Highlights of Kensington Palace
Kensington Palace is one of London’s most popular royal attractions with close links to the royal family, having played a key role in the history of the British monarchy. Like Buckingham Palace and Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace is a honey-pot for visitors (and locals alike) to experience the past and present of the royal family and to get to know a little more about those famous faces everyone learnt about at school. Step inside Kensington Palace and discover the timeline of its residents from Queen Victoria, to Princess Diana – even as far back as King George. So let’s take a look at the highlights – there are quite a few – and why we love this royal retreat. The Glorious Georges A new exhibition opened on April 17th, the Glorious Georges, marking the 300th anniversary of the Hanoverian succession to the throne. As part of a series, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace and Hampton Court Palace are all celebrating their own Georges and how their courts affected the history of the palaces to this day. At Kensington Palace, the exhibition takes visitors on a journey through the court of George II and Queen Caroline in 1727 – rather controversial royals for their time as their succession to the palace inspired a new era of culture, music and fashion. Visitors to the exhibition will be able to listen to stories and tales from around the court and even meet Queen Caroline and the king’s mistress, Henrietta Howard. Get ready for some scandal... Fashion Rules Fast-forward a few centuries to the present day and some of the most decadent decades just past. Taking visitors on a nostalgic tour through the most impressive fashion eras of the later half of the 20th century, the Fashion Rules exhibition explores the wardrobes of three members of the royal family: HM Queen Elizabeth II in the 1950s, Princess Margaret in the 1960s and 70s, and Diana, Princess of Wales in the 1980s. Through this chronological costume display, visitors will learn about the changing fashions of the royal faces and can admirie the purple Dior evening gown worn by Princess Margaret for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee celebrations and two never-seen-before dresses belonging to Princess Diana among many other couture masterpieces. A great event to take your Mum to, it’s a hit for women of all ages – we bet your grandma will recognise a few pieces, too! Victoria Revealed The ten-room display of Victoria Revealed tells the personal story of Britain’s longest serving monarch through her eyes as visitors are led through her childhood home to experience her memories and day to day life. Quotes from her personal journals and letters will paint the picture of her early life; the rooms in which she was born, the spot where she first set eyes on her beloved Prince Albert and the place where she spent her first moments as Queen. The exhibition includes over 300 items and personal objects such as the tiny black silk shoes Victoria wore as a baby, an enchanting collection of dolls she owned and the elegant ivory silk wedding dress she wore for her marriage to Prince Albert in 1840. The King’s Staircase The King’s Staircase, the magnificent entrance to the King’s State Apartments, is not to be missed. The grand frescoes painted on the walls by William Kent in the 1700s were to recreate the vibrant Georgian court scene – bringing mirth and liveliness to the palace. Don’t forget to look out for the artist himself in the painting, who is depicted wearing a brown turban and holding an artists’ paint palette with his mistress at his shoulder. The Queen’s State Apartments As one of two joint monarchs, Queen Mary II and William III, Mary wanted to make Kensington Palace their real home. Discover the comfy rooms that were once used by Queen Mary II as her private salons to entertain guests, to eat, to sleep and to relax. Here you can explore her drawing room, filled with many decorations from China, and her dining room where she and her husband liked to eat together out of the public eye. Did you know these modest monarchs liked to dine on fish and beer? Nothing like the feasts you heard of at old Hampton Court... The King’s State Apartments The King’s State Apartments are some of the most lavish rooms in the entire palace. Each room grander than the last, these apartments contain the Presence Chamber, which features a gilded armchair that belonged to George II's son Frederick; the Privy Chamber, which was one of Queen Caroline's favourite rooms; The Cupola Room; one of the most impressive in the palace; and The King's Drawing Room, where courtiers would have gathered. It also contains the King's Gallery where William III played soldiers with his little nephew and where he caught the chill that eventually led to his death in 1702. It’s in these rooms that you will be able to discover the Glorious Georges Exhibition. The Sunken Garden Planted at the turn of the 20th century, Kensington Palace Gardens are breath-taking in their landscape. Modelled on Hampton Court Palace this beautiful garden is one of the most secluded and peaceful spots at the palace, a real exotic oasis of flowers and fountains. Perfect for a picnic, why not enjoy afternoon tea at the Orangery and sit outside and admire the view. With a Cradle Walk and multiple paths to explore, it’s a gorgeous excuse to get some fresh air and stretch the legs. You can’t get more beautiful surroundings – and you completely forget you’re in central London! With The London Pass you can get entry with no further payment into Kensington Palace. As one of over 60 attractions included in the pass, it's the ultimate sightseeing package and guaranteed to save you time and money!