Kensington Palace: a place steeped in history and legacy. Right? Wrong. Or so I derived from the newly revamped estate.
After a tw0-year, £12 million refurbishment, Kensington Palace emerges as a kitschy kid’s museum. The Palace is dedicated to its past residents, including Queen Victoria, Lady Di, George I and II, and Princess Margaret. There are sights associated with each, as well as two exhibitions.
That said, much of the additions are aimed at children, with strange learning devices like a projection of King William III’s supposed dreams and a whispering gramophone in which you are intended to crouch around to hear. We’ll see how efficient that will be come Olympics season. There are also few plaques labeling the artifacts. Thus, I learned little, instead wandering from one unmarked room to another wondering what I was looking at and of its significance.
However, the small room dedicated to Princess Diana proved to be one of the better exhibitions. Iconic gowns worn by the Princess are showcased (and clearly explained). However, as only five or six gowns are on hand, your best bet is probably to skip the steep price of the palace and enjoy a nice picnic in the surrounding Kensington Gardens. It is, after all, the most beautiful part of the expansive estate.
Price: £12 for students
Getting There: Take the tube to Gloucester Road. Head up Gloucester Road toward Kensington Gardens.
Hours: Open daily from 10.00-18.00. Last admission at 17.00
For more information: http://www.hrp.org.uk/KensingtonPalace/