Kensington Palace is one of London’s most splendid landmarks. The official London residence of the Duchess and Duke of Cambridge and little prince George, former home to Queen Anne and a part of the British Royal Family since the 17th century, this palace has played a massive part in the capital’s history.
From its gorgeous facade and intriguing State Rooms to its absurdly magnificent gardens and grounds, any trip to London should include this landmark of Britishness.
If you are staying at one of the many hotels in Kensington, you’d be absolutely bonkers not to visit this stunning palace and its sensational grounds.
Tally-ho, let’s explore this iconic piece of British real estate.
A little history
As we have said, the palace has been in the British Royal family for many years. It started life in 1605 as a simple two-storey house of Jacobean design and was built by Sir George Coppin.
It was not until 1689, when William and Mary came to the throne that the house came under royal servitude. It is said that the King and Queen, who ruled together, purchased the house as it was further away from the Thames and better suited to William’s frail health.
Other notable royal residents include King William III and Queen Mary II, King George I, King George II, and, currently, Prince Harry, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, and the Duke and Duchess of Kent.
What’s on at the palace?
As well as the grounds and the building itself, there are some fantastic exhibitions on at the palace for your entertainment; here’s what you can expect to find with its regal walls.
The Queen’s State Apartments: Take a peek into the life of Queen Mary II and explore here private rooms. These cosy little enclaves were once used as a place where the Queen could relax in private, away from the public eye – oh how the other half live!
Fashion Rules: This interesting exhibition takes a look back through the wardrobes of some of the most important women in the Royal Family. Expect garments from the likes of The Queen, Princess Margaret and, one of the most popular, Diana, Princess of Wales – Royalty have to look the part.
The King’s State Apartment: These lavish apartments once housed the King of England, and are certainly more than fit for purpose. Stroll through room after room, and witness a place where wealth and opulence know no bounds.
The King’s Staircase: The walls of this outrageously lavish staircase depict the the goings on of King George I’s court. They lead up to the King’s State Apartments and are jolly impressive.
The Gardens: Perhaps the best bit of the whole palace are the tranquil gardens that surround it. Outside the walls of the mansion, you are met with the beauty of nature; an oasis in the heart of London.
From the delicate Sunken Garden, modelled on a similar patch from Hampton Court Palace, to the arched viewpoints of Cradle Walk, this part of the palace is best enjoyed on a sunny day. Finish off at the Formal Gardens, a delightful collection of vivid flora, before you make your way back to the palace.
Amble, traipse, jaunt or saunter; how you explore these quiet grounds is quite up to you.
Unfortunately, Kensington Palace is not free to enter, but rest easy in knowing that along with British taxpayer’s money, the fare will ensure that these grounds are splendidly maintained and looked after.
There are two prices for each demographic of people, one online and one on the gate
All children under the age of 16 can enter the palace for free.
The palace is open seven days a week, all year round (except the 24th, 25th and 26th December). During the summer season of March to October it is open from 10.00am – 18.00pm.
Getting there: The palace is just a stone’s throw away from our Park Grand London Kensington hotel, so getting there couldn’t be easier. For the bus, turn right out of the hotel and walk down Hogarth Street until you meet Earl’s Court road. Turn left at this juncture and continue onwards until you reach Earl’s Court Stop A. Wait for the bus here. When it comes, take it all the way to York House Place High Street Kensington and alight. Walk along York House Place until you see the Kensington Palace Green. From here, you cannot miss it. With the wind in your sails, the entire voyage should take no longer than 20 minutes.