London’s Kensington Palace and Gardens

If you are looking for some tranquillity in London, head to the Kensington Palace and Gardens. Here you can catch your thoughts under towering trees and sprawling greenery, and also pack your time with a number of interesting activities. Here are a few reasons why I recommend the Kensington Palace and Gardens.

The Palace – You can’t miss it. Behind an elaborate ornate gold and black gate, the Kensington palace has housed royalty since the 17th century. It is most well known as the birth place of Queen Victoria (she lived here till she inherited the crown) and as a home to Princess Diana. Today the palace doubles up as royal residence, state offices and also showcases several royal exhibits (all of which are open to the public).

[Note: You need to purchase tickets to view the palace and exhibits inside.]

Exhibits – The palace opens up some of its royal opulence to the public. Take a peek at the state apartments – here you’ll find royal portraits, priceless artworks, furnishings and antiques. You’ll also get a look of how royalty lives. In addition there are several exhibits including the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection (royal outfits from the 18th century to the present) and the Diana Fashion and Style Exhibition open to the public.

The Gardens – The Kensington Gardens are an urban escape. Once a part of Hyde Park, it was bought by William III in the 17th century and landscaped to match the opulence of a royal residence. Here you can walk around the sunken garden, take one of the garden walks, share a picnic, read a book under a tree, take part in an ongoing football game, cycle, sunbathe or lounge by the round pond. The gardens also includes the Diana Princess of Wales’ Memorial Playground (a recent addition), a great place for young kids to find their own adventures.

[Note: The walks need to be booked in advance.]

The Orangery – All the walking around is bound to build up an appetite, and at such a time, head to the Orangery. Built for Queen Anne way back in the early 1700s, the Orangery, once a winter greenhouse and a venue for court events, serves a great high tea today. Sit under the high ceiling and elaborate arches and columns and fill up on English tea, scones, strawberries and cream, and sandwiches, and then order some more.

[The Orangery is a popular stop for many tourists and tends to get crowded pretty fast. It also shuts early in the evening, so if you’re planning a visit be sure to allocate enough time.]

Millionaire’s Row – Kensington is one of London’s most impressive (and affluent) addresses. And a part of this area is the famous Millionaire’s Row, home to some of the world’s wealthiest. Stroll along the street, look at the homes and find an idea or two for your own home improvement series.

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