The Best Royal London Attractions
Most tourists associate London with the British Royal Family. London has some amazing castles and palaces as well as the Pomp & Pageantry associated with the royals. Maybe if you are very lucky you can witness a prince or princess or even her majesty Queen Elizabeth the 2nd as they go about their royal business. At London Guide we have summarized the best London Royal Attractions for all first time visitors to London.
Royal London Highlights
- Visit the Queen and Buckingham Palace and Changing of the Guard
- See where Kings were crowned and Princesses buried at Westminster Abbey
- Pay tribute to the peoples princess at the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain
Every year thousands of tourists 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 teamback to menu ↑
Changing of the Guard
The Changing of the Guard is a great display of British pomp and pageantry that occurs when the The Queens Old Guard hand over responsibility for protecting Buckingham Palace and St. James Palace to the New Guard. The queens guard are fully operational infantry and cavalry soldiers and even though they are a great spectacle are nor purely ceremonial. The full changing of the guard ceremony last approx 45 minutes and begins at the forecourt of Buckingham palace 11am sharp following a Old Guard march from St. James Palace. The New Guard also march in from Wellington Barracks led by a regimental band.
No tickets are required to watch the Changing of the Guard however joining a tour can help provide you with additional information. Make sure you get to Buckingham Palace early to get a good view of the ceremony.back to menu ↑
Tower of London – Crown Jewels
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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. See the real Crown Jewels protected within the Tower’s fortifications, take a free guided tour with a Yeoman Warder (Beefeater) and visit the White Tower (which gives the Tower of London its name) containing the Royal Armory and its fascinating collection of armor and weaponry
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 10 am to 6 pm. 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.
Westminster Abbey is actually a huge, mainly Gothic church situated just to the western side of the Palace of Westminster. It’s probably the most notable religious building within the UK and is the traditional site of coronation as well as burial for the English and, later on, the British kings. Every British monarch since William the Conqueror has been crowned in Westminster Abbey.
Most of the existing building dates from 1244 to 1272 while Henry III made a decision to rebuild a vintage abbey in the Gothic design. The building was afterwards considerably expanded: the Chapel of Henry VII was included in between 1502 and 1512, whilst the 2 West Front Towers date from 1745. Most visitors instantly recognise Westminster Abbey as the location for the funeral of Diana Princess of Wales in 1997. It was also used as the venue of Kate Middleton and Prince Williams royal wedding in 2011. Tickets are available to be bought online or why not combine a visit with the Changing of the Guard with this 2.5 hour tour.back to menu ↑
Buckingham Palace State Rooms
Take a tour of a lifetime to the royal State Rooms that lie at the heart of Buckingham Palace. Venture into the supreme treasures from the Royal Collection, such as sculptures, paintings, porcelain, and furniture. “State Rooms” is a term that refers to public rooms of a Palace, where monarchs reward, receive and entertain visiting dignitaries and their subjects. Presently, Buckingham Palace’s State Rooms are used by the members of the Royal Family and her majesty the Queen to receive and entertain guests on official, State, and ceremonial occasions.
The State Rooms are fitted out with greatest treasures from the Royal Collection, comprising sculptures by Canova, paintings by Rubens and Rembrandt, and beautiful examples of Sevres porcelain.back to menu ↑
The Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace
The Royal Mews is a combination of stable and carriage house for the British Royal Family located near Buckingham Palace. The site is open to the public and really worth paying a visit when you are in London. Inside the mews you will get a glimpse of the Gold State Coach, carriage horses and Jubilee State Coach that are used for royal ceremonies. The Royal Mews serves one of the Lord Chamberlain Office branches that make road travel arrangements for the Queen.
The Royal family usually travels by a combination of car and horse-drawn carriages as required. This place is also one of the most beautiful working stables that still exists and trains the Cleveland Bays and Windsor Grey horses. You can explore the historic carriages and the coaches that include the State Coach. Cast your eye on the Australian state coach that features luxurious electric windows and central heating that carried the Royal Family during the royal wedding in 2011. There is also Irish State Coach and The Gold State Coach that is used during the coronation.back to menu ↑
Princess Diana Memorial Fountain
The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain is located in London’s Hyde Park and is dedicated to the memory of Diana Princess of Wales who was tragically killed in a car crash in 1997. The memorial is located in the southwest corner of Hyde Park near the Serpentine lake and provides a great place to reflect and relax particularly on a hot summers day.
The memorial is a oval fountain that is approx 50m x 80m is made of stone to look like a cascading stream. Water is pumped into the higher side of the fountain causing it to descend down over a series of steps, curves before flowing to a tranquil pool at the bottom. During summer it is full of kids playing in the water and was designed with Diana’s love of children in mind.back to menu ↑
Kew Gardens & Kew Palace
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 of Kew 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. The Kew Gardens is located in Southwest London and easy to access from the Kew Gardens tube station that is only 500 meters away .back to menu ↑
Hampton Court Palace
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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.
Royal Parks of London
There are a total of 8 Royal parks in London that offer free entry, these parks cover a large part of the English capital, they are well maintained and offer a glimpse into the history of London. Visitors from warmer countries like Australia laugh as the that the Londoners sunbathe in the parks as soon as the temperature hits 20c and above. For something different why not try the Royal Parks and Palaces Bike Tour of London