As the second part of our Historic Royal Palaces half-price January, we headed to Kensington Palace, both of us for the first time. In the beautiful setting of Kensington Gardens, the Palace is an interesting mix of historical state apartments and high-security home of William, Catherine and baby George, amongst other royal family members.
The first highlight was not a sighting of Harry popping out to get milk, but an extremely chubby squirrel in a nearby tree.
Moving inside, the state apartments were split into the eras they were most used: William and Mary created the oldest part of the house, while George II held a glittering social scene (before Buckingham Palace was built). Finally, here Victoria was born and met Albert in the surprisingly modest hallway. Victoria’s rooms were our favourite; they were beautifully recreated and especially interesting for us after our trip to Osborne House. The love story between Victoria and Albert was painted vividly, and even the piano they played on is here.
It was Albert who was the driving force behind the Crystal Palace exhibition of 1851, and there was an interesting multi-layered modern sculpture to commemorate it:
There was some contemporary wallpaper, depicting Diana, Princess of Wales, who also lived here:
Moving into the Georgian realm, there was much gold and glamour…
And stunning textured flock wallpaper:
A temporary fashion exhibition showed some of the Queen, Princess Margaret and Diana’s dresses from years gone by. The Queen’s dresses from the Fifties and Sixties were especially interesting, and surprisingly tiny!
Not the cheapest day out, but really great value at half price (valid for just a few more days, so be quick!). We can also report that sandwiches, tea and cake (brownie and shortbread) were excellent – although a little bit pricey, satisfyingly better than at Hampton Court and in a much nicer room!