I LOVE all things British Royalty; princesses, beautiful gowns, palaces, and castles. What's not to like? I mean, what girl doesn't dream of being a princess at one point in her life? In London, royalty and history are around every corner. From Henry VIII and his many wives, to the royals of today, you don't have to travel far to see it all. On my recent trip to London, BJ and I made the Royal rounds seeing everything from the dwellings of King Henry VIII to Buckingham Palace. If you are planning a trip to London and love Royals, these stops are a must!!
There is nothing quite as magnificent as this iconic British landmark in my mind. I would have stared at it forever if BJ hadn't finally pulled me away to explore the surrounding parks. On my trip to London 3 years ago, they had the palace open for tours. It wasn't open on this trip, but the gift shop was open and we picked up some royal tea and Buckingham Palace gold rimmed glassware.
Be aware, it is usually extremely crowded during the day. If you find yourself here in the early hours of the morning or late at night, you have better chance of encountering a smaller crowd.
If you see the Union Jack flag flying, it means the Queen is not in. If you see her Royal Flag, it means she is in the palace!
You may even see the Royal Guard passing by! If you feel like braving the crowd, the Palace has a Changing of the Guard Ceremony everyday in the summer from 11:00-11:45.
If you have time, a visit to the Royal Muse is a must! The Muse is a look at all the Royal Carriages and horses. Bj and I didn't get a chance to go but we really wanted to!
You'll also want to check out Green Park next to Buckingham. Green Park is the smallest of the Royal Parks, but with 40 acres, there is still plenty of room for everyone to stretch their legs. On nice days, you will find people lounging and having picnics. Just on the other side, you find Piccadilly Circus. Just don't walk through there at night!
If modern Royals are more your style, a visit to Kensington Palace is a must.
Kensington Palace is home to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (a.k.a Prince William and Catherine Middleton) Prince Harry, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke and Duchess of Kent, the Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, and the late Princess Diana.
Only a portion of the Palace is open to the public, as it is the real life home to royals, but you have access to the old State rooms, the Orangery, and the beautiful Gardens.
At the moment, there is a exhibit of Princess Diana's clothing. Be weary, this is a very emotional exhibit for a lot of people, so expect some tears from your fellow visitors. There also isn't any air-conditioning, so be sure and dress appropriately.
If you're looking for a more historic Royal stop, I highly recommend Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace was home to Henry VIII and his many wives, including the famous Ann Boleyn. It was also home to his 2 successors, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth I. Hampton Court is about a 40 minute cab ride from Kensington Palace. However, if you take the train it takes a lot less time.
When we arrived, we were breathless. It had been my sisters idea to visit, so we really had no idea where we were going. This estate is truly magnificent and sits on 40 acres of formal gardens.
The Palace is unique as it is comprised of two separate palaces. It's a beautiful blend of Tudor and Georgian architecture.
We can't forget about British Music Royalty.
Abbey Road Studios
This famous recording studio has been used by some of the greatest bands of all time. Most famously, the Beatles, who used a photograph of themselves at the cross walk as their album cover.
Our visit here fulfilled a lifelong dream of my husband, who is a Beatles mega-fan. It's his version of British Royalty, which makes sense as he asked me how Princess Diana and Prince William were related...
Don't worry, I gave him a full Royalty history lesson and we bought a book at Buckingham Palace for him to study the lineage.
It's still an active recording studio so you can't enter the premises, but they do have a great giftshop with lots of unique items.
And of course, the historic cross-walk where you are sure to see a small crowd dodging traffic to recreate the Beatles Album Cover.
Or perhaps, your version of British royalty is classic British literature.
The Sherlock Holmes Museum
We stopped by 221b Baker Street, which was about a 20 minute walk from Abbey Road Studios. I'll admit, I'm not a huge Sherlock Holmes fan, but we went for my sister. The museum is actually a replica of the house from the story. However, it's so authentic as I was looking around, I began questioning my limited knowledge of Sherlock. I was even convinced for a second he was actually a real person, not a fictional character.
All of these places are within 20 minutes of each other, depending on your chosen form of transportation. You could easily see all of these places in one jam-packed day of royals!
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Who's your favorite royal?