Once upon a long ago, as a youngster, I went on day trips to the most famous and fabulous palaces, castles, gardens and other tourist destinations that London offers. I went with family and on school trips. We never, mysteriously, went to Kensington Palace. Once upon a long ago, but not quite so long ago, I lived and worked in Kensington. I’d go up to Kensington Gardens to have a kick around, or perhaps just to sit in the shade of a tree to have a quiet read. One summer I got through Le Carre’s Russia House. One of his longer works. Not his best. I needed the quiet to get through that. I could see the palace from my spot under the tree. I never did have the urge to check it out. It all looked a little bit…well, meh.
Kensington Palace looks more stately home than traditional palace. It’s not even the most impressive stately home I’ve ever seen. But Mrs P and I have pretty much run out of palaces and castles in the London area. So we paid up and plodded in. Given the history of the palace, and it’s notable residents (Will and Kate today, Lady Di previously) we were convinced that we’d find the interior to be more…palatial. Don’t judge a book by its cover.
The interior. It has its moments. But it is, I’m sorry to say, largely ‘meh’. The most disappointing palace we’ve visited yet, on these shores or beyond. The Russia House seemed like hard work under the shade of that tree in the gardens. With hindsight, I can now appreciate it was the easier option. You really have to try to be impressed by Kensington Palace. There’s some photos below. The full set, as ever, are on Flickr.