Kensington Palace has stood by the British Royal family since 17th century.
The walls of the Palace tell tales about Queen Vitoria’s childhood, King George II’s death and everything in between.
In this article, we explain everything you need to know before you visit Kensington Palace.
Where is Kensington Palace?
The Kensington Palace stands wide on the grounds of a royal park, Kensington Gardens.
The exact address of Kensington Palace is:
London W8 4PX,
How to reach Kensington Palace
If you are close enough, fire up your Google Maps and walk the distance. Directions to Kensington Palace
Else, public transport is the best way to get to Kensington Palace.
The Tube, Train, and Bus are very tourist-friendly and can take you from anywhere in London to the Palace.
The nearest tube stations to the Palace are High Street Kensington and Queensway. From both the stations, a brisk 10-15 minutes walk can take you to the Palace.
The nearest station is Paddington. It takes around 20 mins on foot to get to the Kensington Palace.
You can get onto the bus with route numbers 70, 94, 148 or 390 and get down at Bayswater Road.
Or board any bus with route number 9, 10, 49, 52, 70 and 452 and get off at Kensington High Street.
By Hop-on, hop-off buses
All Hop-on, Hop-Off tour buses visit Kensington Palace.
Big Bus has a stop on the North side of the Kensington Gardens.
Note: If you don’t want to handle all the travel yourself, a hop-on hop-off bus tour of London is the best option.
Kensington Palace opening times
Except for three days a year, the Kensington Palace gates are open to the public all through.
Every year, the Palace remains closed from 24th to 26th December.
The timings of the Palace differ according to the season.
During the summer (1 Mar to 31 Oct), the Palace remains open from 10 am to 6 pm throughout the week.
The last admission is at 5 pm.
During the winter season (1 Nov to 28 Feb) timings are from 10 am to 4 pm throughout the week.
The last entry is at 3 pm.
Best time to visit Kensington Palace
Being one of the popular tourist spots, Kensington Palace is busy most of the time.
The best time to visit the Kensington Palace is post-lunch – from 2 pm to 3 pm, because by then the big tourists groups are done with their tours.
Since the Palace closes at 5 pm (in summers), this will give you a good two hours to explore this London attraction.
In winters you must reach the attraction by 2 pm, because it closes early – at 4 pm.
For parents visiting with children, last Saturday of the month is the best option.
The Palace organises various activities for kids under 13 on these days.
Kensington Palace tickets
The ticket gives you access to every corner of the Palace that’s open to the public. Including the beautifully landscaped gardens.
With this ticket, you can also access “Diana: Her Fashion Story” exhibition.
Children under five years of age can enter for free.
The Kensington ticket prices are:
Adult ticket (16 to 59 years): 23 Pounds
Student ticket (valid ID needed): 18.30 Pounds
Seniors ticket (60+ years): 18.30 Pounds
Child ticket (5 to 15 years): 11.50 Pounds
Note: If you are a family of two adults and up to three kids, you can buy one family ticket worth 57.50 Pounds.
Royal Palaces Pass
If you are holidaying in London for more than three days, and have a keen interest in Palaces, this is a perfect discount Pass for you.
The Royal Palaces Pass comes in two flavours –
The 3-Palace Pass, using which you can ‘skip the line’ and enter Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace and Gardens, and Kensington Palace.
The 4-Palace Pass, which besides the top three also allows access to Banqueting House in Whitehall.
The validity of this London’s Palace Pass is two years after the first activation.
Cost of 3-Palaces Pass
For adults (16+ years): 59 Pounds
For kids (5 to 15 years): 28.40 Pounds
Cost of 4-Palaces Pass
For adults (16+ years): 65 Pounds
For kids (5 to 15 years): 28.40 Pounds
Important: Or if you want to buy one Discount Pass and visit most attractions for free (and that too ‘skip the line’ access), check out the London Explorer Pass.
Inside Kensington Palace
The 300-year-old history of the British Royal family is visible both outside and inside the Kensington Palace.
Here are the must-see places in Kensington Palace.
1. The Palace Gardens
The Kensington Gardens have evolved with the Monarchs of England.
They started as playground centuries ago.
The flower beds were added by William and Mary.
In 1702 they were modified as an English-style garden by Queen Anne.
Queen Caroline in 1928 ensured lakes and ponds adorned the gardens.
2. The Queen’s State Apartment
Dedicated to Queen Mary, Queen’s State Apartment dictates the story of Monarchs and reflects their high taste.
The Queen’s Staircase is plain compared to King’s but leads to her beautiful Dutch flowerbeds.
Filled with artefacts from around the world, the Queen’s Gallery is a place were Queen Mary enjoyed her needlework.
The King and Queen enjoyed their meals together in the Queen’s dining room.
Queen’s drawing room is next to the dining room. Here she displayed her love for pieces from China and Japan.
Queen’s bedroom is further down – the room which witnessed the birth of James Edward Stuart and his imposter rumours.
3. The King’s Staircase
Famous for the vivid paintings by William Kent, the King’s Staircase displays lively and intriguing characters from the 18th century.
The paintings include identifiable members of the court in their red uniforms.
The paintings also include Kent himself and many other King’s specials like his page.
The paintings made by Kent covered much of the plain wooden panels, making it far more interesting than the Queen’s staircase.
