Major Kensington Palace project approved

Major Kensington Palace project approved

QV statue

Welcome to Kensington - a palace for everyone: major project approved

27 August 2009

Press release

Historic Royal Palaces is pleased to announce that the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea has granted planning permission for the major project  'Welcome to Kensington - a palace for everyone', meaning that we can proceed with our plans to re-present Kensington Palace by 2012.

The £12 million project will transform Kensington Palace into an exciting, engaging and inspirational visitor experience. The plans will introduce new education and community facilities, improve accessibility, reconnect the palace with the neighbouring park through new public gardens inspired by the area's historic landscape, and realise our ambition to open up the palace's rich and varied stories to the widest possible audience.

The project will be financed by independent charity Historic Royal Palaces, with grants and donations from donors, sponsors, trusts and foundations. The fundraising campaign, led by the Historic Royal Palaces Campaign Board, is already underway.

When the project is complete in 2012:

• Kensington Palace will be completely opened up and linked once again to the neighbouring park and the surrounding landscape with gardens inspired by the historic layout of the area. Historic vistas to and from the palace will be reinstated, and a new outdoor space for public use and enjoyment created

• The main visitor entrance will be relocated to welcome and draw visitors into the palace directly from the Broad Walk and the Round Pond

• There will be a central hub inside the palace, free of charge to enter, where visitors will get a taste of a royal palace and can choose to explore further or just stop and enjoy refreshment in relaxing surroundings

• Children will enjoy free admission to the palace, where fun, engaging and relevant children-friendly events and activities will encourage more families to visit

• Physical access into and around Kensington Palace will be transformed, aided by the addition of a lift providing level access to all floors

• Historic Royal Palaces' award-winning education service will be extended to Kensington with an education strategy drawing on the palace’s relevance to the National Curriculum. Dedicated spaces will be created to accommodate formal and informal learners, as well as helping serve the needs of local community groups

• The rooms where Queen Victoria grew up will be redisplayed and her story told using collections of pertinent and personal historic objects. The stories of Kensington’s other fascinating personalities will follow after 2012.

John Barnes, Director of Conservation and Collections Care at Historic Royal Palaces, said: "We are delighted that the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea has given planning permission for our project, and that we can now move ahead with our plans to transform Kensington Palace by 2012. 

"We have taken a great deal of care in developing the plans, consulting very widely and working closely with the Council's officers. The proposals have been welcomed enthusiastically by many national bodies, experts, community groups and local people, 40 of whom wrote to the Council in support of the plans. Every element of our plans has been very carefully considered and, naturally, we are disappointed that one aspect of the scheme – the proposed loggia to the new entrance - was not approved by the Council, and we will be reflecting on the Planning Committee's views on this particular part of the project.”

Further information

For further information, please contact the Historic Royal Palaces press office on 020 3166 6166 or email 

Other recent fundraising projects by Historic Royal Palaces:

• White Tower Conservation Project at the Tower of London in 2008 (c£1.5 million) supported by contributions from Man Group plc Charitable Trust, the HB Allen Charitable Foundation, the Getty Foundation and the 29th May 1961 Charitable Trust

• Kew Palace conservation and representation (£6.6 million, opened 2006) was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (£1.59 million), Eric Hotung CBE, The Gosling Foundation, The Hobson Charity and the Wolfson Foundation amongst others

• The Clore Learning Centre at Hampton Court Palace (£2.8 million, opened 2007) was supported by The Clore Duffield Foundation, the Weston Family and the Bradbury Foundation amongst others

• Tower Environs Scheme at the Tower of London (£18.6 million, opened 2004) was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (£5.4 million) and the late Sir Paul Getty

The project will redevelop and represent areas of the palace for which Historic Royal Palaces is currently responsible: the State Apartments, Apartment 1a and Kensington Palace gardens. It does not cover areas currently administered by the Royal Household.

Preparatory works will begin inside the palace in early September 2009, with other work planned to begin in June 2010. The project will be completed by June 2012.

Historic Royal Palaces is the independent charity that looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace and Kew Palace.  We help everyone explore the story of how monarchs and people have shaped society, in some of the greatest palaces ever built.

We receive no funding from the Government or the Crown, so we depend on the support of our visitors, members, donors, volunteers and sponsors.

These palaces are owned by The Queen on behalf of the nation, and we manage them for the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

We believe in four principles.  Guardianship: giving these palaces a future as long and valuable as their past. Discovery: encouraging people to make links with their own lives and today’s world.  Showmanship: doing everything with panache. Independence: having our own point of view and finding new ways to do our work.

Registered charity number 1068852

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