Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace information

London , England
Kensington Gardens
Getting there
Tube: High St Kensington
More information
adult/child £16.30/free
Opening hours
10am-6pm Mar-Oct, to 5pm Nov-Feb
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Built in 1605, the palace became the favourite royal residence under William and Mary of Orange in 1689, and remained so until George III became king and relocated to Buckingham Palace. Today, it is still a royal residence, with the likes of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Prince William and his wife Catherine) and Prince Harry living there. A large part of the palace is open to the public, however, including the King's and Queen's State Apartments.

The King's State Apartments are the most lavish, starting with the Grand Staircase , a dizzying feast of trompe l'oeil. The beautiful Cupola Room , once the venue of choice for music and dance, is arranged with gilded statues and a gorgeous painted ceiling. The Drawing Room is beyond, where the king and courtiers would entertain themselves with cards.

Visitors can also access Victoria's apartments where Queen Victoria (1819–1901) was born and lived until she became Queen. An informative narrative about her life is told through a few personal effects, extracts from her journals and plenty of visual props.

A long-running exhibition about royal dress, Fashion Rules , is also on show, 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.

Don't overlook the splendid gardens, including the charming sunken garden and the 'cradle walk' arbour that surrounds it. The gardens are one of the venues of Luna Cinema , a highly popular open-air cinema that runs in the warmer months, screening modern-classic cinema.