Dave Sergeant

This is the first half of an 9 mile circular walk around Kensington, Holland Park, Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park and another of the walks from Inner London Ramblers.

The walk starts at High Street Kensington underground station passing through its shopping arcade into Kensington High Street. The innocent looking Phillimore Gardens is England's most expensive street with an average house price of £23,802,000.

Then into Holland Park. The rich occupants of Phillimore Gardens have a good view of the park. In the centre of the park is Holland House, originally known as Cope Castle and built in 1605. It was heavily bombed in WWII and only the east wing remains. Opera is performed outside during the summer months.

There are several formal gardens in the grounds, on the right is the Dutch garden with box hedges.

A statue of a walking man adorns the Yucca Lawn. Then the Fukushima Garden.

The Kyoto Garden is the main highlight, opened by Prince Charles in 1991 and a gift from the city of Kyoto to commemorate the long friendship between Japan and Great Britain. Its ornamental features, cascading waterfall, and wildlife are an irresistable attraction.

The ornamental fish are huge and there was a crowd of people on the narrow bridge there standing and staring.

The north side of the park is woodland and the paths were a little confusing. A large sundial appears, mounted on brass tortoises, commissioned in 2000 to mark the new millenium. Then the statue of Lord Holland seated in a chair, after whom the park is named. The path opposite him which I should have followed across the North Lawn was closed off to allow the lawn to regrow so I had to make a bit of a diversion to reach the exit of the park beyond the house.

Out of the park and along Holland Walk to reach Holland Park Avenue. Then a stretch through suburban streets, passing St George's Church and the Russian Embassy to arrive at Kensington Gardens. By the Diana Memorial Playground is Time Flies, a tall shelter with clock, and the busy Broadwalk Cafe.

Passing the Round Pond I picked up the first of the Diana Memorial Walk markers, and followed this route through the park. The Physical Energy Statue was sculpted by G F Watts and based on the Rhodes memorial in Cape Town. Then the Long Water is reached, the first of several lakes in the centre of the park.

Another view across the Long Water. Then the Italian Water Gardens and Queen Anne's Alcove appear and I passed the statue of Peter Pan commissioned by Sir George Frampton and erected in 1912. A steady stream of visitors wanting to be photographed beside it, I had to wait to take my photograph.

I finished my day's walk here and left the gardens via Lancaster Gate, had lunch in the Swan nearby and then caught the tube back to Waterloo and home.

Section 2

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