Results 1-9of 9 Reviews
Gravesend, United Kingdom
November 24, 2012
From journal Lovely London!
St. Louis, Missouri
February 12, 2009
July 3, 2006
From journal London--The Heart of the Empire
Hoffman Estates, Illinois
April 6, 2006
From journal My Trip to London
April 27, 2003
Kensington Palace was purchased in 1689 by William and Mary as a country retreat from the smog and dirt of central London. It was renovated and expanded by Sir Christopher Wren, and remained the center of court life until the mid-18th centrury.
After the death of George II, the last reigning monarch to live at Kensington, the palace sank into obscurity as the home of minor royals. Here Princess Victoria -- later Queen Victoria -- was born in 1819 and spent her youth.
The state rooms at Kensington are decorated to represent either the Palace in the time of William and Mary or the youth of Queen Victoria. The difference between the two periods is striking, not so much for the differences in decor, but because the rooms in the earlier period were clearly meant to display England''s power and wealth to the world, while Victoria''s rooms were very domestic -- not unlike those in our houses today.
While you are in William and Mary''s section of the Palace, be sure to check out the grand stairway leading up to the King''s apartments. It''s decorated with a trompe l''oiel classical background that''s populated by portraits of William''s courtiers, who peer down upon those seeking an audience with the Monarch, and guarded by eternally watchful faux-sentinels.
In addition to the State Apartments, the Palace also contains a collection of Queen Elizabeth II''s outfits, Princess Diana''s evening gowns, and costumes representing court dress through the ages. The audioguide you get with admission provides facts about each dress, as well as information on the labrynthine protocol for court dress and behavior.
One of the nicest things about Kensington Palace is its situation at the far end of Kensington Gardens/Hyde Park. In the springtime, when I visited, the gardens were awash in daffodils, banks of which surrounded the house--very pretty, especially when viewed from the pond in front of the Palace on the Kensington Gardens side.
The most senic way to get to the Palace (if the weather is good) is to get off the Tube at the Queensway stop, cross the Bayswater Road, and walk into Kensington Gardens on the path called Broad Walk. This leads right up to the Palace.
Admission to the Palace is £10.20 for adults, £7.70 for students, but if you look, you can find discount admission offers. In the 2002-2003 season, for instance, the Underground was offering 2-for-1 admission with the display of a Travelcard.
From journal London on the cheap
October 6, 2001
From journal London and Vicinity
April 1, 2007
From journal London...several excerpts from my real travel journal
MEXICO CITY, Mexico
October 14, 2005
From journal Global Exchange Guides
Charlotte, North Carolina
April 3, 2005
The home is still the residence of several members of the royal family, while others have offices here. But they allow the common folk to come enjoy their finery - for a fee, of course. The building itself is stunning. There is a long walkway where you can enjoy the formal gardens. When we were here, that seemed to be the favorite of children who were running and wallowing all over the ground. Admission includes an audio tour. The cassettes come in several languages. You can tour at your leisure. Here you will see furniture, jewels, photographs, and personal items from the royal families who have resided here. The tapes are very lengthy. After a while, we found it easier and quicker to read the program guide descriptions. One of the favorite displays here the collection of royal ceremonial dresses. You can see the room where Queen Victoria was born and baptized. Make sure to check out the state rooms, which have a very large and impressive collection of 17th-century paintings.
Anyone who loves Princess Di should make sure to put this on his or her list. Downstairs, you can view a collection of the late-princess’ dresses. I noticed that the mood of the other rooms were a collection of people chatting away and ohhing and ahhing at the royal finery. Here, I noticed the mood was somber and people spoke in whispers. Many people, myself included, had to dab their eyes on more than one occasion. In fact, by the time I left, I was bawling. Though she has been gone now for almost 8 years, the memories of this beautiful lady are still here. People come here as a way to somehow be close to the People’s Princess. The black wrought-iron gates trimmed in gold on the outside was where so many people came to pay their respects when this beautiful life was taken tragically in August of 1997. This was the gate where millions of flowers were left to the late princess.
The palace is open from 10am to 5pm daily. Admission is £10 per person. Credit cards are accepted. On the way out, you do go through a gift shop (I am sure you are as shocked as I was). Here you can find guides, books, tourist goodies, postcards, and plenty of Di-related articles. You can visit them on the web at www.royal.gov.uk or www.hrp.org.uk.
From journal Historic London