8 Places to Visit in London for the Royal Treatment
As the capital of the United Kingdom, London has always been my favourite place to visit. I was obsessed with kings and queens as a child so naturally I was drawn to all things royal that London had to offer.
Easily the most famous destination in all of London, Buckingham Palace has been the London residence of the United Kingdom’s Kings and Queens since 1837. From the outside, Buckingham Palace is not one of the most grand castles to look at but it is the most recognizable.
The castle is the London home of Queen Elizabeth II. To see if the Queen is in residence, simply look at the flag flying atop the castle. If you see the Union Jack, the Queen is not home, but if you see the Royal Standard flying the Queen is in residence.
Want a peek inside? Each summer, the palace is opened to tour visitors on select dates and times.
The Royal Mews
The Royal Mews houses the full fleet of state vehicles. This includes the carriages used by the royals and during state events such as royal weddings.
When you walk along the ceremonial “red carpet”, you feel the history surrounding you. The Mall is used as the grand entrance to Buckingham Palace by the royal family and their esteemed guests.
The Mall is open to visitors Monday through Saturday. It is closed each Sunday and for ceremonial events, not unlike the wedding of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and his new bride, Kate Middleton. Crowds gathered to catch a glimpse of the newlyweds in their carriage as it traveled through The Mall.
Located just in front of Buckingham Palace, the central monument was built between 1906 and 1924. The Victoria Memorial commemorates Queen Victoria’s death in 1901 and was unveiled by King George V in 1911.
The history this church holds is overwhelming. The coronation of Kings and Queens have been held here since 1066! Westminster Abbey is also the burial sites of Geoffrey Chaucer, Sir Isaac Newton, Queen Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots just to name a few.
As an ever-evolving historical site, in 2018 the Abbey will open “The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries”.
Westminster Abbey is open to visitors each day and church services are held each Sunday.
Kensington Palace is the former home of Princess Diana and the private side the Palace is actually quite full of members of the royal family today. Soon, Prince William and his family will be calling Kensington Palace home. (CNN.com)
The section of the Palace open to the public houses exhibits such as “Diana: A Fashion Show” and “Victoria Revealed”. Visitors can also explore the Queen’s and King’s State Apartments, the Palace Gardens and much more. If you plan to visit, it is highly recommended that you purchase your tickets in advance online. It is not uncommon for days to sell out.
Hampton Court Palace
Want to walk where Kings and Queens walked? Hampton Court Palace is the perfect place for you. Once the favourite home of King Henry VIII, Hampton Court has housed many royals over the years.
In 1838, Queen Victoria ordered that Hampton Court Palace be open to all her subjects without restrictions. Today, visitors can walk down hallways and into rooms where Kings and Queens once walked.
Whitehall: Horse Guards
Here you will find the famous household cavalry. There are always two mounted soldiers and a few soldiers further inside. It is protocol that under no circumstance shall the solders talk or acknowledge people who are around them.
This is also home to The Household Cavalry Museum. This living museum offers a unique look into the history and accomplishments of the cavalry.
London: Where Guests receive the royal treatment
If you want to walk in the footsteps of Kings and Queens or possibly even spot the King and Queen, London is the place to visit! Have you ever been to any of my top eight places to visit? Please share your experiences with us.