4 Parks And 2 Palaces
Queensway To St. James's Park
Approximately 5.6 Miles - 9Km
Fast fitness Walk - 1h 10minutes
Start: Queensway, Central Line (Red - On the tube map).
End: St. James Park, District & Circle (Green & Yellow)
Highlights Include: Kensington Gardens, Kensington Palace, Hyde Park, Wellington Arch, Green Park, Buckingham Palace, The Mall, St Jame’s Park
A: Queensway Tube Station
Exit the station turn right and cross the Bayswater Road into Kensington Gardens. Turn right and then left
Lady Diana Memorial Playground
If you have small children this playground is a gem in the heart of London. It’s designed around a Peter Pan theme. There are pirate ship climbing frames, Indian tepees, and spectacular swings and slides. At the security gate adults have to be accompanied by at least one child. See the Website for details
Follow my walking route in Kensington Gardens; it takes you past, The Speke Monument that was erected in 1866. This tall obelisk honours the explorer John Hanning Speke. He was convinced that he had discovered the source of the Nile. His claim was contested by some of his fellows at the Royal Geographical Society. He died in 1864 from a shot from his own gun. Some thought it was an accident though most believed it was suicide. Speke's claim eventually proved to be correct.
Continue to the beautiful Italian Garden. It’s easy to see why it’s a popular film location featuring in Bridget Jones, The Edge of Reason and many others.
Continue the walk along The Long Water.
B: The Statue of Peter Pan
J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan’s creator lived in Kensington and used these Gardens for inspiration. In his Peter Pan tale, The Little White Bird, Peter flies out of his nursery and lands beside the Long Water. The statue is located on this exact spot. If you have a child with you, give them your smart phone and they can swipe it on a plaque to get a call back from Peter Pan. Continue for about 100 metres and then turn right to the extraordinary Physical Energy Statue. People either love or hate it. Continue west until Kensington Palace.
If you have already completed the High Street Kensington to Knightsbridge 1 Minute Walk you will have seen Kensington Palace, The Albert Memorial and The Albert Hall. You can continue to straight to The Serpentine Gallery but try and take in as much of Kensington Gardens as you can.
C: Kensington Palace
Don’t miss the Sunken Garden behind the statue of Queen Victoria. Here, the park’s gardeners try to create a stunning display in each season. Inside, Royal Fashion exhibitions, featuring the dresses of Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth and Princess Diana are always very popular. These exhibitions are subject to change so check the website for the current displays, prices and times.
Exit the Palace and walk clockwise around the pond then turn south and head for the Albert Memorial.
D: Albert Memorial
This stunning and impressive monument dominates the south side of Hyde Park. It’s dedicated to Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's beloved husband, who died of typhoid age 42. It is one of London's most ornate monuments, designed by George Gilbert Scott and unveiled in 1872 when the British Empire was in its most confident era.
Cross the road to the Albert Hall.
Royal Albert Hall
RThe concert hall opened in 1871 and it’s one of London’s premier concert venues. It is a very magical venue to see all kinds of music performed. The building is as impressive on the inside as it is on the outside. See the website for concert details and prices.
While you are standing outside have a look at the mosaic frieze, dedicated to the advancement of arts and sciences, which encircles the top of the Albert Hall. The frieze is 800 feet (343m) long and 5,200 square feet (483 square metres).
Return to the Albert Memorial - head north and turn right to The Serpentine Gallery.
Serpentine Gallery – Free Admission
These small galleries are very popular with modern art lovers throughout year. But in the summer it’s even more interesting: a temporary summer pavilion is erected by one of the world’s leading architects. See the website for opening times and exhibition details
Head northeast then turn right and cross the road into Hyde Park and The Lady Diana Memorial Fountain. In summer it’s full of children paddling.
All the London Parks have a different character. Kensington Gardens I think of as charming and arts orientated. Hyde Park is the people’s park, this is where Londoners enjoy open air rock concerts, boating on the Serpentine, horse riding and many more activities, but there are some quiet spots.
Continue along the Serpentine until the end, turn left after 150 meters and you are rewarded with The Holocaust Memorial Gardens, a beautiful and peaceful place.
Exit the park at Hyde Park Corner and cross the road.
E: Wellington Arch
The Wellington Arch celebrates the General’s victory at Waterloo in 1815. There are spectacular views from the top. It’s a great place to see The Horse Guards on their way to Buckingham Palace for the Changing of the Guard. They pass around 10.45 Monday to Saturday and 9.45 on Sunday. Also, you can get really close to the largest bronze sculpture in Europe, showing the Angel of Peace descending on the 'Quadriga' - or four-horsed chariot - of War. Check the website for opening times and admission charges.
Exit the arch and head east into Green Park. Green Park is loved for its beautiful trees and lawns. There are no flowers. Continue and you will pass the Bomber Command and Canada War Memorials. .
Walk around the edge of the lake until you see signs for Queen Mary’s Gardens
F: Buckingham Palace
The Queen’s London home is one of the capital’s top rated attractions. Most people come for the Changing of the Guard Ceremony at 11.00am Monday to Saturday and 10.00am on Sunday. The palace staterooms, gallery and gardens are open to the public for visits & tours during the summer months. See the website for opening and admission details.
Walk east towards The Mall. This is the UK’s ceremonial boulevard. During state visits, the Queen and the visiting head of state are escorted in a state carriage up The Mall, accompanied by The Horse Guards and lots of military. On Sundays The Mall is closed to traffic and the temptation to walk down the middle of the road is irresistible.
St James Park
Spend as much time as you can in this park. It’s beautiful. Whenever I’m here I always feel that I have somehow broken into the Queen’s private garden. You can get a great picture of Buckingham Palace from the bridge.
Exit the park on Birdcage walk join Queen Anne’s Gate to arrive at;
G: St James Park Tube Station
If you enjoyed this walk please like, share and subscribe on the 1 Minute Walks YouTube Channel. Many thanks - Pat Fleming