4. The King’s Gallery
The King’s gallery is the largest and the most extended state apartments in the Palace.
The gallery still carries the same aura and ceiling canvases painted by Kent showing instances from the life of Ulysses.
The room witnessed many intimate moments – from Duke of Gloucester’s childhood to the King’s death.
During your tour of the Kensington Palace, don’t miss out on the wind dial, which is still in working condition.
5. The King’s State Apartment
Built for audience and meetings, the rooms in the King’s State Apartment promise a grand experience.
The King’s staircase, grand and vivid leads to the State Apartment.
It is followed by the Presence Chamber with its astonishing fireplace, where King met ambassadors and courtiers.
The magnificent ceiling painted by Kent beautifies the Privy Chamber, Queen Caroline’s favourite spot in the whole Palace.
The Cupola Room is also a finely decorated room and was William Kent’s first royal commission.
The climax of the whole set of rooms is the King’s Drawing room.
During your visit, don’t miss out on the paintings of Venus and Cupid done by Vasari.
The last and the longest room of the KIng’s Apartments is the King’s State Gallery.
6. The Royal Orangery
Located in the Kensington Gardens, the baroque Orangey was developed by Queen Anne between 1704-05.
The orangery was a party place for Queen Anne and had an underground heating system.
During winter the Orangery was used as a plant conservatory.
Today, it houses the Orangery Restaurant, a perfect location to enjoy splendid views of Kensington Gardens.
7. Diana: Her Fashion Story
This exhibit lets you step into the closet of people’s Princess, Diana.
The exhibit map her fashion journey from the outfit she was wearing during her first royal appearance to the outfits she was wearing before her untimely death.
You can also spot the famous ink blue colour velvet gown worn at the White House.
One of the latest pieces, blue tartan Emanuel coat was displayed in 2017.
Besides displaying her iconic outfits, the exhibition also shows her relation with her old home, Kensington Palace.
Kensington Palace reviews
Kensington Palace is highly rated on Tripadvisor.
Check out two of the Kensington Palace reviews we have picked up, to give you an idea of what visitors feel about this place.
What a lovely Palace to visit. Certainly in the top 2 for the whole of the UK. The beautiful emerald jewels on display, the history in each room with good detailing of memorabilia. The absolute highlight is Diana. The Princess of class and grace, the selection of garments on display was thoroughly interesting and so lovely to see. A must see. Well worth the entry fee. – Whatdathink, Sydney
A MUST for Victoria fans
If you are a Victoria fan, you will love seeing the section of her rooms, including a dress she wore, her nursery and toys from childhood, several pictures, some jewellery. Very tastefully and well done, books in each room give you a self-guided tour of what is on display, and guides do regular talks in the rooms which make it even more interesting! – LookingForFamilyFun
Kensington Palace versus Buckingham Palace
Kensington Palace used to be the favourite Palace of the British Kings and Queens until 1760.
The British royals started preferring the Buckingham Palace from the mid-18th century,
Only two Miles (3.2 Kms) separate the two Palaces.
We feel, both the Palaces have their uniqueness and it won’t hurt to see both.
However, if it is a question of either Kensington Palace or Buckingham Palace, we do have an answer.
Buckingham Palace is only open to the public a couple of months a year – between July and October.
If your London holiday falls in these months, by all means, book your Buckingham Palace tickets.
If not, go ahead and visit Kensington Palace right away!
Kensington Palace to Windsor castle
Many tourists plan both Kensington Palace and Windsor Castle on the same day.
After exploring Kensington Palace in the morning, they move on to Windsor.
If you want to move between the two Palaces, public transport is the best option.
Ride the train from Kensington Palace to Windsor Castle via London Paddington Slough, Windsor and Elton Central.
You can reach Windsor Castle in approximately 1 hr 15 mins.
If you prefer a bus, opt for the one operated hourly by Green Line services.
The bus also takes the same amount of time – 1 hr 15 mins – and the ride costs 11 Pounds per person.
A faster yet costlier option is taking a taxi. In 30 mins and 75 to 90 Pounds you can reach Windsor Castle.
Food at Kensington Palace
While feasting your eyes at this Palace, you can stop over for good food and drinks.
The Palace cafe
This cafe is in front of the Palace, and you don’t need an entry ticket to dine here.
It is just the right place to relax before or after your tour of the Palace.
Winter timing (Nov to Feb): 10 am to 4 pm
Summer timing (Mar to Oct): 10 am to 6 pm
Kensington Palace Pavilion and Tea Room
Opposite to the Sunken Garden, this restaurant offers a splendid lunch and breakfast.
If you fancy a cup of tea, be here from 12 pm to 4 pm with a prior reservation.
Winter timing (Nov to Feb): 10 am to pm
Summer timing (Mar to Oct): 10 am to 6 pm.
However, eating in the Palace is prohibited except in designated places.
You can ditch the above two options and enjoy a picnic in the Kensington gardens as well.
Popular attractions in London
She believes that the world is full of must-see places and must-do adventures, and has a never-ending list of places she wants to visit. Driven by a passion for the outdoors, she connects better with nature, and wildlife more than Museums and monuments. Favorite Cities: Cape Town, Kathmandu, Hanoi, Reykjavik, Vienna