The magisterial Kensington Palace has been, for a long time, one of London's leading tourist attractions. This magnificent building and its surrounding gardens draw over 400,000 visitors a year to the capital.
This historic building is truly one of a kind and it’s been home to kings, queens, princes and princesses down the ages.
In this article, we will explore everything you need to enjoy a visit, from its many on-site exhibits to Kensington Palace’s nearest tube station. Read on to find out what Kensington Palace has to offer and what makes it a great day out.
What to expect when you visit Kensington Palace
Kensington Palace is an oasis of both splendour and greenery in the middle of the capital city. It’s also a working palace where William, the Prince of Wales and next in line to the throne, Kate, the Princess of Wales, and their family live.
A brief history of Kensington Palace
Kensington Palace is in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The property first came into Royal hands in 1689, around 80 years after it was first built.
At the time, Kensington was just a small village on the outskirts of London. King William III and Queen Mary bought the property because William suffered from asthma and wanted to get away from the fogs of the River Thames.
In the intervening centuries, the Royals have extended and modernised the Palace on multiple occasions. Some of its most famous residents over time have included King George I, King William IV, Princess Margaret, and Princess Diana.
What to do at Kensington Palace
Immerse yourself in centuries of history by taking a tour of the Palace. When you’re here, make sure to check out:
- Queen Victoria’s childhood exhibition: See the rooms in which the iconic Queen Victoria was born and raised. Items on show include her doll’s house and a scrapbook created for her by her companion, Baroness Lehzen.
- The Jewel Room: This room contains a selection of the bespoke jewellery Prince Albert commissioned for his Queen. The collection here includes Victoria’s famous emerald and diamond tiara.
- The King’s Staircase: Painter William Kent completed this grandest of grand entrances in 1724. His vivid mural depicts life as it was in the royal court in the 18th century.
- The King’s State Apartment: Used for meetings and audiences, the apartment is full of works of art and striking sculptures. Located by the King’s Staircase, be sure to visit the opulent Cupola Room and the Privy Chamber, where the King entertained.
- The King’s Gallery: In the Palace’s largest state apartments hangs the collection of King George I from 1725. The painting on the ceiling is a dramatic portrait of the life of Ulysses, the legendary King of Ithaca.
- The Queen’s State Apartment: Home to William III and Mary II, see where the royal couple and their servants lived. The apartment’s gallery, staircase, closet and dining room are highlights of the tour.
This is a big palace with lots to see and do. Give yourself a couple of hours to see everything here.
Check out Kensington Gardens, the Sunken Garden and Hyde Park
If you don’t want to pay the entrance fee, make a point of visiting Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park. Both are free and open year-round.
Kensington Gardens is full of attractions of its own. The Albert Memorial is a tourist favourite, commissioned by Queen Victoria following her husband’s death in 1861.
Green-fingered visitors flock to the Italian Gardens, a gift from Prince Albert to Queen Victoria. This striking ornamental garden is famous for its four classic main basins.
The kids will love the Diana Memorial Playground (open from May to August), the centrepiece of which is a fantastic wooden pirate ship.
When she lived here, Princess Diana also loved the Palace’s Sunken Garden. The Garden is now home to a statue of the late Princess. This stunning Edwardian-style Garden draws inspiration from the much-loved Pond Garden at Hampton Court.
The expansive Hyde Park borders Kensington Gardens, separated by the famous Long Water and Serpentine lakes.
Hyde Park is open from 05:00 to midnight and Kensington Gardens from 06:00 to 19:30.
How to get to Kensington Palace by train
The nearest is London Paddington, about a mile away from the Palace. You can catch a train to London Paddington directly from across a range of UK cities and towns. There are direct connections from Cardiff, Southampton, Oxford, Bristol, Newbury and more.
For those travelling from Birmingham, Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick, you’ll want to travel to Marylebone station. If you’re travelling further afield from Liverpool, Dorset and Eastbourne, Victoria station will be where you want to travel to.
All these stations offer access to the London Underground, where you’ll find easy connections to take you to Kensington Palace.
The nearest tube to Kensington Palace
The nearest Tube station to Kensington Palace is Queensway Station on the Central line.
The next closest is High Street Kensington station on the Piccadilly, Circle and District lines.
How to get to Kensington Palace by foot
When you arrive at either the Queensway or High Street Kensington Underground stations, completing your journey from either of these tubes near Kensington Palace on foot takes no time at all:
From Queensway Station (a nine-minute walk away)
- Walk south on Queensway/B411 towards Bayswater Rd/A402
- Turn right onto Bayswater Rd/A402
- Turn left onto Broad Walk
From High Street Kensington Station (a 12-minute walk away)
- Walk north-east on Kensington High St/A315 towards Derry St
- Turn left towards Dial Walk
- Turn left onto Dial Walk
- Turn right towards Broad Walk
- Turn right at Studio Walk
- Turn left onto Broad Walk
Travel to Kensington Palace by train with Avanti
Make a day of it in London with Avanti. Check out available schedules and routes from all parts of the UK to get to Kensington Palace.
Kensington Palace is one of 80 attractions you can enjoy with the London Pass. Starting from £79, it can grant you access to all the London attractions you like for up to 10 days.
As well as Kensington Garden, you can visit Windsor Castle, the Tower of London, ZSL London Zoo and other iconic destinations of London. You can even access Tower Bridge, the most recognisable bridge in London.
For complete convenience, download our Avanti app to not only book your tickets but also see the status of your journey and make instant amendments to your itinerary.
Alongside having no booking fees when you book directly with us, you can make further savings with a Railcard.