Once the private gardens of Kensington Palace, Kensington Gardens are one of the Royal Parks of London. The park covers an area of 111 hectares (270 acres).The open spaces of Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, Green Park and St James’s Park together form an almost continuous ‘green lung’ in the heart of London between Kensington and Westminster.
The Kensington Gardens are fenced and more formal than the adjoining Hyde Park. The part of the Serpentine that lies within Kensington Gardens is known as ‘The Long Water’. At the park’s north-western end (originally the inflow of the River Westbourne) in an area known as the Italian Gardens, there are four fountains and a number of classical sculptures. At the foot of the Italian Gardens is a parish boundary marker, delineating the boundary between Paddington and St George Hanover Square parishes, on the exact centre of the Westbourne river. The park contains the famous Albert Memorial. Other landmarks include the Elfin Oak, an elaborately carved 900-year-old tree stump, and a statue of Peter Pan.
Kensington Gardens were carved out of the western section of Hyde Park and designed between 1728 and 1738 by Henry Wise and Charles Bridgeman, with fashionable features including the Round Pond, formal avenues and a sunken Dutch garden.