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- Free entry with National Art Pass.
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The birthplace and childhood home of Queen Victoria, this elegant 17th-century palace lies in the heart of Kensington, surrounded by gardens and tucked away from the bustle of the high street.
The palace reopened in 2012 after a £12-million renovation project, and its rooms reveal the dramatic stories of three centuries of royal life.
The Queen’s State Apartments are a series of cosy intimate rooms created for Queen Mary II and her husband King William III, who bought the palace in the late 17th century and commissioned Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor to transform it into their home. The magnificent King’s Staircase, decorated with scenes of George I’s court, leads into the imposing King’s Apartments, where courtiers and visitors were received by the monarch. A further series of rooms is devoted to Queen Victoria. She was born and grew up in the palace, and it was here that she first found out she was to be Queen, and where she met her future husband, Albert.
Later, in the 20th century, princesses Margaret and Diana both spent time living at the Palace and it is currently the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George of Cambridge, Prince Harry of Wales, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.
The Victoria Revealed permanent display explores the life and reign of Queen Victoria in her own words. Extracts from her journals and correspondence are displayed alongside personal objects and artworks in the rooms where she once lived.
The Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection has been housed at Kensington Palace since 1982, telling the social history of high society through fine fabrics, sumptuous dresses and wasp-waisted outfits.
Art Funded works
We helped the palace acquire two 'court mantuas' or 18th-century dresses designed for ladies attending court. They were both export-stopped due to their historical significance. One is made by Giacomo Herman and was bought for the Palace in 2006; the other is by an unknown British maker and was bought in 1995.
The merchandise on offer at the Kensington Palace shop reflects the generations of royal women that have influenced the development of the palace and includes exclusively designed china and exquisite lace accessories.
The Orangery Restaurant has a fine selection of teas and provides morning coffee, light lunches, afternoon tea and al fresco dining on the terrace. Cakes, pastries and a selection of wines and Historic Royal Palace beers are also on offer. Children are welcome and can take a special children's version of afternoon tea.
Art we've helped buy at Kensington Palace
Free entry with National Art Pass (standard entry charge is £16.50)
1 Nov 2014 – 28 Feb 2015
Daily, 10am - 5pm
Last admission 4pm
Closed 24 - 26 Dec 2014
Closed 26 - 30 Jan 2015
1 Mar 2015 – 31 Oct 2015
Daily, 10am - 6pm
Last admission 5pm