Kensington Palace stands at the western end of Kensington Gardens and is perhaps the finest building in the London Borough of Chelsea. Originally called Nottingham House, it passed into royal ownership in 1689 when it was acquired by William and Mary. The King's asthma dictated a move from Whitehall Palace to the healthier air of Kensington. Sir Christopher Wren was engaged to design improvements to the house and the Clock Court and the South Front, including the 96-foot Long Gallery were added.
After William III's death in 1702 the palace became the residence of Queen Anne. Wren designed the Orangery for her and a 30-acre garden was laid out by Henry Wise.
Further extensive alterations were carried out for George I and William Kent painted the elaborate trompe l'oeil ceilings and staircases. The last monarch to live at Kensington Palace was George II, whose consort, Caroline of Ansbach, influenced the development of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. For her, Charles Bridgman created the Serpentine, the Basin and Grand Vista and the Broad Walk.
Queen Victoria spent her childhood at Kensington Palace and it was here in June 1837, that she learned of her accession to the throne.
The palace was the London home of Diana, Princess of Wales and is now the official residence of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
The State Apartments and the Court Dress Collection are open to the public and highlights of a visit include the recently restored Kings Apartments and a magnificent collection of paintings. New additions to the unique Court Dress Collection include a fabulous and very rare court mantua made sometime between 1750-53 and the 'exploded' gentleman's outfit - everything from underclothes to fine lace cuffs and all part of the elaborate costume worn to Court by an 18th century gentleman.
From 1 March until 31 October
Open daily from 10am until 6pm. Last admission is at 5pm.
From 1 November until 28 February
Open daily from 10am until 5pm. Last admission is at 4pm.
The Broad Walk
+44 (0)20 7937 9561
Nearest Tube / Rail Station
High Street Kensington
9, 9a, 10, 12, 49, 52, 70, 94, C1
Disabled access to the palace is limited as the State Apartments are on the first floor and there is no lift. Wheelchair users should be advised that access to the State Apartments will require the visitor to walk up a shallow flight of 30 steps.
However, all areas of the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection are accessible by wheelchair, as is the Orangery restaurant which has a wheelchair ramp.
There are disabled toilet facilities on the ground floor.
Sound guide scripts are available in written form for visitors with hearing difficulties.