Kensington Palace — © Historic Royal PalacesCupola Room, Kensington Palace — © Historic Royal PalacesThe Grand King's Staircase, Kensington Palace — © Historic Royal PalacesThe Orangery, Kensington Palace — © Historic Royal PalacesThe Sunken Garden, Kensington Palace — © Historic Royal Palaces The Sunken Garden Kensington Palace — © Historic Royal Palaces

Kensington Palace State Apartments

Kensington Palace is now both a palace open to the public while still home to members of the royal family. Built about 1605 and purchased for £20,000 in 1689 by William III and Mary II when the Kensington Palace was known as Nottingham House. William instructed Sir Christopher Wren, Surveyor of the King's Works from 1669 to 1718, to improve the house immediately.

Kensington’s State Apartments were given over in 1911-12 to the newly founded London Museum for the display of objects relating to the City of London and royal relics. Queen Mary had taken a keen interest in the museum. And it was she who managed to persuade George V (1910-36) that it could 'be accommodated, at least temporarily, in the State Rooms at Kensington Palace'.

Today, Kensington continues its long history as a residence for members of the Royal Family. Princesses still live around Princesses’ Court. The best known resident in recent years was Diana, Princess of Wales (1961-97) who occupied apartments in the north-west part of the palace from 1981 to 1997.

Since 2013 the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have made Kensington Palace their home.

Look out for...

  • The Glorious Georges
  • The King's staircase
  • The Queen's State Apartments
  • The King's State Apartments
  • The Sunken garden

Did You Know?

  • The second-oldest reigning monarch (of 63 years), Queen Victoria, spent her childhood in the palace
  • A 1697 inventory documented that Mary II owned over 800 items of Chinese Porcelain
  • To celebrate the arrival of the German King George I at Kensington he ordered a bonfire, six barrels of strong beer and over 300 bottles of wine
  • Composer Handel was invited to the palace to perform for King George II, who was such a fan that he gave Handel British citizenship (originally he was from Germany, like the King himself)
  • A book of original Leondardo da Vinci drawings were miraculously found in the palace in 1778 and sent to Windsor Castle
  • Princess Louise allowed injured soldiers hurt in the Great War to rest and recover in her private apartments in 1914

Museum Video

Museum Facilities

  • Cafe

  • Restaurant

  • Shop

  • Audio Guide

  • Tour Guide

  • Photography

  • Wheelchair Access

  • WiFi

  • Venue Hire

  • Available

  • Not allowed

  • Unconfirmed

  • Prior permission required.

All information is drawn from or provided by the museums themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.

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London Area: Central


  • Kensington Palace
  • Kensington Gardens
  • Kensington
  • London
  • W8 4PX


  • TFL Zone

    Zone 1

  • Underground

    • High Street Kensington
    • Queensway

    Bus Numbers

  • 9, 10, 49, 52, 70, 452, 70, 94, 148, 390


Adult £16.50
Child £0.00
Concession £13.70
Family £46.00
Admission notes:FREE for under 16 year olds.
Admission discounts
Art Fund FREE entry
London Pass FREE entry with Fast Track
Historic Royal Palaces FREE entry
Open Hours
Monday 10:00am 18:00pm
Tuesday 10:00am 18:00pm
Wednesday 10:00am 18:00pm
Thursday 10:00am 18:00pm
Friday 10:00am 18:00pm
Saturday 10:00am 18:00pm
Sunday 10:00am 18:00pm
Bank Holidays 10:00am 18:00pm

Contact Details

Phone 0844 482 7777
Website Kensington Palace State Apartments
  • Social Networks