Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace

Experience the splendour of Kensington Palace, the tradition of the Horse Guards Parade and the history and tales of the Royal Family from the times of Queen Victoria through to the present day. Home to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Princess Kate, and their family in Kensington London.

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Visit Kensington Palace

Nearest Tube Station:

  • High Street Kensington

Recommended Accommodation:

  • Cliveden House
  • Heckfield Place
  • Stoke Park

Other History and Culture experiences:

View our suggested itinerary:

The 3 Day of Leisure and Relaxation Experience

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Kensington Palace is a royal residence set in Kensington Gardens, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London. It has been a residence of the British Royal Family since the 17th century, and is currently the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke and Duchess of Kent, and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.

The palace was originally a two-storey Jacobean mansion built by Sir George Coppin in 1605 in the village of Kensington. In 1619 Heneage Finchm 1st Earl of Nottingham purchased the mansion and it was known as known as Nottingham House. Shortly after William and Mary assumed the throne as joint monarchs in 1689, they began searching for a residence better suited for the comfort of the asthmatic William, as Whitehall Palace was too near the River Thames, with its fog and floods, for William's fragile health.

In the summer of 1689, William and Mary bought Nottingham House from Secretary of State Daniel Finch, 2nd Earl of Nottingham where immediatley expanded the house. In order to save time and money, the structure remainded intact and a three-storey pavilion at each of the four corners was added to provided more accommodation for the King and Queen and their attendants. The Queen's Apartments were in the north-west pavilion and the King's in the south-east.The palace was surrounded by straight cut solitary lawns, and formal stately gardens, laid out with paths and flower beds at right angles.

Queen Mary extended her apartments by building the Queen's Gallery and, after a fire in 1691, the King's Staircase was rebuilt in marble and a Guard Chamber was constructed, facing the foot of the stairs. William had constructed the South Front, to the design of Nicholas Hawksmoor, which included the Kings' Gallery where he hung many works from his picture collection.

During the second world war Kensington Palace was severely damaged when it was hit by an incendiary bomb that exploded in the north side of Clock Court in 1940. the bomb damaged many of the surrounding buildings including the State Apartments, particularly the Queen's Apartments. Repairs to the palace were not completed for several years, but after the war, Prince Philip stayed with his grandmother in the lead-up to his 1947 marriage with Princess Elizabeth, later to become Queen Elizabeth II.

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We are delighted to offer a private guided tour of Kensington Palace for you both with Lord Maurice Fermoy, the 6th Baron Fermoy, who is 1st cousin to Diana, Princess of Wales.

Maurice will share the historical and current stories of the royal residents; from William and Mary through the unhappy childhood of Queen Victoria, to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their family. He is not only a member of British aristocracy, his close family ties to Diana means that he will share a wonderfully intimate insight into her life.

He attended the wedding of HRH Prince William to 'Princess Kate' and is happy to share his perspective of the fabulous day. Maurice is also excellent company as a seasoned traveller and is a recognised expert on the vagaries of acceptable etiquette in polite society.

He is also hugely entertaining and informative as he is well travelled and is a recognised expert on the vagaries of acceptable etiquette in polite society.

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After your tour of Kensington Palace Maurice has suggested that he then takes you to a little known daily ceremony at Horse Guards parade, also known as the 4 O'clock Parade. 'The Queen's Life Guard', mounted on immaculately groomed horses with breastplates shining in the sun, present a stirring sight as they ride through the streets of London to Change the Guard on Horse Guards Parade. You also have the chance to learn the inside stories of the exhibits in the Household Cavalry Museum, a treasure trove of military history.

The 4 'o' Clock Parade started in 1894 when Queen Victoria found the entire guard drinking and gambling while on duty. As a punishment, she said they had to be inspected every day at 4pm by an officer for the next 100 years! The 100 years finished in 1994. However, the reigning Queen wanted the parade to continue as a tradition.

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