Kensington Palace with Kids… is it worth the admission?

May 31, 2013 by

In a word, “yes”.  After years of queuing up at the South Kensington Museum Campus at 9:30 on a Monday to get my kids into the free museums, I decided we would splurge this half-term and pay to go in the recently enhanced Kensington Palace.  I met up with my mate; the two of us took four kids under 7 into the museum, tickets for all of us cost £30 -£15 per adult, kids go free.

First of all, not only was there not much a queue, there was not much of a crowd at 10:15 on a Thursday during half-term.  We walked in and found an empty cloak room, with lockers!! We tucked our coats, water bottle and apple laden bags into a locker and walked away with our unfettered with our key.  We were then greeted by friendly staff that smiled at the children and directed us to the ticket counter where the kids received beautifully crafted museum trails and pencils.  After entering the museum we were greeted by another staff member who explained all that the kids could do in the next couple hours.

 

We walked around the Queen Victoria exhibit and while the children marvelled at the curious activities set out for them, the adults were able to get a quick glance at uncommon portraits, photographs, historical documents … all kinds of fascinating insights into Victoria’s reign that left my friend and I keen to return without the children to learn more.

The King’s State Apartments has been redone in a sumptuous, baroque theme that definitely paints a romantic, Georgian mood.  The dramatic palace rooms in this section, with sweeping floor to soaring ceiling window are decorated with neoclassic murals.  There is a bit of faux gold leaf and velvet, for the children this was an absolute dream, exactly what a child would expect a palace would be like.  For the adults, it was a somewhat amusing for us to think of the cross-cultural, mass-appeal quality the décor was reflecting.  It was not what I was expecting, but interesting and thought provoking and definitely palace-y.

 

The children were invited to a room set up with activities relating to medicine and the monarchy, which was brilliantly staffed with some good quality resources.  The education staff led the children on discoveries of herbal medicine, examining x-rays and body parts, making clever split-pin puppets and dressing up in gorgeous Georgian costumes.  My friend and I took full advantage of the staff to step back, chat and catch up while the kids were learning and making.

Over the summer holidays there will be workshops on for children, check the dates here and plan accordingly as this was one of the major benefits of the visit.  It’s still a great place to visit, even without the workshops, as the exhibits are planned with children in mind, with tactile activities, dressing up and other amusing things to keep them interested while you get a quick peak at what life was like long ago …

There are lifts and you can get a pushchair around the palace.  Baby changing and toilets are on the ground floor.  This is not exactly the most baby-friendly place to go, but they do accommodate you.  I would also suggest that it’s engaging for children 6+, but you can take the younger ones along.

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