Kensington Palace may be the smaller sister to Buckingham, but it has an equally absorbing history. Most people will know it from its housing of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Kate, next in line to the throne and for its name being leant to the nearby Kensington Gardens, one of the city’s key Royal Parks. For guests of the Park Avenue Bayswater Hotel, Kensington Palace is just a 13 minute walk away.
So let’s start with a little bit of history, for why should guests of Bayswater Accommodation visit one of London’s most lavish townhouses without a little context? Dating back to 1689, William III bought Kensington Palace, then known as Nottingham House, as an alternative home to Whitehall which was too polluted for his asthma. The new palace changed hands from many royals over hundreds of years, including being the childhood home of Queen Victoria.
Kensington may not be the royal headquarters and formal base of operations as Buckingham Palace is, but it still offers guests of hotels near Royal Albert Hall a grand day out. Below is just some of what you can expect from a visit.
So Who Lives There Now?
Whilst there are many areas of the palace that are open to the public, specific state apartments and houses within the grounds are inhabited by actual members of the royal family. These include the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge alongside their three children. Alongside them, lesser known royals including the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, Kent and the Prince and Princess of Kent also live at properties on the Kensington Estate.
The King’s State Apartments
Usually reserved for meetings back during the reigns of William III, the King’s State Apartments are included in the admission fare for the palace. The apartments are home to the King’s Staircase, the meeting room known as the Presence Chamber, the private entertainment room for the royals known as the Privy Chamber, the Cuppola Room and the Drawing Room. The latter two were designed by famous interior deciorator William Kent back in the 1720s.
The Queen’s State Apartments
Designed at the behest of Mary II in the 1690s, little has been changed from the Queen’s State Apartments, a private set of rooms designed for the enjoyment of William and Mary during their reign. At various times, the rooms included Turkish carpets and tapestries and Oriental porcelain pieces from China and Japan.
Victoria: A Royal Childhood
Guests of hotels near Madame Tussuads looking for more Victorian points of interest in Lodnon should look no further than this exhibition detailing the childhood of Queen Victoria, who was born and raised in Kensington Palace. Expect artefacts from her life, scrapbooks and mementos from her German governess as well as Queen Victoria’s own doll house.
Kensington Palace Gardens
The private gardens of the palace, queens and queen consorts could reach Kensington Palace Gardens directly from their State Apartments. Not to be confused with the public-facing Kensington Gardens, the grounds around Kensington Palace include the Sunken Gardens, designed in the early 20th century, formal gardens and wildflowers, all open to Kensington Palace ticket holders between Wednesdays and Sundays.