London Hotel near Kensington Palace
Sitting pretty on the very western edge of Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park is Kensington Palace, a large brick mansion that first became a royal residence in 1689 when King William III and Queen Mary II purchased the property to live in during the winter months.
Queen Mary died here in 1694 followed by King William in 1702. Queen Victoria was born in the palace 1819 as was Queen Mary (the current Queen's grandmother) in 1867.
The KP (as it is casually referred to within the Royal family) was only used as a residence for reigning monarchy for the following 50 years with King George II being the last to reside here, for Princess Victoria moved immediately to Buckingham Palace once hearing of her accession to the throne.
You will spy the striking architecture of Kensington Palace from quite a distance when you are walking through the Gardens.
The south frontage is by far the more attractive with large wrought iron gates that were moved from the north side in the late 1980´s and a statue of King William III out front.
On the east is a statue of Queen Victoria that sits by the Broad Walk (now a popular rollerblading and skating pathway) and the eastern side is also where you will find the Round Pond where King George supposedly kept his edible turtles.
In more recent years, Kensington Palace is better known for being the residence of the Prince and Princess of Wales, Charles and Diana, after they wed in 1981, living here together with their children William and Harry until separating.
Diana continued to call KP home until she died in August 1997, and it was by the impressive ´Crowther Gates´ where literally millions of flowers, gifts and poems were placed in mourning of her sudden death. Noted as being ´London's most fashionable attraction´ would no doubt have something to do with beautiful grounds in which the palace resides but also the stunning collection of Diana's gowns and dresses on display until 2007 during the exhibition ´Diana Princess of Wales by Mario Testino at Kensington Palace´.
Also justifying the title is the ´Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection´ which includes gowns, military clothing, jewellery and some of the Queen's most glamorous ball gowns dating from the 1950´s.
All of the above collections are included in a guided tour of Kensington Palace along with exploring the ´Kings Apartments´ which are approached via an incredible black marble staircase, the ´Cupola Room´ where Queen Victoria was christened and the ´Queens Apartments´ where the Queen's Bedchamber is located and sadly where Queen Anne died from overeating.
´The Victorian Rooms´ are furnished with collections belonging to Queen Victoria and consort Prince Albert and the ´Garden Floor´ is where the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection is housed.
Before leaving Kensington Palace you must make time to take a look at the ´sunken garden´ and the ´Orangery´ - the setting for the palace restaurant.
The Palace is open daily from 10am and admission fees apply.
To thoroughly enjoy the palace it is recommended you allow approximately 2 hours. For general information regarding admission fees and current exhibitions, head to Kensington Palaces´ website.
High Street Kensington underground station runs on the Circle and District lines and is a 10-15 minute walk from Kensington Palace. Queensway or Notting Hill Gate stations are also options as are the many bus routes that run in the area.
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Kensington Hotels | Hotels near Royal Albert Hall