Monday, 15 November 2010

Ten steps across Kensington Gardens

1. Exit Lancaster Gate tube station and enter Kensington Gardens by Marlborough Gate. The Italian Gardens in front of you have one of the finest sets of fountains to be found in London.
2. Close by is the Peter Pan statue. Its appeal is as immortal as the boy himself.
3. On the far side of The Long Water is the first of four temporary (until March 13th 2011) large mirror-like stainless steel installations by prominent artist Anish Kapoor. The other three are close by. The exhibition is titled Turning the World Upside Down.
4. A short detour into Hyde Park takes you to the Diana Princess of Wales memorial fountain.
5. Returning to Kensington Gardens leads you to the excellent Serpintine Gallery. Its next exhibition features multi-media artist Phillipe Parreno (November 25th to February 13th).
6. Through the trees you can see the Albert Memorial. Queen Victoria’s tribute to her late husband, which heads this post, is the subject of guided tours a small number of times a month.
7. Across Kensington Gore stands the UK’s most iconic performance space – the Royal Albert Hall.
8. Adjacent is the Royal College of Art. The prime reason for my trip today was to participate in its annual cash raising event RCA Secret 2010 in which 2,800 postcards are displayed and sold anonymously at £45 each this coming Saturday. You only discover whether you’ve bought the work of an established artist or a student after paying up front. Tents were already beginning to line up in the street outside.
9. Resisting the attractions of the major museums in Exhibition Road, I headed for the Institut Francais in Queensbury Place to pick up a programme of future screenings at its Cine Lumiere cinema.
10. Finally, a short distance away is Bute Street – nicknamed Little France because of the French influence found in its shops and cafes – for an authentic coffee and croissant.

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