Sundays in sunny London… So many things to do and so many things to see! What I have learned about London is, that you often need to plan ahead if you don’t want to miss out on all the events going on around here, and it can get a bit stressfull from time to time. Now, that I have lived in London for a while, I often prefer just taking a walk and discover along the way…
Who knew! This is the fun part of wandering around in London. Comedian and actor Benny Hill actually lived just around the corner from where I live now!
As Frenchie and I live in Kensington and try to avoid the tube as much as possible, we decided to go for a walk in our neighbourhood. At first, the aim was to see the new star at The Natural History Museum – a 25,2 metre blue whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling called “Hope”, but as half of the citizens of London were there too – we decided to visit on a less busy day and ended up at The Albert Memorial
The Albert Memorial is located in Kensington Gardens on Albert Memorial Road opposite the Royal Albert Hall. It is one of London’s most ornate monuments, designed by George Gilbert Scott
Unveiled in 1872, The Albert Memorial commemorates the death of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband, who died of typhoid fever at the age of 42. The memorial shows Prince Albert holding the catalogue of the Great Exhibition, held in Hyde Park in 1851, which he inspired and helped to organise
Marble figures representing Europe, Asia, Africa and America stand at each corner of the memorial, and higher up are further figures representing manufacture, commerce, agriculture and engineering. Yet further up, near the top, are gilded bronze statues of the angels and virtues
Behind the Albert Memorial you can enter Kensington Gardens…
It surely is the perfect place to hang out on a sunny day in London!
No doubt that Diana, Princess of Wales was loved by the English people. In Kensington Gardens you will find a playground and in Hyde Park a memorial fountain dedicated to her
Located next to her Kensington Palace home, the playground is a fitting tribute for a Princess who loved the innocence of childhood.
I love the Peter Pan bronze sculpture (1912) – a figur who encourages children to explore and follow their imaginations whilst they play
This is The Speke Monument – a red granite statue dedicated to John Hanning Speke, the explorer who discovered Lake Victoria and led expeditions to the source of the Nile
And while Frenchie and I were improving our knowledge in English history – dogs in all shapes and sizes were having the best time ever!
Welcome to The Italian Gardens – probably my favourite place to be in Kensington Gardens!
Created in the 1860s, you will find this ornamental water garden on the north side of park, near Lancaster Gate
The layout of the Italian Gardens can be traced to Osborne House on The Isle of Wight, where the royal family spent its holidays. Prince Albert was a keen gardener and took charge of the gardens at Osborne House, where he introduced an Italian garden with large raised terraces, fountains, urns and geometric flower beds. In 1860 he brought the idea to Kensington Gardens. The design by James Pennethorne includes many features of the Osborne garden. The garden itself is situated near the Serpentine Lake which can be found between Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens.
This is The Arch by English artist Henry Moore. The Arch is a six-metre high Roman travertine sculpture positioned on the north bank of the Long Water. It was given to the park by Moore in 1980, but was found to be unstable in 1996, and was subsequently dismantled and placed into storage. Luckily it was restored and replaced in its original location in 2012
Remember to visit The Serpentine while you are here! The Serpentine is two exhibition spaces situated on either side of The Serpentine lake: the Serpentine Gallery and the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects.
Moving on from Kensington Gardens to Hyde Park just across the bridge. The view from here is spectacular!
The first time I saw the Diana Memorial fountain I must admit I was a bit disappointed!
– but that was until I learned more about it. The fountain was built with the best materials, talent and technology. It actually contains 545 pieces of Cornish granite – each shaped by the latest computer-controlled machinery and pieced together using traditional skills. The design aims to reflect Diana’s life, water flows from the highest point in two directions as it cascades, swirls and bubbles before meeting in a calm pool at the bottom. The water is constantly being refreshed and is drawn from London’s water table – and as the picture shows, people love this place. Every time I am here little children are playing in the water having the time of their lives – it truly touches my heart!
Near the Diana Memorial Fountain is a striking bronze sculpture. The sculpture called Serenity is inspired by the Egyptian goddess of nature. It was designed by British sculptor Simon Gudgeon and was installed in the park in 2009. Bonus-info: Serenity was donated by Halcyon Gallery to help raise funds for The LookOut, Hyde Park
With stunning views along The Serpentine and a large alfresco dining area, The Lido is a great place to enjoy great food and watch the world go by
Residents and regulars include Mute swan (the most significant Inner London population), Mandarin Duck, Gadwall, Shoveler, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Ruddy Duck, Little and Great Crested Grebe, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Stock Dove, Ring-necked Parakeet and many many more!
Even a black swan was enjoying life on the Serpentine
Hyde Park has a fleet of rowing and pedal boats which operate on the Serpentine. Boating on the Serpentine is open from April until October 31. Times are from 10:00 am until sundown which is around 4:00 pm in the winter and 8:00 pm in the summer
The iconic green and white striped deckchairs can be enjoyed all over the park! (You do however need to pay)
We ended our Sunday walk at Patrick Gwynne’s iconic building the Serpentine Bar & Kitchen
The Serpentine Bar and Kitchen serves a wide variety of hot meals and snacks ( I am a big fan of their pizzas – and Frenchie had a yummy burger!)
The view from here was great – and so was the food!
I hope I gave you a bit of inspiration on how to spend a Sunday in London (without having to empty your wallet!) I love visiting the parks in London – and there are so many beautiful ones. Remember to bring an umbrella – I still tend to forget mine. But you have to be a bit of a Pluviophile, if you choose to live here.