Take a Royal Trip Around London
Whether you’re inspired by the King's Coronation, or just wish to explore all that regal London has in store, here are some unmissable places to visit, loved by the British Royal Family.
Royal Sights in Central London
While King Charles has no immediate plans to live in Buckingham Palace, perhaps the most famous of the many royal palaces in London, it remains the number one unmissable sight in London for fans of the royals. The site of hundreds of years of regal history, the palace was built in 1703 for the Duke of Buckingham. Home to the late Her Majesty The Queen, you can still witness the changing of the guard which happens almost daily – usually at 11 am – check the timings for the current schedule.
The Mall to Clarence House
From Buckingham Palace, take a stroll through Green Park, towards St James’s Palace along The Mall, the site of many royal processions both happy and sad, being part of the route of both the King’s Coronation and the funeral of Her Majesty the Queen. Pause to admire Clarence House, the current official London residence of His Majesty the King, and the former residence of Her Majesty The Queen Mother. Continue on to St James’s Palace, home to The Princess Royal (Princess Anne) and Princess Alexandra. It’s also been home to Princes William and Harry over the years.
Explore Piccadilly, Mayfair and Victoria
When you’ve walked the parks, head north, stopping by the iconic Fortnum and Mason in Piccadilly, favoured grocer of the royal family, to browse the food halls or to pause for lunch in one of its many restaurants and cafes. If you’re in the mood for something a little grander, head to the iconic Ritz Hotel, for afternoon tea – the only London hotel with a Royal Warrant for Banqueting and Catering Services from the then-Prince of Wales, and a favourite of the late Her Majesty the Queen.
Continue through Mayfair to Claridge's, one of the most beloved of royal hotels. Patronised by not only many current royals, it is also a favourite of many visiting heads of state and royals from further afield. (They do request that you refrain from taking photographs inside, to protect the privacy of their many famous guests.)
If you’re a committed royalist, you’ll want to stay at the iconic, but perhaps less well-known Goring Hotel, south of Buckingham Palace Gardens. London’s last family-owned luxury hotel, and boasting a Royal Warrant, it’s where those invited to the Palace for social visits choose to stay. It was also reputed to be the late Her Majesty the Queen’s favourite hotel. Princess Catherine (Kate) also stayed here on the eve of her wedding to Prince William. It’s still regularly visited by many members of the Royal family and aristocracy, who enjoy the many fine dining options the hotel has on offer.
Hyde Park & South Kensington
Kensington Gardens, another of London’s eight Royal Parks, is where you’ll find the Princess Diana Memorial, west of Hyde Park and Marble Arch. Kensington Palace was the former home of Princess Diana, and where the stunning 60 million floral tribes were left after her passing. Today, visitors pay tribute at the Kensington Memorial Gardens.
Many of the younger Royals, in particular, love Kensington and the surrounding area, and it’s where many have been spotted going incognito in the area, including The Princess of Wales, Prince Harry and Meghan.
Princess Catherine is renowned to love the iconic art deco Bluebird Café on the King’s Road, while Diana was often seen out and about in Sloane Square (one of the original ‘Sloane Rangers’), enjoying the area’s many high-end eateries and shopping, including now-defunct restaurant San Lorenzo.
Harrods of course, cannot go without a mention, not only famed for being the iconic store for the people who have everything, but owned by the father of Dodi Al-Fayed, Diana’s partner at the time of her death.
A short walk from Kensington Gardens, through the adjoining Hyde Park, is where you’ll find The Dorchester, another Royal favourite hotel. Members of the Royal family were often seen during the war at their charity balls and galas and have continued to be a regular fixture at the hotel's bars and restaurants.
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Royal Albert Hall
Home to many a royal-patronised event, including the Proms and the Royal Variety Performance, the Royal Albert Hall was opened by Queen Victoria in 1871, as a tribute to her late husband, with the intention of promoting the arts and sciences in the South Kensington area.
As well as a busy events calendar, you can also visit during the day or join one of the many tours of the venue.
The Tower of London
If you’re visiting London, don’t miss seeing Tower Bridge (the one that many tourists mistakenly call ‘London Bridge’) and the Tower of London, to explore a somewhat gruesome royal history.
Built in 1070 by William the Conqueror, it’s been home to a number of England’s Tudor-era kings and queens. It’s also where Henry VIII was murdered during the War of the Roses, and where three of his wives were put to their deaths. The Tower of London also served as England’s most secure prison for many centuries.
Here is where you’ll also find the Crown Jewels on display, outside of special events such as the King’s Coronation.
St Paul’s Cathedral
The place where many of our notable British Royal family marry and where many are mourned in their passing. While the UK Government is devoid of religion (the separation of church and state), there has always been a strong link between royalty and religion, and St Paul's Cathedral is the centrepiece of the Anglican Church.
Next to the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey will feature in the King’s Coronation and has been home to Royal Coronations since 1066. It’s also where Prince William and Kate Middleton got married, and where many former Royals and famous Brits, such as Charles Dickens and Sir Isaac Newton are buried.
A fully operational church, attendance at services is free, although, of course, it will be closed to visitors for the King’s Coronation.
Other Royal Sights Around London
If you’re looking to continue your royal tour of London, don’t miss out on visiting the stunning Hampton Court Palace, former home to Henry VIII, and of course, Windsor Castle, in nearby Berkshire, where Her Majesty the Queen is laid to rest, and where it is reported that Prince William and his family will soon take up residence.
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