It was recently announced Price William and Princess Catherine will be moving into the historic Kensington Palace in London. It’s a place familiar to William and his brother Harry as they both grew up with their mother, Princess Diana, in the palace.

Kensington Palace
Kensington Palace

But the palace has a long history and is open to the public for tours. It is located at the west edge of Hyde Park, in the neighborhood Kensington and Holland Park.

The first building, the Nottingham House, built in 1605 was acquired in 1689 by William III as a residence away from the smoky London for the asthmatic king and later added on by famed architect Sir Christopher Wren, Kensington Palace became the home to the monarchs for years, up until George II in 1760.

Afterwards it was used for various members of the royal family. Queen Victoria was born and grew up in the palace and Queen Elizabeth II’s mother was born in the palace, and in 1981, it became home to Prince Charles and Princess Diana and remained Diana’s home until her death in 1997. Apartments 8 and 9 were combined to create a home for Charles and Diana, however the new Prince and Princess will not be living in that space, as it is currently occupied by offices.

William and Kate plan on moving into larger quarters eventually, but for now Kensington Palace will once again be home to the prince. Currently Kensington Palace is also occupied by the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke and Duchess of Kent, and the Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.

Princess Margaret lived in the palace as well, and her old apartment will be turned into a permanent exhibit on her and Princess Diana’s dress collection.

Currently the palace is undergoing renovations, but the apartments are open, including the room where Queen Victoria woke up as Queen, the ornate Cupola Room which was a part of the original Nottingham House, the long King’s gallery filled with portraits, or the King’s staircase where the monarchs would enter the State Apartments.

After touring the building, head over to The Orangery for afternoon tea. The Orangery is on the ground of the palace. Built in 1904 for Queen Anne, it was used as a greenhouse and for entertainment purposes, including the last ceremony called “Touching the King’s Evil” where the monarch would touch people with disease and it was believed they’d be cured. Today it is a restaurant and serves one of the finest afternoon teas and in a historic setting.

Want to have a taste of royalty? Consider vacation rentals in London and especially flats in Kensington and Holland Park.

Located almost directly behind Kensington Palace and between Holland Park and Hyde Park, this two bedroom vacation rental in Kensington, London (LN-1110) is on a quiet street with access to a private terrace and boasts a charmingly British selection of furniture. The spacious apartment has its own washer and dryer, one bathroom, a decorative fireplace, internet and cable TV.

This two bedroom vacation rental in Kensington, London (LN-276) is in a gorgeous walk-up private mansion building, but comes with many modern amenities like an elevator and plenty of appliances . Located just off the chic Kensington High Street, there are numerous shops and restaurants within walking distance, as well as the palace and the surrounding parks.

Well, let us know your favorite part of Kensington Palace after the tour.