What's Inside Kensington Palace? Here is Everything You Want to Know
A trip to Kensington Palace is nothing short of spectacular. Historic sites and memorabilia have been renewed and make for great viewing, while high-tech innovations have also been implemented to provide visitors with the best experience.
Luxurious rooms, classic paintings, grandiose apartments, historic items, lush gardens and interesting exhibitions make the Kensington Palace in London one of the top attractions for locals and curious tourists alike. Learn about what's inside Kensington Palace before making a visit.
Inside Kensington Palace
The King's State Apartments
The King's State Apartments is the grandest one among all apartments. It contains grandiose staterooms, the Presence Chamber, the Cupola Room, the King’s Drawing Room, and the King’s Gallery. Most of these staterooms don’t have the typical furniture you would expect but are filled with works of art instead. The first attraction that you encounter is the King’s Staircase, a staircase is known for the paintings that depict the life and court of George I. Once you’re up these stairs, you can roam around the rooms and admire everything on display.
The King’s Gallery
The largest stateroom in the King’s State Apartments is the Gallery, which was transformed by King George I in 1725. It has since been enhanced by artist William Kent, who painted the 7 huge ceiling canvases with scenes from the life of Ulysses. Although the room currently showcases the best paintings from the Royal Collection, it has been host to many intimate royal moments. During the early days, William III used this room to meet spies and plan military campaigns.
The Queen's State Apartments
The second of the Kensington Palace Apartments was built for Queen Mary when she and her husband moved into the royal residence. The Queen along with the royal consorts enjoyed their days in the Queen’s State Apartments, which features a Queen’s Staircase, Gallery, Closet, Dining Room and Drawing Room.While the Queen’s State Apartments is not as grand as the King’s, it still provides an intriguing view into the life of a royal. The sites are filled with stories about Queen Mary’s daily life, from strolling through the gardens to relaxing at the Gallery.
Royal Style in the Making
Princess Diana was and might still be one of the most beloved British royals. The Princess of Wales lived in Kensington Palace before her passing and in her memory, an exhibition showcasing her dress and the designing process behind it was opened in 2019. The exhibition features Diana's wedding dress for the first time at Kensington Palace in 25 years, in addition to a rare, surviving toile for the 1937 coronation gown of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother; consort of King George VI.
Victoria: A Royal Childhood
The Kensington Palace apartments and surrounding areas were the home of Princess Victoria, who grew up to become one of the most famous and influential British monarchs. This exhibition was created to commemorate the 200th anniversary of her birth in 2019 and features some quirky items from her early years, including her dollhouse and a scrapbook by German governess Baroness Lehzen, along with interesting stories. Letters from the Duke of Kent’s letter on the day of Victoria’s birth are also on display while curators have spent years recreating rooms from her childhood.
Victoria: Woman and Crown
Find out how Queen Victoria balanced her responsibilities as a wife, mother and reigning monarch through a unique exhibition. The display shows the Queen’s love for India through stories and the centrepiece of the exhibition - excerpts from Victoria's personal diaries carefully inscribed in Urdu.
Dresses from the Queen’s wardrobe, such as a simple cotton petticoat and a pair of fashionable silver boots, are on display and provide a stark contrast to the black wardrobe she preferred in later years. The Queen wore black or dark dresses following her husband Albert’s death in 1861, as a public sign of her grief.
The well known Sunken Garden was created in 1908. The classic garden showcases ornamental flower beds surrounding a pond with fountains. The garden is often one of the final stops on the tour after exploring the Kensington Palace Apartments. Beautiful rotational flower displays are utilized throughout the year so there is never a dull sight for visitors. April to August see vibrant, colourful and exotic flowers such as geraniums, cannas, and begonias while spring sees the garden displaying tulips, wallflowers and pansies bloom.Learn More About Kensington Gardens
The Kensington Palace Apartments are surrounded by 270 acres of gardens featuring stunning flowers and monuments. Once considered part of the neighbouring Hyde Park, the Kensington Gardens were separated in 1689 by William III and Mary II. While the gardens were originally Dutch-style, following monarchs have added their own touches with the Orangery being a famous addition by Queen Anne in 1704. Visitors can walk through the public areas of the gardens, including the Cradle Walk - a pathway whose sides are covered by an arc made from twine.
- Toilets - Toilets are available at Stone Hall and in Cafes. All toilets have disabled access
- Baby Changing Facilities - Guests with children can avail of the baby changing facilities at the palace.
- Wi-Fi - Kensington Palace provides free Wi-Fi access to all
- Dining - The Palace Café and The Kensington Palace Pavilion offer a wide range of delicious food and drink.
- Shopping - Shop for gifts and souvenirs are available at Kensington Palace.
- Free Carer Ticket - Visitors are allowed to bring an accompanying carer free of charge
- Guide Dogs - All recognised guides, assistance or service dogs, including assistance dogs in training are allowed into the palace. Ensure that they are wearing a designated jacket or lead slip. Owners should also carry the dog’s ‘Assistance Dog’s (UK)’ identification book.
- Blind/Partially Sighted - Low light levels have been installed. Described tours are also following for King’s State Apartments and Victoria: A Royal Childhood.
- Deaf/Hard of Hearing - BSL interpretation tours are available for King’s State Apartments and Victoria: A Royal Childhood.
- Limited Mobility - Kensington Palace provides ground-level access from Kensington Gardens. All three floors are accessible via lift. Wheelchairs are available on a first-come-first-served basis.