Kensington Palace: when weird exhibits happen to historic places

24 Jan

Walking around London is an exhilarating experience. There’s so much history around every corner, hidden among the narrow streets and nestled into secret places. A short walk from campus is Kensington Palace, which I’ve mentioned before.

Kensington Palace, a smaller alternative to Buckingham (for "lesser royals")

Along the path to the visitors’ entrance are signs and what could be described as miniature art displays.

The always helpful directions on the pavement

The entire perimeter of the palace is surrounded by little quips like this

Poe's raven? Possibly. But, being a literary nerd, my mind would go there first.

There were several of these gates around the grounds

A garden on the grounds, complete with reflecting pool and fountain

Probably my favorite part of the decor outside were the trees covered in mirrors. They're whimsical yet eerie.

Follow the hands!

The exhibit going on right now is called the Enchanted Palace. It takes the form of a story throughout the museum portion of the palace. Seven princesses have lived at Kensington Palace since it was built and each princess was given her own dramatized story set in an elaborate, kind of creepy, room. For example, the room for Mary was dark and had perfume bottles everywhere and tags with her name on them spread about the room. The room for Victoria was set up like a dark, twisted version of the Princess and the Pea, complete with giant dolls reminiscent of a horror film. Some rooms had eerie music playing, others had recordings of voices have arguments, and one room had wolves howling and trees rustling. Tim Burton could have turned the place into a movie. Starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter.

Seriously, why would anyone want to see something this creepy? I went in and out of this room as quickly as possible.

Almost every room had a floating dress of sorts; they were all beautiful and definitely added to the "enchanted" feel of the exhibits

This room had a dress that Diana wore to Buckingham Palace. The set-up was like an enchanted forest, complete with wolves howling and fog swirling about.

What made it especially weird was the fact that the exhibit was marketed towards families and children. I wouldn’t bring a child there; it’s enough to give the poor kid nightmares.

On the way out of Kensington Gardens we noticed a flock of birds at the pond. And when I say birds I mean geese, swans, ducks, seagulls, pigeons, and species of birds that I don’t even know what to call them. And all of these birds began swarming around this family who had a loaf of bread and a death wish. This is what it looks like when you attempt to “feed the ducks”:

Alfred Hitchcock knew what he was doing when he made "The Birds," they're vicious creatures. This is just a small shot of the chaos; in reality the sky was a rabid mess of seagulls, the swans and ducks in the pond darted for the shore and every bird on the grounds came waddling over, hungry and vocal.

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