9 March 2015

Visiting Kensington Palace

Living in London for many years, we've walked past Kensington Palace at least 1,294 times. Clutching ill-gotten snacks, sunning ourselves in the enormous park, exploring tube oddities such as the fake terrace in Leinster Gardens, sipping tea in the afternoon with fellow blog-addicts, discovering the Grade II listed stump known as the Elfin Oak. All of these, and every single time I've said 'I really want to visit Kensington Palace, I should do it sometime.'

Visiting Kensington Palace Adventures of a London Kiwi
 
Visiting Kensington Palace Adventures of a London Kiwi

This is a sure sign of taking a city for granted - taking more than 5 years to get my permatourist butt into gear, and walk through those gates. We've made our way around the others - nearly vaulting into the thrones at Buckingham Palace, sipped tea with the Queen whilst hatted, taken part in ancient key ceremonies with Royal Guardsmen, taken overseas friends to Windsor, discovered royal cottages tucked in amongst Bluebells, explored Hampton Court Palace, spent hours in the Tower of London, but still walked past Kensington Palace again and again. Talk about a fail.

Visiting Kensington Palace Adventures of a London Kiwi

Visiting Kensington Palace Adventures of a London Kiwi

Kensington Palace feels like a grown-ups version of a dolls house. Perfectly proportioned from one angle, exquisitely gilded unicorns prance over ironwork gates, then you turn towards the visitors entrance. Security won't let you into the private living quarters of Prince William, Kate and cherubic George, but the rest is open for visitors (of the paying rather than just privileged kind) which have been admired since Queen Victoria opened the floors to the public in 1899.
 
Visiting Kensington Palace Adventures of a London Kiwi

Each area seems rather distinctly set up in a labyrinthine way, set into dollhouse like sections. Perfectly manicured stages, set to display Royal history.
The dial positioned over the fireplace is still connected to a wind-vane on the roof so that the King could see which way the wind was blowing, - See more at: http://www.hrp.org.uk/KensingtonPalace/stories/kingsgallery#sthash.ozQxi1Ee.dpuf
The dial positioned over the fireplace is still connected to a wind-vane on the roof so that the King could see which way the wind was blowing, - See more at: http://www.hrp.org.uk/KensingtonPalace/stories/kingsgallery#sthash.ozQxi1Ee.dpuf
The dial positioned over the fireplace is still connected to a wind-vane on the roof so that the King could see which way the wind was blowing, - See more at: http://www.hrp.org.uk/KensingtonPalace/stories/kingsgallery#sthash.ozQxi1Ee.dpuf

Visiting Kensington Palace Adventures of a London Kiwi

A hallway is filled with portraits of Diana, Princess of Hearts.

Princess Diana Kensington Palace Adventures of a London Kiwi

Kensington Palace Adventures of a London Kiwi

The opulent Kings Staircase with Trompe L'Oeil has children peeping through balustrades...


... leading to the King's Galleries where fine art hangs and a dial positioned over the fireplace is still connected to a wind-vane on the roof so that the King William III could see which way the wind was blowing.

Kensington Palace Adventures of a London Kiwi

Kensington Palace Adventures of a London Kiwi

Queen Mary II's apartments are selectively filled with fine furniture including beautiful Delft porcelein and secret doorways.

Kensington Palace Adventures of a London Kiwi

Fashion Rules Kate Middleton Visiting Kensington Palace Adventures of a London Kiwi

A 'Fashion Rules' exhibit currently displays a glittering wardrobe of royal dresses (complete with manly sitting area - they really need to set up a pub bar) and a Victoriana exhibition displaying the lighter side of childhood for one the most infamously stony faced Queens

Kensington Palace Adventures of a London Kiwi

For this post, I'm blaming Amanda whose Kensington Palace exploration finally convinced me to go. There are a few really good 2 for 1 deals you can get to visit - but I've learned that if you go on your own no-one can complain at how many photos you stop and take... mwahahaha!

Victoria and Albert Visiting Kensington Palace Adventures of a London Kiwi


It's a nice, couple of hours wander through history.

Kensington Palace Adventures of a London Kiwi

Have you been?

36 comments :

  1. What a gorgeous place! I love the signs for the loo!
    Lots of love,
    Angie

    SilverSpoon London

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  2. I love those signs. You can't beat British humour.
    The whole place is stunning.

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  3. I'm overcome with guilt reading this, I too have failed to make it there! Actually a large part of West London remains unexplored, something to remedy in the coming months! x

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  4. This is just the sort of thing I like to do alone a long leisurely gander and then a nice cup of tea and cake all to yourself!

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  5. WOW! This completely makes me want to go in-- WHY HAVE I NEVER TAKEN A TOUR??

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  6. The Princess Diana wall is beautiful! Well, the whole place is!

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  7. I'm so glad you finally went! (and hopefully loved it!) x

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  8. I really, really enjoyed it - it was such an array of fascination!

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  9. Isn't it just - can you imagine living here, dress sweeping down the hallways?

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  10. Aren't they amazing - they made me smile from the moment I walked in the door!

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  11. British humour can be so tongue in cheek sometimes (and they do seem to love a bit of loo humour!)

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  12. I would love to go to Kensington Palace! It looks so beautiful. I definitely need to get myself back down to London asap! x

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  13. It's definitely one for an afternoon of wandering - perfect rainy day entertainment!

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  14. Looks so pretty! I would love to go there and explore the area!!


    www.palettebyrachell.com

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  15. I have seen three of the historic royal palaces in London, but not this one yet! I like how you described it as a grown-up doll's house. Sounds lovely!!

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  16. It really did feel like that - could you imagine living there!?

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  17. No, I have not been yet and don't think I will get time before I leave! I would be more persuaded if I could go into Kate and Wills section!

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  18. I'm pretty bad at going to the places you're "supposed" to go in London (i.e. kensington palace, etc) - but it does look lovely. Particularly like the look of the room with the light up blue tree thing in it...

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  19. Love the clothes and the Diana portrait so much! I never go to places like this unless I am a tourist there and I really end up regretting it, so good for you for actually finally deciding to go!

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  20. I have very much the same problem - luckily the 'pressure' of blogging gets me out & about a bit more!

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  21. I'm very much the same, but I guess being a longterm expat (and oftentimes having friends and family visit) helps!

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  22. Most definitely :) It's rather pretty!

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  23. I've never been but it doesn't look too bad. It's not somewhere I tend to visit, because I'm not a big history lover, but I'd probably go if there was an offer on or it was included in the ticket of something else :)

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  24. I hear that, blogging in itself definitely gets me off the sofa!

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  25. I visited the Palace near the start of my time in London and loved it - as you say it is the perfect dolls house! The royal dresses exhibition wasn't quite open then so I may have to return soon... :)

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  26. This looks interesting, I didn't even realise you could go in. I bet now that Kate and Wills are in residence it is more popular that Buckingham Palace!

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  27. There are quite a few 2 for 1 tickets around - I'd recommend on to be honest. It was worth a wander around though.

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  28. Lisa and Stella27 March 2015 at 21:43

    Wow, it's beautiful. I've only been once, when Princess Diana died, but I had no idea there was so much going on indoors these days. Super photos :)

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