I've been wanting to go to the Enchanted Palace forever - even before Ellie posted about it last year - and finally decided that, damnit, I had my birthday off work, and I should do something I'd always wanted to do. I was sad to hear that they didn't allow photography inside, though, so I decided to be a bit cheeky and emailed the press office asking if they'd consider waiving that rule so I could blog about it. Although they said no, they offered me free tickets instead - what an amazing birthday present! So I persuaded my friend Anne to book the day off work and we made our way to Kensington.
(Somewhat ironically, when we got there we discovered they'd amended the rule just to restrict flash photography - so I was free to snap away!)
Basically, they're renovating Kensington Palace, so they've opened up the Royal Apartments and turned them into an experience tour, focusing on the seven princesses who've lived in them. Or, as they put it: Kensington Palace is being transformed. As the walls of the palace are being shaken by a £12 million renovation project the rubble and the dust is unleashing powerful and secret stories about the lives of Kensington's princesses...
I loved the simple silhouette effects they used in some of the rooms, such as in the Gallery of Dancing Shadows, where images of a couple dancing were projected onto the ceiling.
Also... DRESSES. I don't know if you've noticed, but I like dresses. The ones on display were STUNNING. I loved this one on the stairs - the stance made it seem as though there was an invisible girl inside it, hurtling down the steps.
I adored all the fairytale references, too. Princess and the Pea, anyone? (Seriously, that bed looked COMFY.)
It was MAGICAL. Part stately home, part museum, part art installation, I cannot think of anyone I know who wouldn't enjoy it. It's actually quite clever, because although there are a lot of activities to do for children, it doesn't feel like a child's tour because it's all so interesting and beautifully done. I would love to go back with my 8 year old niece - I know she'd get as much out of it as I did.
The gardens are beautiful too, with more little works of art - members of the public have written their secrets and put them in little red globes hanging from the trees.
I can't recommend the Enchanted Palace enough, really - I think that's clear from how photo-heavy this post is! It was the perfect way to spend my birthday. I utterly adored it and can't wait to go back. I want to live there.
Disclaimer: even though the tickets were a gift, I was always intending to visit the Palace, and all the gushing in this post is my own!