Royal Buildings: Kensington Palace

 

A Royal Palace in our neighborhood.

When my parents told us that we would be heading to London, I was excited as I would be going back to explore the city at a slower pace. I also bugged them to follow me to go on a Royal Palace hunt as this was one of the things I didn’t get to do the last time. Plus I love palaces and would visit at least one in each city. My mom said I must have wanted to be a Princess when I was a little girl and she obliged in this Royal hunt.

Our apartment was located in Kensington and the first place we decided to explore was just across the street, inside the expansive Hyde Park.

The lovely outdoor cafe outside Kensington Palace.

The lovely outdoor cafe outside Kensington Palace.

 

A little bit of history. 

The Kensington Palace has been a place of residency for the British Royal Family since the 17th century and it is now the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. However, as we were entering the entrance door to the palace, we overheard one of the staff informing guests that they did not reside here and that this was just a museum of history. The guests then left and decided not to continue the tour.

Many Royal blood have lived here including Queen Anne, King George I and II, as well the long ruling Queen Victoria. The palace faces the beautiful lake and garden, a white statue of Queen Victoria can be seen at the main entrance area.

A time capsule to be opened in 97 years time!

A time capsule to be opened in 97 years time!

 

Top things to see and do in Kensington Palace.

Of course this was not just any ordinary palace with gorgeous rooms and art galleries. There was also a fashion exhibition showcasing all the gowns and dresses worn by the Royal family, as well as pretending as though you’re part of the Royal setting (I love this part).

1. Fashion Rules.

My mum loved this the most and we both got to see the dress from the collections of HM The Queen, Princess Margaret and Diana, Princess of Wales. As we walked through the rooms, we saw the designs change from ’40s long gowns and cape inspiration to the 90’s glam and glitter gowns. Some of the designers include Norman Hartnell,  Hardy Amies, Ian Thomas for HM Queen Elizabeth, and Zandra Rhodes for Diana.

Fashion Rules inside Kensington Palace.

Fashion Rules inside Kensington Palace.

Fashion Rules Exhibition of stylish gowns of Queens and Princesses. The red one was worn by Diana, Princess of Wales.

Fashion Rules Exhibition of stylish gowns of Queens and Princesses. The red one was worn by Diana, Princess of Wales.

 

2. Victoria Revealed. 

This exhibition shared the life of Queen Victoria in Kensington Palace, from a young age until she blossomed into a Queen. It includes personal objects, paintings, sculptures, photography of the late Queen and the life of Prince Albert. She reigned for 63 years, longer than any other British monarch. After the death of her beloved husband, she never stopped wearing black mourning clothes and was known as a little old lady in black. Looking at her photos, I cant help but admire her beauty in them and how she cared for the nation during those times.

Staircase up to the Queen Victoria rooms.

Staircase up to the Queen Victoria rooms.

 

3. The Queen’s State Apartments. 

This was where we explored Queen Mary II intimate and private rooms where she lived, entertained guests, dined and relaxed. In one of the hall is the Queen’s Staircase where she would walk down to her gardens. At the top was the Queen’s Gallery where she enjoyed her reading and needlework. Other rooms that we explored were the Queen’s Closet, Queen’s Dining Room and her Drawing Room.

Lavish carpets hang on the walls of this Royal Palace.

Lavish carpets hang on the walls of this Royal Palace.

 

4. The King’s Staircase. 

Once we stepped out from the Queen’s Apartments we came across a hall with a grand staircase that goes up to the entrance of the King’s State Apartments. This was the King’s staircase with a large painting of the Royal court looking out from above, that showed another side of the Royal life.

The grand King's Staircase leading up to the King's State Apartments.

The grand King’s Staircase leading up to the King’s State Apartments.

The large painting overlooking the King's Grand Staircase.

The large painting overlooking the King’s Grand Staircase.

 

5. The King’s State Apartments. 

Upon ascending the staircase, we entered a large hall with rooms that had many sculptures & works of arts. Inside the Presence Chamber room was a gilded chair that belonged to King George’s II son named Frederick. After that came the Cupola room which was used to entertain guests I assumed, as we could hear classical music bouncing on the ceilings and walls here. The highlight of the King’s State Apartments was the Drawing Room, a long gallery with large paintings on the wall.

The Cupola Room where guests were entertained with classical music.

The Cupola Room where guests were entertained with classical music.

Music for the soul can be heard in this room.

Music for the soul can be heard in this room.

The Drawing Room where courtiers would have come in search of power and patronage.

The Drawing Room where courtiers would have come in search of power and patronage.

 

My personal take on Kensington Palace.

If you have some time on your hands, you could put this spot in your list as it provides you with stories of the past monarchs especially the womenkind. What I loved about it was that we got to walk around in the actual rooms and halls where they used to dine, sleep, entertain their guests. The Fashion Rules exhibition was also a plus point as we got to see the Royal dresses up close! The most important thing also was that my parents enjoyed visiting the Kensington Palace as it’s suitable for families and group tours. You’ll need at least 2 hours to explore all the rooms in the building though and after that you could have coffee in the cafe or do some shopping in the souvenir shop.

Location Information:

Address: Kensington Gardens, London, United Kingdom | By Train: Use District or Circle Lines to High Street Kensington | By Bus: Take 9, 10, 49, 52, 70 or 452 to Kensington High Street | Opening hours: 10am – 6pm | Tickets: £17.50 (adult),  Free (children <16) |

About Yafieda Jamil

A Malaysian girl currently working abroad in Phnom Penh city. I love a good road trip, hot cappuccinos, spicy food and staring at old buildings. My mission is to inspire people to see the world differently before we all get any older. Oh and giraffes are the most beautiful creatures on earth.

2 Responses to Royal Buildings: Kensington Palace

  1. I’ve been here only once but never went inside because it was not opened to the public then. The one time I went was to see the sea of flowers left by mourners in the days after Diana, Princess of Wales died following an accident. She lived here, if I recall it correctly, after her divorce.

    • fienuts says:

      I’m sure it was a beautiful sight to see those flowers out there for her. A lot of people also assumed that Prince William lives there and they they wanted to catch a glimpse of them but alas, they don’t. They actually have another place somewhere in Norfolk I believe.

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