Want to do a full Royal tour of the British capital? Then you’re in the right place. If you love everything about the British Royals and you’re obsessed with where they live and what they do, you can get an insight into the history and heritage of the Windsor family by following our ultimate Royals Guide to London. Get a step closer to Her Majesty the Queen, Prince William and Harry and walk the same corridors and paths that Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle walk. Here are the best sights and attractions to visit in and around London if you want to learn more about the Royal Family and the history of the British monarchy…
Top Tip: If you haven’t watched The Crown yet, do so before your visit to London to get a true insight into the Queen’s life in London!
Where better to begin your Royal tour of London than Buckingham Palace, the Queen’s official royal residence. Located in Westminster close by to St James’ Park, the building is one of the world’s few remaining working royal palaces. During the summer months, the palace opens its doors to the public for 10 weeks who can take a look around the 19 majestic State Rooms. These rooms are used by the Royals for celebrations or ceremonies so you can actually walk where the Royals have stepped. A ticket to the State Rooms costs £25 for adults and £22.80 for students. You can’t miss out on the Changing of the Guard ceremony that takes place every day outside the Palace at 11am each day and 10am on Sundays.
Tower of London
With a history dating back a thousand years, you should definitely add the Tower of London to your Royal itinerary if you love history. Over time, this iconic tower has been a former fortress, a royal palace and a torture prison - you get to get a look inside for £24.70. You can even have a tour of the Bloody Tower and torture cells that were used during the Tudor times. King Henry VIIIs fifth wife Catherine Howard was executed in the Tower of London. The Tower of London is also home to the Crown Jewels, a world famous collection of 23,578 gemstones part of the Royal Collection and still used and worn by the Queen today. That’s why the jewels are always kept under armed guard.
Fortnum & Mason
This upmarket department store near Kings Cross station is a must for anyone who loves the Queen. Fortnum & Mason has been the royal grocer for over a century and it’s by far the chicest department store in the city. Since the Queen loves her tea, pick yourself up a pack of famous Royal Blend tea bags or a nice teapot and saucer from Her Majesty’s 90th birthday china collection. The historic store was founded in 1707 so just walking around is an attraction in itself. Have a pot of English tea or a glass of chilled Prosecco in ‘The Parlour’, Fortnum and Mason’s delightful casual tea room. Or there’s the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon where you can indulge in a classic British afternoon tea and spend an afternoon like the Queen would.
Hampton Court Palace
Another Royal Palace for you to explore in London. Hampton Court Palace lies in the London Borough of Richmond and it’s packed with Royal history. King Henry VIII, his wives and his children all used to live in this palace so you can get a real insight into their fascinating lives and Henry’s controversial regime. Inside you can explore the Tudor Kitchen, Henry VIII’s Great Hall, the beautiful Hampton Court Palace gardens and walk the same ground as the famous Tudor King. Today Hampton Court Palace is open to the public so you can have a look at the royal rooms, apartments, state rooms, the chapel and even the Haunted Gallery where it’s rumoured the ghost of Catherine Howard roams.
The Queen’s House
One Royal sight that’s more off the beaten track and less touristy is the Queen’s House in Greenwich - a beautiful palace set on the peaceful grounds of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is where the Tudor monarch King Henry VIII was born. A former royal residence, the Queen’s House is now home to an internationally renowned art collection and Royal portraits. We recommend visiting the Queen’s House because it’s free entry and you’ll get to discover fascinating royal histories. It’s even home to the iconic Armada portrait of Elizabeth I. The house was used by the royal family up until 1805 and now it’s part of the National Maritime Museum.
Princess Diana Memorial Fountain
Do you adore Princess Diana? Have you watched all the documentaries about her life? If so, pay your respects at the unique Princess Diana Memorial Fountain in Hyde Park, opened by Her Majesty The Queen on 6th July 2004. The minimalist fountain is made up of 545 pieces of Cornish granite as a memorial to the much-loved Princess as a tribute to her quality and openness. Want to see more of Diana’s presence throughout London? Go on the seven-mile Princess Diana Memorial Walk which will take you through four royal parks where you will pass buildings that were associated with the princess during her life including Spencer House, Clarence House, Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace and more.
Kensington Palace has been the childhood home of the Royal Family for over 300 years. Set in the beautiful Kensington Gardens, it’s now the official home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge amongst other modern Royal Family members. Now, some parts of the Palace and its grounds are open for the public to explore. Take a look around the King’s State Apartments - less apartment feeling, and much more grand and opulent. This is where meetings were held in the presence of royalty, so here you’ll find incredible sculptures, artwork and stunning interiors fit for a king. Tickets to Kensington Palace include access to all public areas of the palace including the State Rooms and the Sunken Garden (where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their engagement), and the online adult price is £17.50.
Once you’ve explored Buckingham Palace, take a 15 minute walk through St James’ Park over to Westminster Abbey. Located in Westminster near the Houses of Parliament this beautiful Gothic church is a World Heritage Site that has played host to countless coronations of British Kings and Queens. Five Royal weddings have taken place at Westminster Abbey tolo including Prince William and Kate Middleton, The Queen and Prince Philip Mountbatten, Princess Margaret and Anthony Armstrong Jones and more. The church is also the resting place for over 3000 Brits. You are welcome to join any of the religious services at the Abbey free of charge or you can go during visiting hours for £23.
Windsor Castle and the Long Walk
Our favourite day trip out of London has to be Windsor, where the Queen sometimes retreats to get some space from the city during her weekends. Home to Windsor Castle (the Queen’s royal residence) as well as the medieval St George’s Chapel where Prince Harry and Meghan tied the knot, there are plenty of Royal things to see and do around the area. Explore the streets that were full of patriotic Brits during the Royal wedding, get tickets to go inside the castle and explore the rooms or watch the Changing of the Guard every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 11am.
You may think Buckingham Palace is big, but Windsor castle is the largest and most occupied castle in the world that’s been home to 39 monarchs. There’s an amazing walk you have to do down the Long Walk (where Meghans wedding car drove down on the way to the chapel). Surrounded by beautiful green space, trees and nature, Windsor is a real break from the hustle and bustle of London. You can get to Windsor by train in about 53 minutes from Waterloo station or 30 minutes from Richmond station.
This British Royal palace is hidden away from the world, tucked on the banks of the River Thames. Kew Palace was the family home of George III and Queen Charlotte, the same Royal couple who purchased Buckingham Palace and Frogmore Cottage in Windsor Park. Kew Palace is open to the public where you can explore Queen Charlotte’s rustic cottage perfectly situated amongst rural surroundings. This cottage was built as a retreat for the family, used in the late 18th century for resting and walks in the gardens. In Kew Palace you can also get a look inside the Georgian Royal kitchens which haven’t been used for 200 years.