14 May 2010

South to Kensington…

At last I have a day free, the weather is fine and dry, slightly breezy but not too chilly - and I haven't posted for a few days so forgive this quick pictorial catch up because I had such a lovely day yesterday… but I must get into the Patch and do some digging!

I had to go to Kensington and I treated myself to a leisurely walk back through the park (rather than rushing home on the underground).  So, up Kensington Church Street I went, passing the topiary in York Way:

Round past the palace… (er, yes, that is me in the 'Enchanted Palace' mirror, couldn't resist)

Kensington Palace is currently garbed up for the 'Enchanted' exhibition but my destination was not the buildings but the sunken garden, which is always a joy… (and free to look!)

Despite the overcast skies, the first glimpse of the garden was a riot of vibrant colour - squeeze your eyes together and you could almost believe you were in a Monet painting:

Moving over towards the South East corner, we have the purple/orange border:

Some cut ironwork art from illustrator-du-jour, Rob Ryan (hmm, coffee pots and keys?):

And we come to the Pepperpot Walk, leading to the palace café:

At York Rise, we are visited about once a month by a team of maintenance gardeners who insist on trimming the hedges and shrubs into cuboid shapes…  an action which meets with scorn and resistance every time.  Now if we could get them to grow into pepper pots

I'd planned to go on next to recce the Diana Memorial Playground (a short walk to the north, and still en route for home) but it was temporarily closed for maintenance (reopening Saturday).  Still, there was the very magical Elfin Oak to revisit, which I show here for the benefit of my little nieces who I hope will come to see this one day soon…

(Can you see the bunny?)
(The sleeping gate keeper with his giant key.)
Just in case anyone doesn't know about this tree, Ivor Innes was an illustrator, commissioned in 1928 to carve and paint fairies and elves into the tree stump.  The venerable stump is thought to be around 900 years old and was relocated from Richmond Park for this purpose.  Sadly, the Elfin Oak is now caged for its own preservation, which is a shame as it prevents the children getting in close to see the detail.  So here's just one more fairy photo:

(All photos can be seen larger size if you click on the image.)
I managed to get a few 'Peter-Pan-Playground' photos while circumnavigating the perimeter fence of the Princess Di playground but I'll leave you with just one - a tantalising glimpse of a Totem Tree Ent (I'll save the wigwams, crocodiles and pirate ships for my other blog):

Have a good weekend everyone.  I hope the weather stays good for us all!

Edited to add: if you want to find the Elfin Oak, or the Princess Di playground, the nearest tube station is Queensway on the Central Line. Exit the station and turn right down Queensway (street). Black Lion Gate is more or less opposite and, coming into the park from that direction, the playground entrance (just beyond the café) is about 100 metres on your right. For more information, with a link to a map, click here.


  1. This is so beautiful. It's amazing what lovely gardens there are in London. Great that it is free! Perfect place to sit down on a bench and have a sandwich and a flask of tea and watch the world go by!!

  2. It was so peaceful there, despite the numbers of tourists visiting the Palace itself. The water fountain in the background was very restful and just walking among the avenues of trees in the park felt very calming.

  3. I've never been to Kensington Gardens. I'll definitely have to visit the next time I'm in London.


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