Things to do | Art, culture & heritage | Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II - landmarks

Ravishing royal palaces

In 1952, the Queen ascended the throne following the death of her father King George VI. By then, she had already been married to Prince Philip for five years and they had had two of their eventual four children – Prince Charles and Princess Anne.

Her Majesty's Coronation took place in Westminster Abbey in 1953 and well into her eighties, she's still going strong. Read on to explore some of the royal landmarks most intimately associated with Elizabeth II and her family. Many are open to the public and offer a fascinating glimpse into the royals’ daily lives and the history of the monarchy.

Windsor Castle

The Royal Borough of Windsor is intimately connected to the Royal Family. Windsor Castle is the Queen’s favourite residence and has been home to the sovereign for over 900 years. It is the largest inhabited castle in England and within the complex there are numerous interesting visitor attractions. Don’t miss the gilded State Apartments lined with magnificent artworks from the Royal Collection and St George’s Chapel the burial place of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Jane Seymour, King George V and many others.

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is The Queen's official residence and has been the London residence of Britain's sovereigns since 1837. The Queen regularly uses the palace for official events including three annual garden parties. Some areas are regularly open to the public, and you can visit the State Rooms during the Annual Summer Opening in August and September. Don’t miss the Changing the Guard ceremony that takes place daily outside the palace in May and June.

Balmoral Castle

Balmoral Castle is the Queen’s private residence near Braemar in the Scottish Highlands. Located on a working estate, Balmoral Castle was described by Queen Victoria as “my dear paradise in the Highlands”. The Estate grounds, gardens and exhibitions are open to visitors from the beginning of April to July. After your visit to the castle explore the surrounding Cairngorm National Park, one of Europe’s last great wildernesses.

Sandringham House

The Queen and her family love to spend Christmas at Sandringham in Norfolk, the private retreat of four generations of sovereigns. Like Balmoral, Sandringham is located on a working estate and you can stop by to see the museum and wander the grounds, which are open to visitors.

The Palace of Holyroodhouse

The Palace of Holyroodhouse was founded as a monastery in 1128 and is the Queen's official residence in Scotland. Located at the end of the famous Royal Mile, the palace has links with Mary, Queen of Scots and many other historic royal figures. Today, Holyroodhouse is the setting of official ceremonies and events.

For more information about the Queen and the Royal Family visit the British Monarchy website.


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Visit the biggest occupied castle in the world, favoured by the Queen as a weekend retreat

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