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Kensington Gardens highlights

October 29th, 2007

Family activities in the Kensington Gardens include the Serpentine Gallery, bandstand recitals in the summer, and children’s entertainment (3x daily during the six-week summer holidays). Events in the park include guided walks throughout the year that explore the park’s horticulture, its wildlife, and history.

london kensington gardens_7You’ll find two children’s playgrounds in the park. By far the more popular is the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground, near her Kensington Palace home. A huge pirate ship is the playground’s centerpiece, on which children can explore and use their larger-than-life imaginations. A beach surrounds the pirate ship, on which families can picnic and enjoy the (I promise!) sunny found in London. Another spot has teepees next to a sensory trail, where kids can learn about nature even with one of the world’s largest cities moves around them. There are also many toys, playground jungle gyms, and playtime sculptures. Set within trees and plants, the playground has plenty of benches so parents can sit and relax while the kids deplete some of of that nuclear-like energy boiling in their veins.

Food and Drinks in Kensington Gardens
The Broadway Café & Playcafé is located next to the Diana Memorial playground, the Clock-tower and the Elfin Oak. The café serves pizza, salads, wraps, and sweets (ice cream!) along with a selection of drinks. Opening times are 8am-8pm in summer, 10am-4pm in winter. There are also toilets here, with proper facilities for the disabled and baby changing.

A refreshment point is also between the Italian Gardens and the Albert Memorial. It serves hot and cold drinks, ice cream, and pastries and wraps. Opening times are 8am-8pm in summer, 10am-4pm in winter.

london kensington gardens_2Outside Kensington Gardens
Local artists display their creations along Bayswater Road (the park’s northern border) throughout the year, weather permitting. They are not crafts artists, but have some very fine work of both London scenes and avant-garde work.

While in London, shopping is never far away. Walk east along Bayswater Road and it turns into Oxford Street at Marble Arch (northeast corner of Hyde Park). Oxford Street is perhaps the most famous shopping street in London, but definitely the closest to Kensington Gardens.

Portobello Road, north of Kensington Gardens a few blocks, is a place to find deals in its row of shops. On weekends the shopping moves outdoors to create a flea market atmosphere.

Restaurants run the gamut in London. In Hyde Park and Kensington (north and south of the park, respectively) you’ll find international restaurants, eclectic cafés, and English pubs to quench a thirst or fill your belly. For an idiosyncratic look at what London offers for events, nightlife, and fun areas to stay, jump to the London city page.

Directions to Kensington Gardens
Kensington Gardens lies between Bayswater Road on the norther and Kensington Road Knightsbridge on the south. The park is open from 6am to dusk throughout the year. You can get there on the Underground by the Lancaster & Queensway stops (Central Line), the Bayswater (District Line), and High Street Kensington (Circle and District Lines). More than a dozen bus routes run by or near the park, as you might imagine, including the #9 (Aldwych – Hammersmith), #10 (Hammersmith – Kings Cross), #31 (Notting Hill Gate – Camden Town), #49 (Shepherd’s Buch – Wandsworth), and #94 (Piccadilly Circus – Acton Green).

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