This narrow strip of public park by the Thames was created in the late-19th century with the construction of the Embankment.
The gardens have many statues of notable British citizens, including the Scottish poet Robert Burns.
The main historical feature of the gardens is the water gate at its north west corner, built in 1626 as the triumphal entry to the Thames for the Duke of Buckingham. The water gate was part of York House, which once stood on the site, the home to the Archbishops of York, before becoming the Duke’s residence. Although the water gate is in its original position, because of the embankment of the Thames, it is now 330 feet from the edge of the river.
In the summer the gardens host a season of open-air concerts.
Across the road, at the edge of the Thames, stands Cleopatra’s Needle.