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The Gardens with their magnificent trees are the setting for Kensington Palace, the choice of William III and Mary II for their London home. Queen Victoria was born in Kensington Palace and lived there until she became queen in 1837.

It was Queen Caroline, wife of George II, who in 1728 moulded the gardens to their present form by creating the Serpentine and the Long Water from the Westbourne stream. For most of the 18th century the gardens were closed to the public. They were opened gradually but only to the respectably dressed.

In a long series of improvements Queen Victoria commissioned the Italian Gardens and the Albert Memorial.

One of the best loved features in the Gardens is the bronze statue of Peter Pan. This charming piece features Peter Pan standing on a pedestal covered with climbing squirrels, rabbits and mice. The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground and a seven-mile Memorial Walk, which also goes through Hyde Park, Green Park and St James's Park, were both opened in 2000. The Elfin Oak is a gnarled, partially hollow, stump, originally from Richmond Park. It is carved with the figures of fairies, elves and various small animals following the contours of the wood.

Outside Kensington Palace stands a statue of Queen Victoria sculpted by her daughter, Princess Louise, to celebrate 50 years of her mother's reign.

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