A peek inside our favorite royal landmarks
1. Buckingham Palace
One of Britain’s most recognizable landmarks, Buckingham Palace is the office and official residence of the Queen. From the end of July to September, the Queen opens her home to visitors, giving visitors 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 and iconic Changing of the Guard ceremony - daily from April to July, and on alternative days for the rest of the year.
2. Kensington Palace
Kensington Palace has been home to many members of the Royal Family including Queen Victoria, Diana Princess of Wales, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Pay the palace a visit and discover stories from Queen Victoria's life told in her own words in the Victoria Revealed exhibition; master the games of royal court in the magnificent King's State Apartments and uncover the secrets of a fragile dynasty in the Queen's State Apartments.
3. Windsor Castle
Not only is Windsor Castle the Queen’s favorite residence, it’s also 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), the Drawings Gallery with its changing exhibitions, and Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House - the most famous dolls’ house in the world.
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. It has also seen 16 royal weddings, including the Queen’s marriage to HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, and most recently, the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
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; lose yourself in the famous Hampton Court Maze; attend a service at the atmospheric Chapel Royal and explore the Hampton Court gardens – internationally renowned for being among the most beautiful gardens in the world.
6. Sandringham House & Estate
Sandringham House in Norfolk, England is one of the Queen’s favorite houses, and where she chooses to spend Christmas with her family. Since 1862, Sandringham has been the private home of 4 generations of monarchs and was once described as ‘The most comfortable house in England’. You can see for yourself as the house, gardens and museum are open to the public from March to October.
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.
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. The Queen and her family usually spend their summer on the estate, which opens its grounds, gardens and Castle Ballroom to the public from April to July each year.
9. Tower of London
One of the globe’s most famous fortresses, the Tower of London has seen service as a royal palace, prison, armory 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.
10. Palace of Holyroodhouse
No trip to Edinburgh would be complete without a visit to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen’s 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.