Kensington Palace in London is a working Royal residence. The favourite residence of successive sovereigns until 1760, it was the birthplace and childhood home of Queen Victoria, and today accommodates the offices and private apartments of a number of members of the Royal Family.
William III bought the Jacobean mansion, originally known as Nottingham House, in 1689 from his Secretary of State, the Earl of Nottingham, and commissioned Christopher Wren to extend and improve the house. This included the construction of Royal Apartments for the King and Queen, a council chamber, the Chapel Royal and the Great Stairs. A private road was laid out from the Palace to Hyde Park Corner, wide enough for three or four carriages to travel abreast down it, part of which survives today as Rotten Row. Until the death of George II in 1760, Kensington Palace was the favourite residence of successive sovereigns. Queen Victoria was born and brought up in the Palace and news of her accession in 1837 was brought to her there by the Lord Chamberlain and the Archbishop of Canterbury. It had been expected that Victoria would reign from either Kensington or St James’s Palace but almost immediately she moved to Buckingham Palace and never again stayed at Kensington.
Kensington Palace is home to the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection, with items of Royal, ceremonial and court dress dating from the 18th century to the present day.
The Robot suggests visiting:
- The beautiful Sunken Garden, which was planted in 1908 and transformed part of the gardens occupied by potting sheds into a tranquil ornamental garden of classical proportions
- Tea and cakes at the Orangery
Summer (March to October) – 10am to 6pm
Winter (November to February) – 10am to 5pm
High Street Kensington (District or Circle lines; 10 minutes walk); Queensway (Central Line; 5 minutes walk); Notting Hill Gate (Central Line; 15 minutes walk).
27, 70, 94, 148, 390 to Bayswater Road or 9,10, 49, 52, 70, and 452 to Kensington High Street.
Kensington Palace, Kensington Gardens, London, W8 4PX (Map)
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