New Gardens and Landscapes
Kensington Palace was once the centrepiece of the wonderful baroque landscape that we know today as Kensington Gardens. The Gardens were designed for King George II and Queen Caroline in the 1720s and 1730s by the royal gardener, Charles Bridgeman. The wide, tree-lined avenues of Bridgeman's plan were all designed to give stunning vistas of the palace. Incredibly, these avenues and other features, such as the Broad Walk and the Round Pond, survive today more or less as Bridgeman intended and George and Caroline might have known them.
However, the need to provide privacy and security for the 20th Century residents of the palace meant that Kensingon Palace became separated from its surrounding park and screened from view by railings and dense planting.
Historic Royal Palaces is restored Kensington Palace's gardens to re-connect the palace with its park and provide a new entrance for visitors, direct from the Broad Walk. The gardens are an important outdoor public space at the heart of London, entirely free to access.
The design for the landscape is by Todd Langstaffe-Gowan, whose vision for Kensington Palace draws on both his flair as a contemporary garden designer and his knowledge as a royal garden historian. There are new lawns and avenues and a maze-like path inspired by the 'wilderness walks' of the 18th century.
Lost views of Kensington Palace have been restored and the design unites the palace with Kensington Gardens. The statue of Queen Victoria, which has stood at Kensington Palace since 1893 has become the centrepiece of the gardens in celebration of the fact that it was Victoria who first opened the gardens to the public.
Courtyards, cafés and places to be
We want to make Kensington Palace a place to be; somewhere people come to relax, to learn and discover the stories of the fascinating people who lived here.
As part of our building work, we created a new courtyard terrace and café, which complements the Orangery, where people can come to enjoy the gardens. This café is situated on the East Front next to the new entrance to the palace.
Education and Outreach Spaces
Our ambition is for Kensington Palace to become a vital place for learning and community.
The facilities provided by the building work at Kensington Palace have allowed Historic Royal Palaces to offer increased opportunities to our local communities in Kensington and Chelsea. The borough is one of the UK's most densely populated and diverse communities, with over 100 languages spoken in its schools.