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 1st Duke of Wellington, and the general who beat Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo.
Banqueting House is famous the huge Rubens on its ceiling, and as the spot where Charles I stepped out onto the 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 famous 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 on Buckingham Palace forecourt is worth a try.
Best known as the former home of the Queen Mother, Clarence House is now the official London residence of Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.
The Guildhall has been at the centre of London politics since Saxon times. Inside the Great Hall are statues of the two legendary guardians of the City: Gog and Magog.
Henry VIII’s Tudor palace contains his State Apartments and two rooms that are definitely worth a day-trip: the 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, Prince Harry and Princess Catherine.
This 18th-century mansion was built by Robert Adam and contains a fine collection of artworks in its ornate library, 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, who gets to live in it for his/her solitary year in 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 beat Louis XIV of France at the Battle of Blenheim.
Designed like a stone necklace with water bubbling round it, the Princess Di fountain can be found on the south side of the Serpentine in Hyde Park.
Built by the legendary architect Inigo Jones in the early 17th-century, Queen’s House once formed part of the now demolished Tudor palace at Greenwich.
Unveiled by George V in 1911, this impressive marble monument stands outside the gates of Buckingham Palace at the end of The Mall.
Whilst Buckingham Palace remains the monarch’s official residence in London, St. James’s Palace has seniority when it comes to the most important Royal palace.
The cafe and dancing fountains on the forecourt of Somerset House are worth a visit, as are the world-reknowned Impressionist paintings inside the Courtauld.
Spencer House was originally built for the 1st Earl Spencer, one of Princess Diana’s ancestors, 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 and his family.
This Royal palace, fortress, prison and mint was originally built by William the Conqueror in 1066, and has been standing guard over the city of London for 1,000 years.
If you want to see some pomp and pageantry in London then you can’t do better than Trooping the Colour with its mounted soldiers, marching bands and RAF flypast.
Some of England’s greatest kings and queens are buried here: everyone 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 – believed to be the largest and longest-occupied castle in the world.