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Kensington Gardens are part of Hyde Park even though they are separate from an administrative point of view, and like Hyde Park they have an eighteenth-century layout. They're guaranteed to make you think of Peter Pan, the literary character who since his first appearance in 1902 has earned global fame thanks to the films, cartoons, and musical shows he has inspired. You can see his statue on the shores of The Long Water, which divides Hyde Park from Kensington Gardens.

At the centre of the gardens there's a small pond called Round Pond that dates back to the first half of the 18th century. As you approach the Royal Palace of Kensington you'll come across various statues of British sovereigns, including Queen Victoria, who was born there and was always fond of these gardens and the surrounding neighbourhood. At the southern end of the garden, you'll easily recognise the Neo-Gothic canopy of the Albert Memorial erected by Victoria in memory of her beloved spouse Albert, who widowed her at the age of 42. If you get closer to the slender structure topped with a pointed spike, you'll discover an incredible amount of decorations, with hundreds of carved figures. Just think, during the Second World War the statue of the prince was coated in black to prevent its gilding from becoming an easy target for aerial bombing.

Behind the Albert Memorial you can stroll along the Flower Walk, a straight path that passes many a flowerbed, and then take the Broad Walk, a fifteen-metre wide path that offers the most beautiful views of the palace and the interior of the royal gardens.

Even though Kensington Palace is still partly inhabited by members of the royal family, you can visit its most important areas. Built at the end of the seventeenth century, it was the residence of the sovereign until Buckingham Palace began to be used for this purpose. Inside there are many lavish rooms, and in the King's Gallery you can admire excellent seventeenth-century paintings, or dream about the collection of queens' and princesses' ceremonial dresses dating from the mid-1700s up to today, including twelve of Princess Diana's dresses. Don't miss the beautiful Orangerie, the winter greenhouse for citrus plants with an elegant tea room.


FUN FACT: are you a romantic soul? If you are, you can carve a message of love into a bench in Hyde Park, where it will remain engraved in the wood for a long time!

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