The Palace Gardens

An intimate, tranquil and secluded oasis

An intimate, tranquil and secluded oasis

When

  • Open daily

Ticketing information

You do not need a ticket to enjoy the Kensington Palace Gardens. However, if you would like to explore inside the palace you will need to purchase an admission ticket. 

Free Buy Kensington Palace tickets

The Sunken Garden

The beautiful Sunken Garden was planted in 1908, transforming part of the gardens previously occupied by potting sheds into a tranquil ornamental garden of classical proportions. It was modelled on a similar garden at Hampton Court Palace and celebrated a style of gardening seen in the 18th century.

The garden is terraced with paving and ornamental flower beds, surrounding an ornamental pond with fountains formed from reused 18th century water cisterns retrieved from the palace.

Today, the garden continues the tradition of rotational flower displays in the spring and summer. Vibrant colours and exotic planting are on display from April to October when the garden is looking its best. In the spring, tulips, wallflowers and pansies bloom while in the summer months geraniums, cannas, begonias and many more provide the vivid colour.

Cradle Walk

An arched arbour of red-twigged lime, the walk surrounds the Sunken Garden with arched viewpoints equally spaced along the sides. In the summer, this shady tunnel provides the perfect place to view the bright colours in the Sunken Garden to the north or the re-landscaped gardens to the south.

The trees have been coppiced, or stooled, meaning that they have been cut back to the ground. This preserves the original tree stock and allows new stems to be trained over the new framework of the bower.

Some people will remember the colloquial name 'Nanny Walk' as this beautiful spot was a favoured meeting point for the many nannies in Kensington.

Vines and planting across Cradle Walk in the gardens of Kensington Palace
The Orangery at Kensington Palace surrounded by the gardens. The Orangery was previously used as to house plants in the winter months but is now used a restaurant and wedding venue.

Formal gardens

Kensington Gardens began life as a King's playground; for over 100 years, the gardens were part of Hyde Park and hosted Henry VIII's huge deer chase.

When William and Mary established the palace in 1689, they began to create a separate park. Mary commissioned a palace garden of formal flower beds and box hedges. This style was Dutch and designed to make William, who came from Holland, feel at home.

The diarist, John Evelyn, described the gardens as 'very delicious'. On 2 September 1705 he wrote 'I was able to go take the aire, as far as Kensington, where I saw that house... & the plantation about it, to my great admiration and Refreshment...'

When Anne became Queen in 1702, she created an English-style garden. The Orangery was added in 1704, an elaborate greenhouse built in the style of an elegant palace to protect Anne's citrus trees from the harsh frosts of winter.

Anne also recognised the Orangery’s beautiful garden setting and graceful architecture made it a perfect venue for fashionable court entertaining away from the chaos of 'town'.

From 1728, Queen Caroline began to transform the 242 acres of Kensington Gardens into the park we know today. She created the Serpentine boating lake and the Long Water, as well as the Broad Walk and round pond. These are now in Kensington Gardens and looked after by The Royal Parks.

For most of the 18th century the gardens were closed to the public except on Saturdays and only to the 'respectably dressed'. The intriguing garden was admired by Samuel Pepys, amongst others, as 'a mighty fine cool place... with a great layer of water in the middle'.

Live Interpreter dressed as Sir Walter Raleigh stood on Tower Green.
Families Highlights

Meet Sir Walter Raleigh in a live performance and family activities to mark the 400th anniversary of his execution

20-28 October 2018

Tower of London

11.00, 13.00 and 15.00

The Beauchamp Tower, looking south towards an arrow loop window. A large wooden cross positioned on the floor can be partially seen in the foreground. 

The Beauchamp Tower was built between 1275-81 by King Edward I (1239-1307). It is named after Thomas Beauchamp, 12th Earl of Warwick who was imprisoned in the tower in 1397, accused of high treason.
Things to see

Learn why people ended up as prisoners in the Tower of London, in the very rooms where some of them were held.

Open daily

Tower of London

A gardener attends to the Great Vine under its green branches at Hampton Court Palace
Things to see

Listed in 2005 as the world's longest grape vine, the Great Vine at Hampton Court Palace is a fantastic spectacle.

Open daily

Hampton Court Palace

Picture of our Royal Victoria bone china tall mug - gold, silver and white

Royal Victoria bone china tall mug

Enjoy an afternoon tea party with our exquisitely designed Royal Victoria tall mug. Made in the UK from bone china, the design is inspired by Queen Victoria's Honitons lace wedding flounce which she wore for her wedding.

£22.99

A handmade luxury Christmas tree ornament of the Kew Pagoda made from fabric and with tiny pearls woven into it

Kew Pagoda luxury embroidered hanging decoration

A handmade luxury Christmas tree ornament made from fabric and with tiny pearls woven into it using traditional metal threading techniques.

£17.99

White background. Main image is of a bronze finished garden ornament of a miniature dachshund which is sold in the shops and online.

Dachshund bronze finish garden ornament

This playful bronze effect dachshund will charm any new owner. This fun decorative garden ornament features a miniature dachshund dog standing on its hind legs and is inspired by the history of royal dogs.

£19.99