To be found at the western end of the gloriously ornate Kensington Gardens, Kensington Palace isn’t just one of London’s palaces in which past and more-or-less present British royalty have lived, it’s also one of the city’s biggest public attractions.
In fact, while it was built and first occupied more than 300 years ago, it’s been open to the public since the year 1899, which is quite the claim when you consider Buckingham Palace has only allowed in paying punters within the last 20 years.
In recent times, this palace, then, has served as home to the likes of Princess Margaret, Princess Diana and eventually her children – Princes William and Harry – and their spouses and, way back when, was also the original home of the legendary Queen Victoria. So, should you decide to book a stay, yourself, at the nearby Bayswater Inn hotel London, what’s there to see on a visit to Kensington Palace…?
The King’s State Apartments
These gloriously grand apartments are where you’ll discover not just fabulous furniture but also beautiful paintings derived from the Stuart-Hanoverian periods of the English/ British monarchy, in addition to the like from the Victorian era.
There’s truly nothing like visiting these incredible apartments while enjoying a London trip thanks to London accommodation offers – not least because they fully comprise The King’s Staircase, the Privy Chamber, the Presence Chamber, The King’s Drawing Room, The King’s Gallery, the Cupola Room and the Council Chamber.
Special mention should definitely go to The King’s Gallery. It’s not just the largest room in the Palace but, being a gallery, also the longest; adorned, as it is, by a sensational ceiling that was painted way back in the year 1723 – yes, that’s right, all of 299 years ago!
The Queen’s State Apartments
Dedicated to one of the final Stuart monarchs, Queen Mary II (who co-reigned with her husband, the Dutch-derived King William III), these apartments are particularly notable for the ornate Queen’s Staircase, as well as the Queen’s Gallery. The latter is packed full of beautiful artefacts. There’s also The Queen’s Closet, The Queen’s Dining Room and The Queen’s Drawing Room (the latter offers up an intertwined monogram of William and Mary’s initials, to be found carved into a cornice). In fact, there’s so much to see here (and throughout the Palace), you’ll want to be properly prepared to take it all in, so make sure you book into one of the chic London hotels with breakfast.
Last but not least, these apartments include The Queen’s Bedroom. It was in this room that Queen Victoria slept before becoming queen herself. Indeed, aged just 18, she awoke in this bed one morning to learn her uncle (King William IV) had died and she was now sovereign.
Finally, no enthusiast of the Windsors can afford to miss the section in the Palace put aside for the what’s named ‘Modern Royals’. It comprises five rooms filled with fabulous displays of clothes worn by three legendary 20th century Windsor women – Princess Diana, the late Queen Elizabeth II herself and the latter’s late sister (and, for many, something of a forerunner to Diana), Princess Margaret. For sure, its enchanting universe is a world away from our humdrum lives (maybe even from a stay enjoying special offers London)!
In total, the exhibition features 18 couture dresses; many of them oozing ostentation but also gleaming with elegance, thanks to diamonds, pearls and more. Moreover, although demonstrating the height of haute couture, the dresses each manage, too, to showcase fashion trends of their respective eras, which is rather striking, it has to be said. Nobody can escape it – time passes and fashions come and go, even for royalty!