London’s Royal palaces and mansions
The best palaces to visit are Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace, Hampton Court and the Tower of London. Kensington Palace, Kew Palace and Clarence House can be visited afterwards. You might also like to check out our guide to Royal Family events and the daily parades and ceremonies.
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This impressive building occupies one whole side of Horse Guards parade ground. It used to be home to the Admiralty but now it’s just government offices.
The former home of Arthur Wellesley, better known to history as the Duke of Wellington – the general who beat Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo.
Banqueting House has a huge Rubens on its ceiling, and is where Charles I stepped out onto a scaffold to be executed after the English Civil War.
The Queen’s residence is open to the public during the summer when they can visit the Throne Room, Ballroom and enjoy a cup of tea on the veranda.
If you don’t mind standing around for an hour in a crowd of thousands then watching the Changing the Guard ceremony is definitely worth a try.
Best known as the former home of the Queen Mother, Clarence House is now the London residence of Prince Charles and Camilla.
The Guildhall has been at the centre of London politics since Saxon times. Inside are the statues of the two guardians of the city: Gog and Magog.
Henry VIII’s Tudor palace contains the State Apartments of several kings and queens, and the spectacular Great Hall and Chapel Royal.
Best known as the royal residence of Queen Victoria and Princess Diana, Kensington Palace is now home to Prince William and Prince Harry.
This 18th-century mansion was built by Robert Adam and contains a fine collection of artworks including a Rembrandt, Van Dyck and Turner.
Occupying a spot right at the end of The Mall, the impressive interiors of Lancaster House are used for government conferences and receptions.
Mansion House is the official residence of the Lord Mayor of London during their term of office. The Egyptian Hall is one of the finest rooms in London.
This was the former home of one of the England’s greatest-ever generals, the Duke of Marlborough, who was victorious at the Battle of Blenheim.
Designed like a stone necklace with water bubbling around it, this fountain can be found on the south side of the Serpentine lake.
Built by the legendary architect Inigo Jones in the early 17th-century, Queen’s House once formed part of the Tudor palace at Greenwich.
Unveiled by George V in 1911, this impressive marble monument stands outside the front gate of Buckingham Palace.
Buckingham Palace is the monarch’s official residence in London, but St. James’s Palace actually has seniority over it. It is closed to the public.
The cafe and fountains on the forecourt of Somerset House are worth a visit, as are the Impressionist paintings inside the Courtauld Gallery.
Spencer House was originally built for the 1st Earl Spencer, and is one of London’s finest surviving 18th-century town houses.
Built by Robert Adam on the site of the medieval Syon Abbey, Syon House and its 200-acre park are now owned by the Duke of Northumberland.
Built by William the Conqueror in 1066, it has been standing guard over London for 1,000 years and has been a Royal palace, fortress, prison and mint.
If you want to see some pomp and pageantry then try Trooping the Colour with its mounted soldiers, marching bands and RAF flypast.
Some of England’s most famous monarchs are buried inside here: from Edward the Confessor and Edward III, to Henry V, William III and Elizabeth I.
The Queen’s favourite residence is not Buckingham Palace, it’s actually Windsor Castle – the largest and longest-occupied castle in the world.