Albert Memorial

Albert Memorial information

Location
London , England
Address
Kensington Gardens
Getting there
Tube: Knightsbridge, Gloucester Rd
Prices
tours adult/concession £8/7
Opening hours
tours 2pm & 3pm 1st Sun of month Mar-Dec
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This splendid Victorian confection on the southern edge of Kensington Gardens is as ostentatious as the subject. Queen Victoria’s German husband Albert (1819–61), was purportedly humble. Albert explicitly insisted he did not want a monument; ignoring the good prince’s wishes, the Lord Mayor instructed George Gilbert Scott to build the 53m-high, gaudy Gothic memorial in 1872.

An eye-opening blend of mosaic, gold leaf, marble and Victorian bombast, the renovated monument is topped with a crucifix. The 4.25m-tall gilded statue of the prince, surrounded by 187 figures representing the continents (Asia, Europe, Africa and America), the arts, industry and science, was erected in 1876. The statue was painted black for 80 years, originally – some say – to disguise it from WWI Zeppelins (nonetheless, the memorial was selected by German bombers during WWII as a landmark). To step beyond the railings for a close-up of the 64m-long Frieze of Parnassus along the base, join one of the 45-minute tours.