Inventory Site Record

Queen's Promenade (Kingston)

Brief Description

Queen's Promenade was conceived by local property developer William Woods as an exclusive walk for the residents of his new villas on the Portsmouth Road along the Surrey bank of the Thames. He reached an agreement with Kingston Corporation whereby he would pay for the promenade and lease it to the people of Kingston provided that the stretch from St Raphael's Church was created at public expense. The promenade was constructed between 1852-4 and was opened 'unwittingly' by Queen Victoria in August 1856, who drove along the new Portsmouth Road accompanied by the Prince Consort and Princess Royal. In 1896 it was extended into Kingston at its northern end and a bandstand, now demolished, was constructed near the junction with Palace Road. The promenade now extends for a kilometre south to the island of Ravens Ait and widens out as it leaves Kingston.

Practical Information
Site location:
Portsmouth Road (near Woodbines Avenue to north/Grove Road to south)
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Public Park
Open to public?
Opening times:
Special conditions:
no cycling, dogs on leads, no fishing
Restaurant/café, toilet
boat trips
Public transport:
Rail: Kingston, Surbiton. Bus: 218, 471.
Research updated:
Last minor changes:

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.kingston.gov.uk/browse/environment/parks/recreation_sites

Full Site Description

Until the 1850s the river frontage had been dangerous, and gravel working along the foreshore had weakened the foundations of the main road. During the 1820s Brunel had been called in to advise but his proposed scheme was beyond the means of the town and the river road was left to crumble. William Woods built 300 houses in and around Portsmouth Road and planned a raised walkway between Ravens Ait and St Raphael's Church (q.v.) on land that he held on long lease from Kingston Corporation. Following a meeting with Frederick Gould, Chairman of Kingston Board of Surveyors, Woods undertook to pay for the promenade and to hand it and the lease to the people of Kingston provided that the remaining stretch from St Raphael's Church was accomplished at public expense. The walk thus became a public facility and was constructed between 1852 and 1854 when the bank and river bend were infilled with excavations from the reservoirs and filter beds from the Chelsea Waterworks Co. at Seething Wells. The improvements to the riverside attracted many visitors to Kingston, and it became a popular place of resort.

Within five years of opening, however, the bank was crumbling away through neglect. Restoration work was eventually carried out and the promenade was increased in width to 9 metres, the construction mainly using stone from the Old Blackfriars Bridge built in the 1760s. In 1896 the Queen's Promenade was extended into Kingston at its northern end and a bandstand, now demolished, was constructed near the junction with Palace Road. It became known colloquially as the Perfumed Parade owing to the pungent odours of the nearby guano factory.

For the majority of its length Queen's Promenade is screened from Portsmouth Road by a variety of mature trees and shrubs, enclosed with railings on the footway side. At the northern end an imposing set of wide steps leads down to the path bordered by mature planting and it now links with the southern end of the riverside walk through Kingston. The widest section has a lower and upper walkway, the lower borders the river and is separated by a grass verge from the main promenade walk, which has lawns on the eastern side with floral displays, retaining much of its Victorian character. At the Surbiton end is an ornamental fountain of c.1858 and the boundary railings date from 1852. There are fine views from the promenade towards Hampton Court Park (q.v.) and other landmarks visible from the Promenade include Kingston Bridge, Kingston parish church of All Saints (q.v.) and St Raphael's Church (q.v.).

Sources consulted:

RB Kingston notes for EH listing submission; M Batey, H Buttery, D Lambert and K Wilkie, 'Arcadian Thames', London, 1994; Shaan Butters, 'The Book of Kingston', Baron, 1995; Tim Everson 'Kingston, Surbiton and Malden', Phillimore, 2000 ed; Sue Swales, Ian Yarham, Bob Britton, 'Nature Conservation in Kingston upon Thames', Ecology Handbook 18 (London Ecology Unit) 1992

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ178685 (517796,168537)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
RB Kingston
Site management:
Grounds maintenance contractor: Quadron Services Ltd
Listed structures:
LBII: Fountain, boundary railings
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:


Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:
In Conservation Area:
Tree Preservation Order:
Nature Conservation Area:
Yes - Metropolitan Importance (riverside)
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Yes - Area of Special Character/Thames Policy Area
Other LA designation:
Local Open Space (Public Open Space). North part: Area of Architectural Significance

Queen's Promenade

Queen's Promenade - Photo: Colin Wing
Date taken: 11/04/21 14:00

Click a photo to enlarge.

Please note the Inventory and its content are provided for your general information only and are subject to change. It is your responsibility to check the accuracy.