What better way to discover the long and rich history of London than by visiting some of the city’s glorious Royal palaces? If you’re staying at one of the superb Red Carnation Hotels in central London, you couldn’t be better placed for some regal sightseeing, with some of the most impressive residences located right around the corner. Take a look at our guide to exploring the incredible Royal palaces in London next time you’re in town.
The first stop on any royal palace trip should be the Queen’s official residence, Buckingham Palace. The setting of so many iconic moments in British history, (including the recent royal wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge), nothing quite beats a turn or two around the exclusive grounds before taking in the famous spectacle of the Changing the Guards. Over the summer months it’s worth taking full advantage of the annual opening of the State Rooms to admire one of the most significant European Royal collections of art in existence. For a truly unique slice of history, this year the opening of the Royal Childhood exhibition showcases an unprecedented look at the lives of young Royals over the past 250 years. Expect to see clothing, trinkets and treasures from Royals old and young, including a couple of items belonging to the future King George.
Despite being the official home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Kensington Palace is a bustling hum of public activity throughout the summer season. Make the most of the good weather and enjoy a garden history tour in the sunshine or simply relax in the stunning grounds. Better yet, round off a fun day out by booking tickets to one of the summer open air cinema screenings – this year’s listings include cult classics like Breakfast at Tiffany’s and The Great Gatsby.
Art fans will enjoy the opulent splendour of the Banqueting House, situated on Whitehall. The only remaining element of the famous Whitehall Palace, the Banqueting House carries its own unique and fascinating history as the site of the execution of King Charles I. The stunning Ruben’s ceiling, created by Sir Peter Paul Ruben, will transfix your gaze as soon as you enter the main room, while plenty of other beautiful artefacts and ornate architecture are also on display throughout one of the city’s first neo-classical buildings.
Seeing the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London is definitely a must for anyone who enjoys the splendour of a bit of bling. The foreboding fortress and famous White Tower stands as a beacon of London’s history from its imposing place on the Thames. With tons of family activities to keep everyone happy, both kids and adults will relish learning about the tumultuous past of the British monarchy.
Whether you’re transported back in time by watching one of the exciting costumed re-enactments or enthralled by the latest exhibition, Coins and Kings: The Royal Mint at the Tower, which charts the history of the Royal Mint from medieval times to modern-day, you certainly won’t be stuck for fun things to do. Work up an appetite and visit the New Armouries Café where each month a new British seasonal food is chosen as the star ingredient of the menu, with a selection of special dishes created in its honour.
Header image: The Mall – Mary Lane/iStock/Thinkstock