Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace has been shaped by generations of royal women from Queen Mary to Victoria and, more recently Diana, Princess of Wales.

The London Pass London Pass Benefits: Access to Kensington Palace Normally £19.50 - Included with London Pass

Now the official residence of Kate Middleton and Prince William, Kensington Palace was once the childhood home of Queen Victoria back in the 1820s.

As one of central London’s royal residences, Kensington Palace has been a home and refuge to the royal family since the 17th century. Now, it is the official residence to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Built in 1605, it has roots in Jacobean architecture and was first known as Nottingham House. Now it is one of London’s most exquisite palaces and comes with acres of manicured gardens and the world-famous Orangery.

Enjoy access to Kensington Palace with The London Pass® 

  • Pay nothing at the door – simply show your pass. 
  • Explore the birthplace of Queen Victoria and home to young royals for over 300 years.
  • Walk in the footsteps of Queen Victoria, in her reimagined childhood rooms.
  • Discover the splendour of the King’s State Apartments and the Sunken Gardens. 

 

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- Kensington Palace history

- Kensington Palace highlights

- Kensington Palace facts

- Don't miss

- Know before you go

- Make the most of your London Pass®

- How to get there


Kensington Palace history

Home to the British Royal Family since the 17th century, Kensington Palace was once an unassuming villa known as Nottingham House. The Stuart and Georgian monarchs who lived there, however, transformed Nottingham House into the Kensington Palace visitors can enjoy today. The newly-crowned monarchs William III and Mary II (1689-1702) first sought out Kensington as a much-needed retreat from the smoke and damp of the city; their first home was Whitehall Palace, in the heart of London. In 1689, the King and Queen commissioned Sir Christopher Wren to draw up the plans for transforming Nottingham House into Kensington Palace. Queen Mary project managed the renewal of the building herself. 

While the Palace was in progress, the royals spurred on an era of magnificent balls, showcasing their new ornate rooms, opulent staircases and impressive halls. Once or twice a week, the King and Queen also held Drawing Rooms, which became the focal point of court life. In all their finery, the King and Queen would meet and mingle with ambassadors and foreign princes. However, when Queen Mary died from smallpox in 1694, William ceased these decadent evenings in favour of more sedate concerts and gatherings. Despite his grief, William finished the building with a grand gallery at the south of the Palace, enlarging Sir Christopher Wren’s original plan.

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Kensington Palace highlights

  • Queen Caroline’s Cabinet of Curiosities, a collection of objects from around the world.
  • 16th century painted King’s Staircase depicting frescoes of the court of King George I.
  • Queen Mary’s State Apartments preserved over time.
  • Over 30 acres of lush Palace Gardens, a tranquil urban oasis.



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 Kensington Palace facts

  •  The second-oldest reigning monarch (of 63 years), Queen Victoria, spent her childhood in the palace.
  • The gallery, originally hung with green velvet, served as a clandestine place to meet. William would meet his spies and plan his military campaigns here.
  • A 1697 inventory documented that Mary II owned over 800 items of Chinese Porcelain.
  • To celebrate the arrival of the German King George I at Kensington he ordered a bonfire, six barrels of strong beer and over 300 bottles of wine.
  • Composer Handel was invited to the palace to perform for King George II, who was such a fan that he gave Handel British citizenship (originally he was from Germany, like the King himself).
  • A book of original Leonardo da Vinci drawings was miraculously found in the palace in 1778 and sent to Windsor Castle.
  • Princess Louise allowed injured soldiers hurt in the Great War to rest and recover in her private apartments in 1914.


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Don't miss

Sunken Gardens

Planted in 1908 this garden is a must-see for any flower fanatic as it holds impressive flower displays all year round. If you visit between April and October, you can see the spectacular gardens in bloom with a wide range of exotic flowers. Among the 30 acres of land and gardens, the Sunken Gardens add to the quiet tranquillity of Kensington Palace tucked away in central London.

The Pavilion 

Overlooking the Sunken Garden, the Kensington Palace Pavilion is a relaxed and elegant setting for breakfast, lunch or a classic afternoon tea. Enjoy delicious and traditional English dishes in peaceful and beautiful garden-surroundings. 

Events at Kensington Palace

For more events at Kensington Palace, check the official site


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Know before you go

Visitors with disabilities can enjoy a wide range of tours that offer accessibility options such as British Sign Language and special Describer Tours for the partially-sighted. 

The Queen’s State Apartments will be closed until 31 March 2020. 


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Getting in

Present your London Pass at the main entrance.


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Make the most of your London Pass®

Don't forget to visit the Royal Albert Hall - very close to Kensington Palace. It's another iconic Royal venue not to be missed.


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How to get there

 - High Street Kensington (District and Circle lines)

- Queensway (Central Line)

- Kensington Palace is situated in zone 1 of the London Transport Network so your travel will be included in your package if you opt for The London Pass with Oyster Travelcard.

For more things to do in London, visit the London Pass blog.

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Getting to Kensington Palace

Getting to Kensington Palace

  • Kensington Palace Kensington Palace Gardens London W8
  • Closest Underground Station High Street Kensington
  • Closest Bus Stop Stop N & M: Route 9 23 49 52 70 452 N9
  • Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour Stops Blue Route - Stop 28

Opening Times

March to October
Monday 10.00 - 18.00
Tuesday 10.00 - 18.00
Wednesday 10.00 - 18.00
Thursday 10.00 - 18.00
Friday 10.00 - 18.00
Saturday 10.00 - 18.00
Sunday 10.00 - 18.00
Last Admission: 17.00
November to February
Monday 10.00 - 16.00
Tuesday 10.00 - 16.00
Wednesday 10.00 - 16.00
Thursday 10.00 - 16.00
Friday 10.00 - 16.00
Saturday 10.00 - 16.00
Sunday 10.00 - 16.00
Last Admission: 15.00

Closed:

Please check our Closure & Notices page for changings in opening hours and closure dates.

PLEASE NOTE: Kensington Palace will be closed to the public 6-17 January 2020 for essential maintenance work.

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