Whether you’re a tourist or a Brit, there is nothing quite like exploring the buildings and landmarks that are quintessentially British. There is no better way to immerse yourself in British culture than visiting those sites that have a royal history. We’ve compiled a selection of these must-sees for you to peruse and choose from.
What an astonishing place to go and see. Her Majesty the Queen’s Royal residence and London office, Buckingham Palace is now one of the only working royal palaces in the world. You can go on a tour of the State Rooms, which are designed to be public rooms where the monarch entertains and greets visiting dignitaries and guests. Furnished with many pieces from the royal collection, the 19 State Rooms are bedecked with chandeliers, paintings, porcelain and exquisite furniture. And if the kids start to get a bit excitable, the Changing of the Guards is quite an experience. The 45 minute ceremony is a grand display of British pageantry and is quite literally where one regiment takes over from another. Incredibly popular all year round, Buckingham Palace is certainly one to tick off the list.
Hampton Court Palace
Once home to Henry VIII, Hampton Court Palace is full to the brim with history, mystery and intrigue. You can wander through the vast State Rooms or work up an appetite in the Tudor kitchens, which were designed and built for the cooks to feed Henry’s 1000 strong court. For a breath of fresh air explore the famous maze amidst 60 acres of grounds. Whether or not you’re an art fanatic, the paintings such as Andrea Mantegna’s ‘Triumphs of Caesar’ are a true delight to look at. And if that isn’t enough you can pace quietly along the Haunted Gallery or go on one of the daily costumed tours and talks.
Tower of London
Situated on the North bank of the Thames, the Tower of London is an historic castle that serves as a fortress and royal palace. Used as a prison since 1100, the Tower has a mysterious and dark history. Famously the place of imprisonment for Princes Edward and Richard, the Tower has earned a gloomy reputation because they both disappeared in 1483 and to this day no one knows of their fate. Alongside these tales of suspicion lie the glittering Crown Jewels, worn by the sovereign at coronation and traditionally housed in the Tower from the reign of Henry III. A day at the Tower of London is perfect for adults and children alike as there is something to excite everyone’s imagination.
Set within the historic building of Horse Guards, which dates back to 1750, the Household Cavalry is not just historic, but history in the making. Every day the Household Cavalry performs the Queen’s Life Guard, which has remained virtually unchanged for more than 350 years. The Museum itself boasts a large collection of unique wonders from silverware by Fabergé to horse furniture and ceremonial uniforms. An afternoon here promises to be fascinating and fun for you and the kids.