Saturday, 10 April 2010

The day I was a Princess...

Early morning train to London, first stop Kensington Palace for 'The Enchanted Palace' experience. The blurbs goes like this:

Kensington Palace has been enchanted. Journey through this magical experience weaving contemporary fashion, performance, dreamlike installations and tales of the princesses who once lived there, all set against the backdrop of the magnificent State Apartments. In association with WILDWORKS and featuring Vivienne Westwood, William Tempest, Stephen Jones, Boudicca, Aminaka Wilmont and Echo Morgan.

and continues...

At the heart of the Enchanted Palace journey is a quest for the seven princesses who once lived here. Their lives have been re-imagined as installations offering a fascinating interpretation of the palace’s hidden stories. The rebellious princess who ran from an arranged marriage into the arms of love. Sad queens who bore the pain and sadness of lost babies. The young heir to the throne who escaped the controlling grasp of her overprotective mother.

Visitors must use their eyes and ears to find clues that reveal the identity of the elusive royal residents. Guided by an enchanted map, the advice of obliging palace guardians and a few helping hands, their search will take them to all the hidden corners of the State Apartments and lead them to a glittering finale where they will at last meet the princesses face to face.

Bringing the Enchanted Palace to life are the palace guardians, our expert front of house team and professional actors, who provide a personal insight into the strange world of the palace.

It was brilliant! The visit began with tea and cake in the amazing Orangery Tea Rooms followed by the Palace and it's trail. Though pricey this day out is excellent, staff were warm and friendly, all of the rooms were playful and the inventiveness of signage, hints, clues, themes etc were perfect. Favourite parts - each fire place in every room was lined with old maps but also contained additional clues and hints to each rooms use, the interactive elements were great, from my favourite favourite - the cabinet of curiosity, to the envelope with a poem about the ferrel child that was kept as a pet at the palace. Plus Vivienne Westwood's Princess Charlotte dress, the dressing table full of glass bottles to collect mournful tears and all the clocks being set to 5.05...everything about this day was enjoyable, playful, fun, we learnt about the palace and its history, interacted with the exhibits, performers and staff and overall left wanting to know more about all the boring things like funding, budgets, partnerships, associates, designers, curators, manager etc of the project as it was so well done! (best worst thing was the ignorance of some of the visitors overheard saying how disappointed they were that there was no information about the palace and the rooms and what was all this silly festival stuff doing? When we first went into the palace we were advised that the palace was not in its usual state whilst being redeveloped and that the rooms were disrupted - we know - thats why we came!)

This was very swiftly followed (as we were running late) by a Mad Hatters Tea Party afternoon tea at The Sanderson, pineapple lollipops that go from cold to hot, multi-coloured sandwiches, magical tasting cakes and earl grey and lemon jam...yummmm...

...followed by billiards in their amazing purple billiards room, a walk down Oxford Street, into a Carneby Street pub with bottles of wine and some friends then a curry, a missed train home and my best mates sofa bed. Good Princess day out in London!

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