London’s Kensington Palace has been home to various members of the royal family since the 17th century. Still a working royal residence today, sections of the palace and gardens are open to visitors, providing a fascinating glimpse into the life and times of some of Britain’s most significant royals.
Starting out as a mansion in 1605, the palace has undergone various expansions and alterations over the centuries. In more recent times Kensington Palace gained worldwide fame as the home of Diana, Princess of Wales.
Like many of Britain’s royal residencies, parts of Kensington Palace are now open to the public. The palace is divided into four areas known as “story zones,” with guides and multimedia installations on hand to bring the past to life. Upon entering, you’ll be greeted by Luminous Lace. This striking contemporary installation mimics a royal lace pattern and is crafted from miles of luminescent wire and 12,000 Swarovski crystals.
Follow in the footsteps of past monarchs by climbing the King’s Staircase to the opulent King’s State Apartments. Then take the Queen’s Staircase to see the sumptuous furnishings and artworks in the Queens Gallery, Queen’s Drawing Room and Queen’s Bedroom.
Visit the Fashion Rules exhibition to admire Princess Diana’s couture dress collection, as well as many belonging to Princess Margaret and the current Queen. Learn about the public and private life of one of Britain’s greatest monarchs, Queen Victoria, in Victoria Revealed.
The Palace Gardens play a staring role as well, particularly in the warmer months. The gardens connect to Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park where you’ll find the Diana Memorial Fountain.
Visit the Palace Café and Gift Shop for souvenirs and refreshments. For a treat, enjoy an elegant breakfast or decadent afternoon tea in The Orangery, which overlooks the palace grounds.
Kensington Palace is centrally located in Chelsea and is an easy walk from several Tube stations. The palace is open year-round 7 days a week, except for a few days around the Christmas holiday and the end of January. Ticket prices include access to the palace, gardens and exhibitions.