DISCOVER KENSINGTON PALACE’S FAMILY TRAILS
For any fan of the royal family, Kensington Palace is a must-visit on a trip to London. The stunning property has been a royal residence since the 17th century and was even the birthplace of Queen Victoria. It continues to play an important role to this day, as the official home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children.
If you are keen to experience this most historic of palaces but are concerned how interesting it will be for your own children, then rest assured, there’s plenty to help them to engage with the site. Kensington Palace runs a number of family trails and children’s activities that will help bring the past to life and ensure they are just as excited about their visit as you are.
SOMETHING FOR ALL THE FAMILY
Each of the activities at Kensington Palace have been designed to suit children within a certain age range. From babies right up to 13-year-olds, you will be able to find fun for all the family. Just take a look at the recommended age range on the activity you select.
FAMILY TRAIL: MAKE A PALACE A HOME
If your children are aged between five and 11, then this family trail is the perfect way for you to explore the palace. They will be able to see the little details that have been important to the generations living in Kensington over the years and how children everywhere have the same needs whether they are royalty or not.
Make your way to White Court, where you will find a stand full of all the details you will need to start out on the trail.
TIME EXPLORERS STATION
On the last Sunday of each month and during half-term holidays, the Time Explorers Station is set up at Kensington Palace. Take your little adventurers to pick up their activity pack, which is full of exciting tasks for them to complete throughout your visit. They will also get their own crown to wear around the palace, just like the royals who have lived there for generations.
TIME EXPLORERS APP
Do not worry if you are visiting Kensington Palace when the Time Explorers Station is not open. Historic Royal Palaces has created an app that will allow your children to take part in missions and earn badges for all of the challenges they successfully complete. Download the Time Explorers app to your phone prior to arrival, so you are ready to start the projects as soon as you arrive.
Your children will meet some of the palace’s most fascinating characters from throughout its history and help them to overcome certain problems. The challenges help younger visitors to interact with their surroundings and learn about Britain’s most famous family. Finding the clues amongst the historic artefacts is a great way to make sure your little ones enjoy their visit.
An example of one of the missions is called The Artist’s Perfect Painting. In this challenge, the children are transported back to 1735 and Queen Caroline is asking for their help. She wants to have a special painting made for her husband King George II and has commissioned the German artist Anton Wolf to make it for her.
The problem is that Anton doesn’t know what to include in the painting and needs help looking for clues. Your children will search the King’s state apartments to discover the things that he likes that should be included in the picture and they will learn more about the Georgian court along the way.
During the missions, children will develop their core skills – from looking and imagining to questioning and comparing – all in a fun way. They will save Time Gems as they go and at the end of each challenge will be given a quiz to reflect on what they have learned and win their mission badge.
On the last Sunday of the month, it is also Story Time at Kensington Palace. This is a fun opportunity to get your three to seven-year-olds engaging with books in an inspiring setting. As well as hearing a classic tale, they will also be able to join in with the palace’s collection of themed toys.
Each Story Time session lasts for around 20 minutes – perfect for young minds – and the time slots are staggered throughout the day. Plan your visit to coincide with Story Time at 11:30, 13:00 or 14:30.
Kensington Palace also has a diary of special events that have been formulated to inspire young people about history. These vary from season to season, but include everything from making wigs to finding out how chocolate has changed over the years and what the King’s chocolate maker would put in their recipe. Be sure to check the schedule before your visit and book a spot, as places will be limited.
Photo credit: marcin_libera via iStock