Looking to explore more of Britain’s royal heritage? Here are just some of the many places across the country where you can walk in the footsteps of royalty.
Hampton Court Palace, Windsor
Henry VIII’s favourite royal residence, Hampton Court Palace (pictured above) is a must-see. Queen Victoria opened the gardens to the public in 1838, and it’s still one of the most popular palaces to visit. Inside you can explore William III’s State Apartments, the 450- year old Chapel Royal, King Henry VIII’s Great Hall (which is filled with tapestries) and his enormous Tudor kitchens. The palace is 35 minutes from central London by train.
Visit website: hrp.org.uk/hampton-court-palace
Queen’s House, Greenwich
Step through the doors into the impressive Great Hall, with its striking marble floor and black-and-white geometric design, originally laid in 1635, and discover renowned art works by British and European masters including Turner, Gainsborough, Hogarth and Stubbs. After essential conservation, The Armada Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I (pictured below) a beautiful historic painting, is back on public display.
This beautiful royal villa was designed by Inigo Jones and is Britain’s first classical building and a pioneering masterpiece of 17th-century architecture. Today you can enjoy the spectacular art, architecture and royal history of the Queen’s House, and don’t miss the marvellous decorated ceiling in the Queen’s Presence Chamber which celebrates Charles I and Henrietta Maria as a powerful couple. Greenwich is just eight minutes from central London by rail, 20 minutes by DLR, or make the journey part of the fun and arrive by boat.
Visit website: rmg.co.uk/Queens-House/Greenwich
Leeds Castle, Kent
Leeds Castle has welcomed many generations of royals since Queen Eleanor of Castille bought it in 1278. In fact the historic Norman castle has been associated with six queens of England (as well as King Edward I, II and III and King Richard II) and was a royal residence for more than 300 years. The castle has been restored to its former glory and you can take a punt out on the vast moat, explore the manicured kitchen gardens, take little ones to the Knights’ Realm Playground and check out the brilliant and unusual Dog Collar Museum; some of its collars date right back to the 15th century. Kent is in south-east England, an hour’s train journey from London.
Visit website: leeds-castle.com
King George V said he loved Sandringham, in Norfolk, ‘better than anywhere in the world’ and the country estate is just as beautiful and beloved by the royal family today. Set in rolling grounds, the 243acre Sandringham Country Park is free to visit. Also open to the public are the ground floor rooms of Sandringham House, the Sandringham Museum and the 24-hectare royal Sandringham Gardens.
Sandringham is in eastern England, around one hour 30 minutes by road from Cambridge.
Visit website: sandringhamestate.co.uk
The Household Cavalry Museum, Whitehall, London
The Household Cavalry Museum celebrates the history and accomplishments of The Household Cavalry offering a unique ‘behind the scenes’ look at the work that goes into the ceremonial and armoured reconnaissance role of HM The Queen’s Mounted Bodyguard. With its splendid setting on Horse Guards Parade in the very heart of ceremonial London, the museum not only celebrates the history and work of HM The Queen’s bodyguard, the Household Cavalry, the highest ranks in the British Army, but also offers itself as a wonderful and unique setting for private use events.
Visit website: householdcavalrymuseum.co.uk
The Royal Pavilion, Brighton
The Royal Pavilion in Brighton was created as a seaside pleasure palace for King George IV, who reigned in Britain between 1820 and 1830. Built in 1787 by Henry Holland, its striking design mixed Regency grandeur with the visual style of India and China. Take the brilliant audio guided tour to delve into the Royal Pavilion’s colourful history and listen to legendary tales of the former king’s entertaining in the Banqueting Room, The Great Kitchen, the Music Room and the garden and estate. Brighton is in south-east England, an hour’s train journey from London.
Visit website: brightonmuseums.org.uk/royalpavilion
The Royal Yacht Britannia, Edinburgh
Follow in the footsteps of Royalty on board Her Majesty The Queen’s former floating palace, where Prince Harry and Prince William spent their summer holidays every year. The Royal Yacht Britannia, Scotland’s top tourist attraction and 5 star exclusive use evening events venue, and is where kings and queens, world leaders and celebrities were wined and dined. Berthed in Edinburgh’s historic port of Leith, Britannia makes a truly unique and impressive location for a special celebration. Everything is replicated to the same high standards as when Britannia was in Royal service with exceptional cuisine and fine wines all served by Britannia’s butlers in The State Dining Room.
Visit website: www.royalyachtbritannia.co.uk
Palace of Holyroodhouse, also in Edinburgh
While Balmoral is the Queen’s holiday home, the Palace of Holyroodhouse is the Queen’s official Scottish residence and it started life as a 12th century Augustinian abbey. You can still tour the abbey, step into Mary Queen of Scots’ Chambers, stock up on some royal gifts or take afternoon tea in the Mews Courtyard Cafe. There’s plenty of different events running through the summer including behind the scenes family tours and storytelling in the palace gardens.
Visit website: royalcollection.org.uk/visit/palace-of-holyroodhouse
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