The biggest tourist hotspots in London are popular for a reason. What would a trip to London be without seeing the world-renowned Houses of Parliament, or walking among the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum, or even trying to catch a glimpse of the Queen herself at Buckingham Palace? Yes, these places are well loved for a reason, but there is a little magic in the road less followed. So for those who want to make the most of their stay at the Park Grand Hotel, Kensington, we’ve got a couple of places you might want to see that are off the beaten track. So, here are our Three Kensington Sights off Beaten Track.
Fairies at Elfin Oak
Kensington Gardens are a famous London beauty spot, but what’s not so famous is a few of its residents. Made directly for London’s younger and more miniature residents and visitors, a short walk from your Park Grand Kensington accommodation will take you to the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Playground. Once there, look out for an ancient hollowed out tree trunk. Here you’ll find a number of lovingly carved and adorable figures including fairies, elves and animals.
The Elfin Oak sculpture was designed in 1930 by Ivor Innes and given to The Royal Parks by Lady Fortescue. The oak that houses the little wooden creatures is said to be 900 years old and originally came from the ancient Richmond Park. The oak has earned some famous patrons over the years; in 1996 playwright and actor Spike Milligan raised money for its restoration and soon after it was declared a Grade II listed structure.
Kensington’s Colourful Mews
London architecture has a long and varied history and while exploring the city one will find everything from thatched Tudor inspired homes to palatial, alabaster Georgian crescents to steel and glass skyscrapers. Some of the more enjoyable buildings to visit, however, exist in the side streets of the Kensington and Chelsea area, where lines of mews lie painted in pretty pastel colours.
Such picturesque buildings can be seen on Princes Gate Mews, Notting Hill Mews and Atherstone Mews, to name but a few.
Kensington Roof Gardens
Never heard of the Kensington roof gardens? You’re not alone. Even people who have made several visits to the beautiful borough of Kensington – home to our Park Grand Kensington accommodation – don’t realise that soaring above the stone and steel of the big city there’s a small green world of tranquillity in the sky. Well, about 100 feet off the ground at least.
Built atop the Derry and Toms department store between 1936 and 1938, the Kensington roof gardens cover a plot of 6000 square metres and contain more than 100 trees. When the gardens were first opened, admittance cost 1 shilling to enter, which was donated to local hospitals. Plants and animals of all kinds called the Kensington roof gardens home over the past 80 years, and, though it’s currently closed to the public, this secret staple of London history is Grade II listed, so will hopefully be up and running again soon.