It has taken several years, and twelve million pounds for the makeover. Gone are the shrubs, trees, and grills that kept the Palace out of site to visitors. The grounds and Palace can now be seen as an integral part of Kensington Gardens.
Rather than a stuffy interior, visitors are greeted near to the main entrance with a luminous lace light sculpture. Instead of a guided commentary, actors with the assistance of interactive activities help to bring the rooms to life, and tell their stories. These are varied enough to keep both the younger and older members of the family interested. Information is often secreted away in draws or whispered though special effects.
There are four routes visitors can take covering different aspects of the Palace – the Apartments of the various Kings and Queens who have lived there; Queen Victoria; and a room devoted to Princess Diana with dresses that trace her evolution from young woman to Princess. The dresses are on display until September 2, 2012.
Queen Victoria was born at Kensington Palace, and rooms are devoted to her early years. On show are pastel coloured clothes that she wore in her youth including her wedding dress, debunking the myth that she only wore black. Something she did, but only after her husband, Albert’s death. At the Palace, too, is the room where she held her first Cabinet meeting as a Queen.
Both the café and souvenir shop can be visited without touring the palace. Check out the Kensington Palace champagne at £29.99 a bottle.
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