Gardens, with its magnificent trees, forms the setting for
Kensington Palace, the choice of William III and Mary II who,
in the 17th century, to escape the unhealthy air of Whitehall,
made it their main home. There is an enduring image of
children in Kensington Gardens, playing with model boats on
the Round Pond, or gathered at the Peter Pan statue. The
gardens now have an added draw for children, the hugely
popular Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground, opened
in June 2000. Another royal association is the restored Albert
Memorial, Queen Victoria’s commemoration of the life and work
of her beloved husband, the Prince Consort.
Kensington Gardens once formed
the grounds of Kensington Palace. These attractive gardens
were one of the reasons that William III and Mary II bought
the house when they came to the throne in 1689.
In the early-18th century the gardens were laid out in a Dutch
style, bit now the gardens, which became a public park in
1841, have a more natural appearance. Although Kensington
Gardens merge into Hyde Park to the east they have a different
mood and are particularly good for children.
Just east of the palace is the Round Pond, created in 1728,
and a favorite with model boat enthusiasts. Occasionally the
Round Pond is fit for skating in the winter.
Close to the Long Water, which is a continuation of the
Serpentine stands the famous 'Peter Pan' statue, created by
Sir George Frampton in 1912. Ornamental fountains and statues
lie to the north of here, including Jacob Epstein's 'Rima''.
Henry Moore's 'Arch' dates from 1979.
To the south stands a statue of a horse and rider, known as
'Physical Energy', by the Victorian artist George Frederick
Watts, and nearby is the summer house designed by William Kent
In the north near Lancaster Gate is a dogs' cemetery, which
was started in 1880 by the Duke of Cambridge while mourning
one of his pets.
Features of the gardens include a sunken garden, the Orangery
café, the Serpentine Gallery and the Albert Memorial.