Above Ground on the London Underground—Day 47: Kensington Palace
Last week we visited the remains of the Japanese Garden at Hammersmith, left over from the Japan-British exhibit from 1910. Today we’re going to stop off briefly at the Kyoto Garden in Holland Park. Briefly because I want to spend more time in Kensington Park, where Kensington Palace awaits, as well as Princess Diana’s Memorial Playground.
Brief enough for you? Good. Let’s get on to Kensington Palace, the closest tube stop is Queensway on the Central Line. The entrance is on the north side of the park at Orme Square Gate.
The Palace has been home to many Royals including Princess Di who lived in Apartment 8 from the time of her marriage to Prince Charles on July 29, 1981—remember how we were all glued to our TV screens watching what we believed was a fairy tale wedding to rival that of Camelot’s fabled couple?—until her death in 1997. As if we knew her, we were glued then too, mourning with most of the world as hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people laid over a million bouquets at the gold gates to the south of the palace.
While we can’t tour Diana’s apartment, her spirit is everywhere, especially at the Memorial Playground where one can imagine her young sons would have loved to play.
Currently at the museum, through January 3rd, 2017 Diana’s presence can also be felt in the Fashion Rules, Restyled exhibit. A look at how Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret and Diana, Princess of Wales navigated the fashion ‘rules’ defined by their royal duties in their own style and manner, setting fashion trends of their own, the exhibit highlights 18 couture gowns from iconic designer Hardy Amies favored by Queen Elizabeth to Princess Diana’s designer of choice Catherine Walker.
The palace isn’t just about Princess Di, of course. William and Mary, the only monarchs to rule England as a duo had purchased Nottingham House and engaged England’s most famous architect, Christopher Wren to enlarge the mansion into Kensington Palace in the 1690’s. When Mary died of smallpox in 1694 the work came to a stop but William ultimately returned to the project with his King’s Staircase being completed. The stairs are on the tour, as are the Queen’s State Apartments, and much more. Please check out the website; there’s so much to see and do there!
Kensington is also one of the three parks where you’ll find Princess Diana’s Memorial Walk, a 7 mile trek over Kensington, Hyde Park and St. James Park. I’m sure ther walk is in my future but it’s not on today’s itinerary. In any case, I’ve included the link where you can download the entire route, complete with pictures.
See you next week?
Holland Park, Holland Park Ave, London W11 4UA
+44 20 7361 3003
Kensington Gardens, London W8 4PX
The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Walk
Counting the Fitbit steps
Day 1-46: 342,840 steps/150.9 miles
Day 46: White City to Kensington 7500 steps/3 miles
Total Imaginary Miles to Date 350,340 steps/153.9 miles
Connect to Joy Weese Moll’s British Isles Friday meme.