Address: Kensington Gardens, London W8 4PX


Time: From 10.00am

Time Information:

Phone: 0844 482 7777, 0203 166 6000

Entry Price: £17.50 for adult

1400m from Paddington

400m from Queensway

Kensington Palace lies next to Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, with its apartments today being home to a number of members of the royal family.

It was originally built in 1605 and became a royal residence when William III bought it from the Earl of Nottingham for £20,000. It was then called Nottingham House. William preferred the clean air in the village of Kensington to the damp conditions of Whitehall Palace and recruited Sir Christopher Wren to oversee alterations of the new ‘Kensington House’. William died at the house in 1702 following a riding accident with both George I and George II subsequently living there with the latter being the last reigning sovereign to do so.

The house had become run down by the late 18th century and George III’s younger son Edward, Duke of Kent renovated it and moved in. His daughter Princess Victoria was born there in 1819.

In 1837 she received news at the house from the Archbishop of Canterbury that King William had died and that she was now Queen Victoria. She moved to Buckingham Palace and ruled for 64 years. The house eventually became neglected and towards the end of the 19th century demolition was considered but Queen Victoria stepped in and ordered renovations to the state rooms in the style of when King George was on the throne on the condition that it was then opened to the public. It was opened on her 80th birthday.

In 1911-14 the London Museum moved in and during the 1914-18 war, charities used the building. The museum moved in again 1950-76 and it also continued as a royal residence. Princess Margaret lived there from 1960-2002 and perhaps more famously Princess Diana lived there 1981-1997. The connection with Princess Diana made Kensington Palace one of the most famous London landmarks.

Today it’s home to a number of members of the royal family including the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke and Duchess of Kent and Prince Harry who spent his childhood there. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have apartments. It has recently had a £12m renovation and is open to the public.

Click on the pics below for an enlarged view and use the arrow towards the right edge of each pic to go on to the next.