- Kensington Palace unveils a palace of secret stories and public lives
- Explore the beautifully landscaped gardens
- Experience life as a 17th and 18th century royal courtier
An actual royal palace - it's where Prince William lives with the Duchess of Cambridge and their two kids. Though you won't bump into them in the hallway, it's still a fascinating window into the lives of royals past and present.
London's Kensington Palace has been a royal residence for over 300 years. At Queen Victoria's behest, the State Rooms were opened to the public in 1899, on her 80th birthday. Since then it's been both a private residence for the royal family and a public museum.
Starting with the magnificent Grand Staircase, you'll make your way towards the King's State Apartments. While you walk them, imagine the many Georgians who would have taken those same steps on their way to have an audience with King George I.
The tour also includes the beautifully ornate Cupola Room, in which you can imagine elaborate dances and courtships. The Drawing Room is just beyond, where kings and courtiers entertained themselves with cards.
Visitors can also see the Victoria Revealed exhibit, which are in the actual apartment where the beloved monarch lived until she became Queen. The story of her life is told through journal extracts, personal effects, and props and clothes.
There's also an exhibition about royal dress, Fashion Rules, with dresses from Queen Elizabeth in the 1950s, her sister Princess Margaret in the 1960s and 1970s and Diana, Princess of Wales, in the 1980s.
Nowadays, Prince William lives here with Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, and their two children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte. Of course, they're unlikely to pop around a corner and invite you to their off-limits wing for tea, but you never know, do you?
REGAL HISTORY: Initially a simple Jacobean mansion, it was bought by William and Mary, who had it expanded by Sir Christopher Wren. Since then it's been the preferred residence of a lengthy list of royals, including Prince Philip, Princess Margaret and Princess Diana.
It's been the setting for many noteworthy events: it was here that a young Victoria was notified that she was to become Queen Victoria, and its gates were the focal point for the outpouring of grief following the passing of Princess Diana.
Winter November 1st - February 28th
- Daily: 10:00 - 17:00 (Last admission 16:00)
Summer March 1st - October 31st
- Daily :10:00 - 18:00 (Last admission 17:00)
- Underground: nearest station: High Street Kensington (10-15 min walk), Queensway (10-15 min walk) or Notting Hill Gate (20 - 25 min walk).
- Bus: Nr: 70, 94, 148, 390 to Bayswater Road or 9, 10, 49, 52, 70, and 452 to Kensington High Street.
Castle medium. Clear presentation of its history. Staff very pleasant and willing to help foreigners we were.