimate art gallery. It’s closed due to COVID, but when it opens, I will post a review on it. From Kensington Palace, it takes another 12 minutes to go back to the Long Water where we are heading now. Since you started walking from the Serpentine Gallery, the Long Water is only 5 minutes’ walk.
3. The Long Water and feeding the green parakeets
Walk to your right and you will see the Long Water where you can feed the green parakeets and see white and black swans swimming peacefully. The parakeets will sit on your hand when they feel like it. You just have to be patient. Walk further up towards the Peter Pan statue, it’s not a big attraction, but it’s a nice little statue of him. Further up you will see the Italian Gardens, and usually, you will see lots of tourists sitting in this area, but because of COVID, it was very peaceful.
Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens
Green parakeets in Kensington Gardens
4. The Italian Garden, Kensington Gardens
You will feel like stepping inside the Garden of Eden. You can hear the birds chirping and the rushing noise of the water fountains in the middle. There is a mid-size house where you can sit in the shade, and you can also sit around the Italian Gardens overlooking the Long Water.
On the other side of the park, you can sit on the deck chair overlooking the Italian Gardens. The prices are £2 for 1 hour, £3 for 2 hours, £4 for 3 hours, £5 for 4 hours, and all day for £9.50. I think that most people sit there for a maximum of 1 or 2 hours, and yes, even if there are no ticket wardens around, they will come to you, you won’t get away with it easily. If you don’t want to pay, just leave, and sit on the grass. If you go towards the gate, between Lancaster Gate and Bayswater Road, near the caretaker’s house, you will see the pet cemetery hidden inside the bushes. This is to show the love of man’s best friend. It’s closed to the public, and you can miss it, but it’s a hidden gem. I feel it’s very touching to have your pet buried in Hyde Park. The love of your pet is like your family, and we are a nation of pet lovers after all.
5. Serpentine Lido, Kensington Gardens
Bluebird Boat Hire
Walk up along the Long Water until you reach a tunnel. You will see the other side of the large lake, Serpentine Lido. It’s peaceful during the week. You can paddle on blue boats with your friends and family, but the queue can be more than an hour during summer. It’s £10 for half an hour, and £12 for an hour. I don’t think it’s worth the money because the paddle boats can be tiring to paddle, so you could easily get irritated and not enjoy yourself. That’s just my experience. If you go up the bridge over the Long Water, you’ll see a great view of the lake with the paddle boats. If you cross over the bridge here, you will come across Princess Diana Memorial Fountain where you can splash your feet in the water. The water is cold, but children and adults usually love it. It’s to keep Princess Diana’s memory with us, and her love of children. It’s closed now due to COVID, but I’m certain that they will open once everything is settled. I’ll keep you updated.
Once you go past the paddle boats, you will see the car park on your left. Walk past the car park and you will see an area of the park where there’s no one there. You could still hear the traffic in the background, but don’t let that put you off if you want to get away from people. You will already be in Hyde Park by this time, and this will be the end of Kensington Gardens.
Things to do in Hyde Park
In Hyde Park, you will see the Old Police House, the Ranger’s House, and an open-spaced area full of greenery and pathways going towards Speaker’s Corner and Marble Arch. Speaker’s Corner is where you can talk about anything you want no matter how sensitive it is, from religion, politics, and current affairs in the UK. Usually, there are police guarding the area.
If you go towards Hyde Park Corner tube station from Hyde Park, you will see the Rose Garden, Knightsbridge for Harrods and Harvey Nichols, Buckingham Palace, the Green Park, and St. James’ Park. Although it’s adjacent to each other, you’d have to take the bus to get there, it’s a long walk.
Next, head up to Marble Arch. Marble Arch is not a big tourist attraction, no one really takes notice of it, but people do go through it to get to the other side. From here, Marble Arch is connected to Oxford Street, Regent Street, and Tottenham Court Road. Don’t walk from Oxford Street to Regent Street and Tottenham Court Road, it’s a long way away from Marble Arch. Take the bus or tube. Buses are only £1.55 per ride on your Oyster Card, Contactless Card, or Google Pay. Around this area, you’d be in the West End. Read my West End walk for making the most out of the West End area.
Going back to Kensington Gardens
6. Kensington Palace
Kensington Palace was where Queen Victoria and Princess Diana lived. The tour is £17, but for £17, I don’t think it’s worth it because it contains costumes the Queen and Princess Diana wore on their wedding day. It also contains similar British architecture to Buckingham Palace State Rooms. Once you’ve visited Buckingham Palace State Rooms, I think you can give Kensington Palace a pass. It’s better to spend time in the park.
The outside space behind the palace is stunning, but there’s no point in buying a ticket to just go in the garden. The garden is similar to Kensington Gardens anyway.
7. The Round Pond
When you get off outside Queensway tube station, you will see Hilton Hyde Park Hotel, walk towards the park, and you will see a wide-open pathway going towards Kensington Palace, and the Diana Memorial Playground where children can climb up a pirate ship. As you reach Kensington Palace and the wide Round Pond, you will see several Egyptian geese, geese, swans, and many other bird species relaxing, swimming, and squawking. You can sit by the several benches admiring nature and take a break.
From here, you will see a glimpse of the Albert Memorial Statue. Walk up and this is where your walk will end. There is also a toilet here for 20p, and you must pay by card as no cash payments are accepted. You can also start your walk from here and start from Kensington Palace and the Round Pond and go towards the Italian Gardens for 10 minutes.
If you want to check out Portobello Road Market, get out of the entrance you can from, past Kensington Palace, when you see Queensway station, it will be a 6 minute walk to Notting Hill Gate Tube Station and walk another 21 minutes to Portobello Road Market. From Notting Hill Gate Station, you’re not able to take the bus to the market since it’s in the side roads. Alternatively, take the bus 52 or 452 which will take you to Portobello Road in 20 minutes. Check out the Portobello Road Market website to find out more on opening times, what you can expect to find there and many more.
So that’s it, guys. If you have any questions regarding this post, please feel free to contact me on Facebook or follow me on social media.
Right now, please be safe and take care!!