Kensington Palace Gardens

An intimate, tranquil and secluded oasis

An intimate, tranquil and secluded oasis

When

Open


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

Walk in the footsteps of royalty in the beautiful gardens of Kensington Palace.

Garden highlights

The Sunken Garden looking south west across the pond to the East Front of the palace.

The Sunken Garden

The Sunken Garden was first designed and constructed in 1908 when this part of the gardens was previously occupied by potting sheds and greenhouses. This new layout was modelled on the Pond Garden at Hampton Court Palace and celebrated a formal Edwardian style of gardening incorporating natural materials, herbaceous planting on terraces and water features.

Over time the planting and other soft landscape features has gradually evolved and changed. The garden is terraced with areas of lawn, paving and ornamental flower beds, surrounding a central ornamental pond.

In 2017 the garden was completely re-planted in white flowers for visitors to reflect and celebrate the life of Princess Diana. It took inspiration from Princess Diana’s dresses along with the famous Mario Testino photographs of the Princess. The garden continues to follow this peaceful and pastel coloured style to this day which visitors admire and enjoy.

Cradle Walk

An arched arbour of red-twigged lime (Tilia Platyphyllus) 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 are pruned hard on a regular basis to promote new growth and to help train the stems over the iron frame which was installed in 2008

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

Looking down cradle walk from the central aisle. Views show the bamboo covered in foliage
The East Front Gardens wildflower meadow, showing a close up view of red poppies (Papaver rhoeas), 2 July 2019. Looking north-west towards the East and South Fronts.

Wildflowers at Kensington Palace

The wildflower meadow to the south -east of the palace includes poppies, campion, daisies, and many other native wild flowers, which bloom in the summer months. The effect is a lovely natural approach to the palace from the south.

The flowers are also immensely beneficial to pollinators and other insects who sometimes struggle to find food and shelter in the big city.

 

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 III and Mary II 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 Queen Anne came to the throne 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'.

The Orangery at Kensington 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.
A large four poster bed covered in detailed period fabric, in a bedroom covered in dark green wall decor
Things to see

Explore the beautiful private rooms at Kensington Palace where Mary II once took her meals, relaxed and entertained.

Open

Kensington Palace

Included in palace admission (members go free)

The King's State Apartments interior
Highlights Things to see

Wander through the lavish rooms of the King's State Apartments, each one grander than the last, at Kensington Palace.

Open

Kensington Palace

Included in palace admission (members go free)

Full-length, standing, facing the viewer, head turned half to the right, wearing a white dress with a diaphanous blue wrap, holding a posie of flowers in her right hand; beside a path in a parkland setting, with Kensington Palace in the distance, on the right.
Things to see Highlights

Discover the story of Princess Victoria, the young girl destined to be queen, in the rooms where she was born and raised at Kensington Palace.

Open

Kensington Palace

Included in palace admission (members go free)

Selection of plates and cutlery on a blanket

Shop picnicware

Enjoy fine dining outdoors with our magnificent picnic hampers. Discover our luxury hampers and exquisite picnic blankets.

From £19.99

Royal Victoria compact mirror

Shop Victoria: Woman and Crown

A collection of gifts exclusively designed for Historic Royal Palaces, inspired by iconic symbols from Queen Victoria's reign.

From £6.99

Vintage style ovals engraved glass champagne saucers, set of 2 (30169555)

Shop Kensington Palace Gifts

These official gifts and souvenirs are all inspired by Kensington Palace's rich royal stories, past and present.

From £7.99