HYDE PARK AND KENSINGTON GARDENS
Kensington Gardens is the 270 acre patch of greenery and nature that lies just west of central London's famous Hyde Park. In fact, the two pieces of land are separated only by the West Carriage Drive and the Serpentine Bridge. Kensington Gardens used to be the private gardens of Kensington Palace, but is now shared between the City of Westminster and the Royal Borough of Kensington, though is still considered a Royal Park.
The Gardens were designed and created by Henry Wise and Charles Bridgeman, between the years of 1728 and 1738, with some of the Gardens most famous and fashionable highlights being the Round Pond and the sunken Dutch Garden. Another highlight of Kensington Gardens is 'The Long Water', which is the portion of Hyde Park's massive 'Serpentine' lake that was also built by Charles Bridgeman, and which runs through Kensington Gardens. The Gardens also boast an impressive Italian section - home to four awe-inspiring fountains and several equally impressive classical sculptures.
Kensington Garden were, for a long time, actually considered more up-market and upper-class than Hyde Park, due to the fact that they were fenced off and more private. However, Hyde Park overtook in the popularity stakes during the 1800's thanks to it's close proximity to Mayfair and other high-profile sights.
Many of Kensington Gardens (and surrounding lands) original features still survive today, including the Albert Memorial, Speke's monument, and perhaps the most impressive and ancient of them all - the Elfin Oak - an ornately carved 900 year old tree stump!
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