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Top 10 royal attractions

Take a peek inside the iconic royal landmarks that span Great Britain. From the northern reaches of Scotland a favourite summer retreat, to the oldest occupied castle in the world in Windsor – Britain is full of royal places waiting to be discovered.

 

1. Buckingham Palace

One of Britain’s most recognisable landmarks, Buckingham Palace is the office and official residence of the King. From the end of July to September the doors open to visitors, giving you the chance to tour the lavish State Rooms and garden, and see some great treasures from the Royal Collection along the way. And don’t forget to catch the spectacular Changing the Guard ceremony. It’s free to watch and runs daily from April to July, and on alternate days for the rest of the year.

 

2. Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace has been home to many members a royal including Queen Victoria and Diana Princess of Wales. Take a look back through the years of the Royal Family with exhibitions year round, from touring the The King's Gallery to visiting the Jewel Room.

 

3. Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle is the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world. Don’t miss the magnificent State Apartments, St George’s Chapel (the burial ground of 10 monarchs) and Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House - the most famous dolls’ house in the world.

Why not take the opportunity to travel like royalty round Windsor Great Park aboard a horse drawn carriage. 

 

4. Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey is steeped in over 1,000 years of history, and has been the setting for the coronation of every English monarch from 1066. The abbey has seen 16 royal weddings and is also the place where the late Queen Elizabeth II was crowned as queen 70 years previous.

 

5. Hampton Court Palace

The magnificent Hampton Court Palace in Richmond, London, was Henry VIII’s favourite royal residence. Step back in time for a taste of Tudor life in Henry VIII’s kitchens; and lose yourself in the famous Hampton Court Maze.

See knights charge down to the palace for the Jubilee Joust, or if you’re a Bridgerton fan, discover the places that set the scene for the hit Netflix series. For year-round entertainment, check out the events calendar - from a stepping back in time with the Tudors to seeing flowers bloom at the Garden Festival.

 

Hampton Court Palace, RHS Flower Show, Richmond upon Thames © VisitBritain / Peter Beavis

 

6. Sandringham House & Estate

Since 1862, Sandringham has been the private home of 4 generations of monarchs and was once described as ‘The most comfortable house in England’.

Visit the much loved royal retreat for tours of the vast estate, and discove the Royal Parklands for a snippet of nature. 

 

7. Edinburgh Castle

Perched on top of an extinct volcano at the top of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, Edinburgh Castle is the city’s most popular tourist attraction. It became Scotland's chief royal castle in the Middle Ages and is now home to the Scottish Crown Jewels, the Stone of Destiny, the famous 15th-century gun Mons Meg, the One O' Clock Gun and the National War Museum of Scotland.

For some added pomp and pageantry with military displays and artistic performances, celebrate The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo which takes place in the city through August.

Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland © VisitBritain / Andrew Pickett

 

8. Balmoral Castle & Estate

Purchased by Queen Victoria in 1848, Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire has been a private Scottish home of the British Royal Family ever since. It opens its grounds, gardens and Castle Ballroom to the public from April to July each year.

Look out for special theatrical events through the year from Shakespearean classics to contemporary plays, or for something a little more fast-paced join a Balmoral Expedition for a ride across the estate in a Land Rover.

 

9. Tower of London

One of the globe’s most famous fortresses, the Tower of London has seen service as a royal palace, prison, armoury and even a zoo. Today, it’s a World Heritage Site, where you’ll be dazzled by the Crown Jewels; hear tales from the Tower on a Yeoman Warder tour and see where Henry VIII’s wives Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard are thought to have been executed.

Tower of London, London, England
Tower of London, London, England © VisitBritain / Andrew Pickett

 

10. Palace of Holyroodhouse

No trip to Edinburgh would be complete without a visit to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the King'a official residence in Scotland. The palace is best known as the home of Mary, Queen of Scots – she was married here, and witnessed the brutal killing of her secretary in her private apartments. A tour of the Palace will take you to the State Apartments, the gardens and the Queen’s Gallery, where you’ll find changing exhibitions from the Royal Collection.

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