King William III and Queen Mary II purchased Nottingham House in 1689 and transformed it into a palace with the help of Sir Christopher Wren (the architect of St. Paul's Cathedral). Kensington Palace was also their private home. William and Mary chose the property as they wanted to live somewhere with clean air in 'Kensington village'. Of course, Kensington is no longer a village, and is a wealthy part of central London. This area was not always considered central London and Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens were almost considered countryside in the 1600s.
Kensington Palace has been a popular Royal home ever since and some still live here today. Diana, Princess of Wales had an apartment in the north-west of the Palace from 1981 to 1997. Princess Margaret, the Queen’s sister, lived at Kensington Palace until she died in 2002.
Queen Victoria was born at Kensington Palace and was extremely fond of her home here. You can visit the bedroom where she was awoken to be told she would be Queen. Of course, she then had to leave and move to Buckingham Palace but Kensington Palace was always special to her and in 1898, on her 80th birthday, she opened the Palace to the public.
From 1911 to 1914, the London Museum (now known as the Museum of London) occupied the state apartments of Kensington Palace. It returned from 1950 to 1976 before it got its permanent home at the Barbican.
A multi-million pound renovation project was completed in 2012 and the palace now has its entrance off the Broad Walk in Kensington Gardens by the statue of Queen Victoria.
- Buy tickets from Viator (Buy Direct)
- Four Exhibitions in One Palace
- Kensington Palace Visitor Information
- Kensington Palace History
- Kensington Palace Orangery Afternoon Tea
You can book a Royal London Sightseeing Tour with Changing of the Guard Ceremony tour through Viator.