Kensington Palace Gardens

An intimate, tranquil and secluded oasis

An intimate, tranquil and secluded oasis

Updated 2 July. Following government guidance, Kensington Palace is re-opening from 30 July. Read our visit information

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

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

The Sunken Garden and Cradle Walk are closed for now.

 

 

Garden highlights

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

The Sunken Garden (currently closed)

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 August when the garden is looking its best and replanted during the autumn and winter months ready for spring.

In the spring, tulips, wallflowers and pansies bloom while in the summer months geraniums, cannas, begonias and many more provide the vivid colour.

In 2019, the garden was transformed to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria. Discover more about the Victorian plant collection and how it was planted.

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.

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

Our new wildflower meadow in the East Front of the palace includes poppies, campion, daisies, Ragged Robin and many other native wild flowers, which have come out in abundance. 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 from 30 July

Kensington Palace

Included in palace admission (members go free)

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 from 30 July

Kensington Palace

Included in palace admission (members go free)

The Triumphs of Caesar in the Mantegna Gallery of Hampton Court Palace
Things to see

See The Triumphs of Caesar, one of the great treasures of the Royal Collection, in the Mantegna Gallery at Hampton Court Palace.

Closed

Hampton Court Palace

10:30-13:00 and 14:00-17:00

Included in palace admission (members go free)

Lifestyle imagery of picnic ware

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