The Best London Castles and Palaces
Most people outside of the UK instantly associate London with the British Royal Family. London is home to some of the best castles and palaces in the world with most of them still being used by current members of the royal family. At London Guide we look at the best of London’s Castles and Palaces with some great tips and money saving ideas for visiting London.
Buckingham Palace – The Home of Queen Elizabeth II
Every year millions of tourist flock to Buckingham Palace as one of the first stops in London . Buckingham Palace is the primary residence of Queen Elizabeth II even though it is technically managed by the British state and isn’t owned by the Royal Family.
The Forecourt of the palace is utilized for Changing of the Guard, an important ceremony as well as tourist attraction in its own right. In the summer between May and July the guards change every morning, and then in the rest of the year they change on alternative days. Since 1992, the Buckingham Palace State Rooms have been open to the general public for tours.
Buckingham Palace is located in Westminster however it also borders nearby Belgravia. It is a beautiful walk from most parts of London and is also well service by the London Tube. Buckingham Palace and the Changing of the Guard is a must see attraction and highly recommended by the London Guide team.
Kensington Palace is a royal residence set in Kensington Gardens, London and has been a major residence of the British Royal family including Princess Diana and Queen Victoria since the 17th century. Still used by the Royals it is currently the official residence of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, Prince Harry and Megan Markle as well as other members of the Royal Family.
Kensington Palace is open to visit and tours include the Queen’s State Apartments, The King’s State Apartments, Palace Gardens as well as Queen Victoria Revealed which provides an insight into the life and history of the monarch. The. The recent years have seen the state rooms of the palace undergo significant renovation to restore the palace to its original 17th century-look.
The palace remains open all through the year for public viewing except for December 24, 25, and 26. During the peak season i.e. from March to October, the palace remains open from 10am to 6pm. However, during the winter months, it closes its doors at 4 pm.
Kensington Palace is located at the Western end of Hyde park and is a 10 minute walk from Queensway tube station or you can wander through the park and see some of the other amazing attractions nearby.
Kew Gardens & Kew Palace
The Kew Gardens is a must-visit London attraction for all nature and history lovers visiting the city. The botanical glasshouses and gardens of this place house more than 30,000 plant species. In addition, it’s also home to the Kew Palace, a royal palace with great historical significance.
During your visit to the Kew Gardens, you will get to take part in an exciting tree-top adventure. The Rhizotron & Xstrata treetop walkway will first take you on an underground trail and then 59 ft or 18 m up into the air. The next most exciting part of the Kew Gardens is the Queen’s Garden. It’s a 17th-century garden situated behind the Kew Palace. This garden is known for being home to hundreds of plants boasting different medicinal properties.
The other most frequently visited garden is the Bamboo Garden; no other bamboo garden in the United Kingdom has a bigger bamboo collection than this one.
If you have plans of visiting the Kew Gardens between March and September, you will get to witness the Kew Palace (without paying anything extra). Originally, it was the home of a rich merchant; however, it’s primarily known for being the palace where George III lived.
Kew Gardens is located in Southwest London and easy to access from the Kew Gardens tube station that is only 500 meters away.
Windsor Castle is located on the banks of the River Thames about 20 miles west of London . The castle is one of three official residences of Queen Elizabeth II and has been home to the Sovereign for over 900 years. Windsor Castle is the largest inhabited castle in the world and you can easily see the castle as you approach the town of Windsor. The Queen spends most of her weekends at Windsor Castle, and it is also used for state and ceremonial events. St Georges Chapel which is part of the castle is one of the most magnificent buildings in England and the ultimate resting place for monarchs, including Charles I and Henry VIII.
The easiest way to get to Windsor Castle is train to nearby Windsor and Eton Riverside Station. The famous Eton college which is one of the most prestigious schools in the world is on the opposite banks of the River Thames. Admission Tickets are approx $40 and can be bought using the link below. Your admission also includes entry to St. George’s Chapel. The chapel is one of the most magnificent buildings in England and the ultimate resting place for monarchs, including Charles I and Henry VIII. You can also visit on a Windsor Boat Cruise along the Thames from London.
Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace is a magnificent palace and former home of King Henry VIII. The palace is set in 60 acres of gardens including the world famous maze. If you love the Tudor period of British History then Hampton Palace is definitely a great place to visit when you are in London. Hampton Court Palace is southwest of London and the best way to visit is catching the train to the Hampton Court overground station. Hampton Court admission is about $30 for Adults and $15 for Kids or free using The London Pass.
The Tower of London
The Tower of London is a historic castle located on the northern bank of the River Thames on an open space known as tower hill. It was built by William the Conqueror in 1078 and used as a prison until 1952 with the famous Kray Twins among the last of its inmates. The tower is officially called Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London and has a dark history over the last 1000 years.