Renowned the world over, the Royals form a huge part of British culture and tradition. Across the south, and all within easy reach of London, are a whole host of locations with Royal connections, just waiting to be explored.
Home to the world’s oldest and largest inhabited castle, Windsor is a town that is synonymous with Royal tradition. The Queen is often in residence throughout the year – look out for the Royal colours flying high over the Round Tower – while the Changing of the Guard sees the regimental band marching to the castle from the town barracks. Home to 39 monarchs since it was founded by William the Conqueror in the 11th century, Windsor Castle provided the stunning surroundings for the 2018 Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, now the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Immerse yourself in the elegance and grandeur of the State apartments and the Grand Reception Room, before following in the footsteps of Royals along the Long Walk, a three-mile tree lined avenue that ends at the magnificent Copper Horse statue of King George III. The town is also home to the LEGOLAND Windsor resort, a family orientated theme park with more than 55 rides, shows and attractions.
Hampton Court Palace
Once the home of King Henry VIII, Hampton Court Palace is a must for any visitor wanting to discover more about Britain’s Royal history. Found just a short distance from London, visitors can lose themselves in the 300-year old Hampton Court Maze – the UK’s oldest surviving hedge maze – or be immersed in the magnificence of the gardens and the splendour of the great hall. Guided tours and costumed private guided tours take place on selected dates throughout the year, as well as rooftop guided tours that show the palace from a new perspective.
Developed as a seaside retreat for King George IV, the Royal Pavilion in Brighton mixes Regency splendour with architectural styles from India and China. Explore the beautiful Royal Pavilion Gardens and estate or head inside to view the elaborate Banqueting Room and the King’s Apartments, including his state bed. The bustling seaside city of Brighton is a short train ride from London and is home to numerous boutique shops and independent outlets, selling everything from luxury jewellery to vintage clothes and the latest from up-and-coming designers. Relax on Brighton beach or for a better view of the surroundings, visit the i360 platform, a viewing pod that offers spectacular views from 450 feet up. Alternatively, take a helicopter tour of the city and the surrounding Sussex countryside, providing ample opportunity to relax while taking in all the sights.
Steeped in tradition, Royal Ascot represents the pinnacle of British flat racing, attracting the world’s finest racehorses and trainers from every corner of the globe. With 30 top class races spread across five days, the arrival of the Royal Procession kick-starts proceedings each day at the Royal race meeting, where fashion and elegance go hand in hand. Place a wager on the colour of the Queen’s hat and enjoy a wealth of fine dining experiences and dishes from Michelin-starred chefs, alongside unparalleled views of the racing.
A country retreat loved by the Queen, Sandringham has been home to four generations of British monarchs dating back to 1862. With guides on hand in every room to share the stately home’s rich history, the stunning building is located within 24 hectares of striking gardens and is at the heart of the 8,000 hectare Sandringham Estate. The Country Park is open to the public all year round while the house, museum and gardens are open daily between the start of April and mid-October.
Woburn Abbey and Gardens
Home to the Earls and Dukes of Bedford for centuries, Woburn Abbey and Gardens has 22 rooms to discover and more than 250 pieces of exceptional artwork, including the Armada Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I and pieces by Queen Victoria, Rembrandt and Thomas Gainsborough. Explore the Woburn Abbey Deer Park, keeping a watchful eye out for nine species of deer, before dining in luxury at Paris House, a delightful Michelin-starred restaurant situated on the Woburn Estate. Private carriage tours around the estate run on selected dates throughout the year, or you can enjoy an exclusive Twilight Parkland Tour to see the deer park in a new light.