As the current home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Kensington Palace resides in Kensington Gardens, just west of Hyde Park. Visitors are welcome to explore the State Apartments and unique exhibitions on display when they purchase an admission ticket. However, you can stroll through the impeccable Kensington Palace Gardens for free.
Originally built as a two-story Jacobean mansion in 1605, King William and Queen Mary bought the, previously named, Nottingham House. It wasn’t long until they asked the architect of St Paul’s Cathedral, Christopher Wren, to transform it into a palace. Completed in just six months and with the additions of a gallery, new entrance and the Queen’s Apartments, Queen Mary and King William lived here from 1689 until their deaths.
Born at Kensington Palace, Queen Victoria lived here until 1837 and Princess Diana resided in one of the palace’s apartments from 1981-1997. A grand marble statue of Queen Victoria in her coronation robes of 1837 stands tall in front of her place of birth.
Kensington Palace is open every day 10-6pm excluding 24-26th December. From November to February, the palace doors close at 4pm. The King’s and Queen’s State Apartments contain an exquisite collection of paintings and sculptures, reflecting the grandeur of the Palace itself. Visitors can choose between four routes throughout the palace, all of which involve exhibits using digital presentations, interactive experiences and audio sequences for extra information.
Along with the striking architecture, the exterior of the building is complemented by an explosion of colour from the impeccably designed gardens. An oasis of seclusion and serenity, the Sunken Garden display was planted in 1908 and remains a spectacular, vibrant sight for visitors. Surrounding the Sunken Garden is Cradle Walk, an archway made of
red-twigged lime and a perfect spot for a picture.
Although The Orangery is currently closed for restoration works, it remains a remarkable building. In the summer of 1704, a new greenhouse with a terrace was built under Queen Anne and to this day remains one of London’s most breathtaking buildings, with huge sash windows allowing for a light, sophisticated interior.
Kensington Gardens is seamlessly joined to Hyde Park. This major London attraction boasts easy links to the Royal Albert Hall, Harrods Department Store and the trio of South Kensington Museums (National History Museum, the Science Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum). The nearest station to Kensington Palace is Queensway Underground Station which is just opposite the main entrance to Kensington Gardens.
After visiting the Palace, consider booking a table at Aubaine Notting Hill for some delicious French food.
Next: Notting Hill Center