London beauty


Our first Sunday in London was sunny and 15 degrees (Celsius, that is) — a perfect day for exploring our temporary new home. A few of my flatmates and I hopped onto a bright red, double-decker bus and in less than half an hour arrived at our local palace.

Our flat is in a relatively residential area, but a short walk, Tube trip or bus ride away is the bustling neighborhood of Kensington, on the west side of London. Kensington is home to multiple large museums, a few universities and — perhaps most notably — Kensington Palace and Gardens.

Kensington Palace is the official royal residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, aka Will and Kate. It’s situated within Kensington Gardens, a huge public park spotted with flowers, ponds and statues of famous English figures, from Prince Albert to Peter Pan.

After a week of rain and clouds, a sunny Sunday like this meant everyone in London was out and about enjoying the fresh air, or so it seemed. The park was full of picnicking couples, families playing football, bicyclists and bird-watchers, tourists and locals. Luckily, the park and gardens, which neighbor the more famous Hyde Park, is large enough that even on a busy day like this it didn’t feel crowded or claustrophobic.

The gardens immediately surrounding the palace, which include Princess Diana’s beloved Sunken Garden, are free to the public during the day and offer lovely views of the park and palace — they’re also a great spot for Instagram pics, FYI.

Having grand, historic sites like this right at our fingertips is, so far, one of my favorite parts of living in London; whether it’s admiring the art and history at the (free!) Tate Modern or Victoria and Albert Museum, watching the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace or a simply taking a walk through Kensington Gardens with friends, there’s no shortage of easily accessible beauty and history here.

And especially if the weather stays this nice (cross your fingers for us), I don’t think any of us will find ourselves feeling bored of London anytime soon.

Sydney Tomlinson, Sofia Godinez and Ella Hunt visit Kensington Gardens. (Ella Hunt | The Media School)