Visiting London’s Royal Residence – Kensington Palace
There are many things to do when you’re visiting London, but no visit is complete without a stop to see the royal residence, Kensington Palace. The palace has been the official residence of the British Royal Family since 1689 and it is now the London residence for plenty of royals; amongst them are the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Duke and Duchess of Kent, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, as well as Prince and Princess Michael of Kent and Prince Harry.
The History of Kensington Palace
The later royal residence was first built in 1605 by the first Earl of Nottingham, Heneage Finch. The house was also named after the Earl as Nottingham House and it was located in the village of Kensington, which we currently know as one of London’s wealthy neighborhoods. Once William and Mary took the fate of the nation in their hands in 1689, they decided to move from Whitehall to Kensington, as the former was too damp due to its closeness to the Thames. William suffered from bad asthma, and dampness was certainly not something he should be exposed to. The royal couple purchased Nottingham House for 20,000 pounds in the summer of 1689, and an immediate expansion of the palace was ordered. Within a few months, they moved to their new palace.
The palace consists of 10 spacious apartments and cottages laid out on the grounds. There is also the famous Orangery, built during the reign of Queen Anne, and a beautiful garden. The current royal family members that reside there include Prince Harry, Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton, along with their son George. Many of the past residents included Queen Anne, Queen Victoria, Kings George I and George II, as well as Prince Charles and Princess Diana.
What to do at Kensington Palace
If you are traveling to the royal residence, you can either take a bus or the tube and walk the remaining distance to the palace. There are three gates within 10 to 20 minutes of the residence. Visitors can take the Central Line to the Queensway or Notting Hill Gates or the District or Circle lines to High Street Kensington stop. There are four bus routes to get to the Bayswater Road stop: 70, 94, 148, 390 or the High Street Kensington stop: 9, 10, 49, 52, 70 and 452.
Once you arrive at Kensington Palace, you can tour the many gardens on the grounds, see the King’s Staircase, tour the Queen’s or King’s State Apartments and any current exhibitions, all included with your ticket. The palace receives visitors seven days a week all year, but it is closed to the public on December 24th and 25th. Tickets can be bought online, on the phone or you can buy them when you go to Kensington Palace.