Lonely Planet review
Kensington Palace (1605) became the favourite royal residence under the joint reign of William and Mary and remained so until George III became king and moved across the park to Buckingham Palace. It still has private apartments where various members of the royal extended family live. In popular imagination it's most associated with three intriguing princesses: Victoria (who was born here in 1819 and lived here with her domineering mother until her accession to the throne), Margaret (sister of the current queen, who lived here until her 2002 death) and, of course, Diana. More than a million bouquets were left outside the gates following her death in 1997.
The building is undergoing major restoration work until January 2012. Rather than closing completely, sections of the palace have been transformed into a giant art installation. Leading artists and fashion designers have been given free rein to create their own enchanted spaces within the ornately painted and gilded rooms, which are changed every six months. All museumlike elements have been removed – there are no information panels, display cases, audioguides or tours. If you're hungry for historical information, ask the warders, who have been rebranded 'explainers' for this very purpose.