The King’s Gallery

Gallery designed by William Kent to contain the finest paintings of the Royal Collection

Gallery designed by William Kent to contain the finest paintings of the Royal Collection

When

  • Open daily

Ticketing information

Included in palace admission (members go free)

A striking residence for art

The largest and longest of the state apartments at Kensington Palace, the King's Gallery, looks almost exactly as it did when it was transformed for King George I in 1725.

Red damask, fine oak joinery, a new marble chimneypiece, carved overmantel and new door cases were inserted by William Kent.

Kent and his assistants also painted the seven large ceiling canvases which show scenes from the life of Ulysses.

The King's Gallery was used for exercise as well as displaying pictures. At the east end, it is dominated by a copy of van Dyck’s noble portrait of Charles I on horseback.

Secrets of the King's Gallery

The King's Gallery was built for William III as an addition to Sir Christopher Wren's original design. It was hung with green velvet and William would meet with his spies and plan military campaigns here.

This room saw many intimate moments. It was here that William played soldiers with his little nephew and intended heir, the Duke of Gloucester.

It was also here that the King died from pneumonia after falling from his horse at Hampton Court Palace.

The King's gallery, looking south-west. Showing a Tyvek figure representing King George II dressed in mourning clothes

The dial positioned over the gallery's fireplace was connected to a wind vane on the roof.

This enabled King William to see which way the wind was blowing, where his navy was likely to be heading and when the posts were likely to arrive. Incredibly, it is still in working order today.

I particularly like the way the map on the wind dial rather arrogantly shows Great Britain the same size of France. That was wishful thinking – of course it’s much smaller!

Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator

A large four poster bed covered in detailed period fabric, in a bedroom covered in dark green wall decor
Things to see

Explore the beautiful private rooms at Kensington Palace where Mary II once took her meals, relaxed and entertained.

Closed until 31 March 2020

Kensington Palace

Included in palace admission (members go free)

The staircase was painted by William Kent and completed in 1724. The walls depicts an elaborate arcaded gallery with figures behind a balustrade. Many are identifiable as members of King George I's court. The wrought iron balustrade is by Jean Tijou
Things to see Highlights

Discover the intriguing and unexpected characters depicted on the grand entrance to the King's State Apartments.

Open daily

Kensington Palace

Included in palace admission (members go free)

SOLD OUT Chief Yeoman Warder carrying the Tower keys
Events Member only

Member-only access to the traditional locking up of the Tower of London, the Ceremony of the Keys.

20 October 2019

Tower of London

21:30

Free (advance booking required)

The East Front Gardens after Kensington Palace renovations looking south-west towards the palace, 24 May 2012. Showing visitors in the grounds. 

Part of the Kensington Palace project, ‘Welcome to Kensington - a palace for everyone’, an undertaking over two years (2010-12) of major refurbishments (renovation) at Kensington, including new gardens.

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