27 April 2012
London has just been given a new public space as large as Trafalgar Square. Actually, it was there all the time, but hidden away behind security planting and fences. Kensington Palace sits at the heart of Kensington Gardens in west-central London, but for years the public entrance was tucked away round the corner. Millions of people walked past on the Broadwalk without realising the palace was open to the public. Now they do. A new entrance on the baroque brick palace’s east front says ‘open’ loud and clear. A huge new garden has been created on three sides, designed by Todd Longstaffe-Gowan. It evokes the original 18th century landscape garden, with lawns, meadows, wilderness paths and a design responding to the building’s symmetry. Best of all, it gives everyone who passes by a new garden to come into and enjoy.
Historic Royal Palaces, the charity that looks after the former royal residences in London, undertook the full-scale re-presentation of the palace as one of its main contributions to the Diamond Jubilee and the year of the London Olympics. A street party complete with Morris dancers at the Diamond Jubilee holiday on 4 June brings community groups together. The Kensington Palace Party, incorporating the Big Dance in a marquee, follows on 7-8 July. On any day, the gardens and the lower ground floor of the palace are open to all, although there is a charge to see the rest. A palace – and a garden – for everyone. For more information about Historic Royal Palaces and Kensington Palace please visit www.hrp.org.uk, or follow their latest updates on Twitter (@HRP_palaces) and Facebook.
Post by Dr David Souden, Head of Access & Learning, Historic Royal Palaces
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