Dating back to William the Conqueror, the first Norman King of England in the 11th century, the British monarchy have dominated life in the English capital. So for your next visit to London, embark on a royal tour and explore sights contacted to the royal family, from Buckingham Palace and well beyond.
Buckingham Palace was originally built for the Duke of Buckingham in the 1700s. In the 19th century, King George IV decided to make a few changes and turn the house into a grand palace. Today, the royal standard flies over the palace when the reigning sovereign is in residence and the changing of the guard is a must-see for many tourists.
Address: London SW1A 1AA
Since its conversion from a stately mansion to a palace in the 17th century, many of Britain's monarchs have resided in Kensington Palace. Princess Diana famously had apartments in this beautiful abode. Her son, Prince William now lives here with Kate the Duchess of Cambridge. For a decadent afternoon tea, visit the 18th-century Orangery restaurant and sit outside for views of the palace and gardens.
Address: Kensington Gardens, London W8 4PX
The massive stone Tower of London was unlike anything else at the time of its conception in the early 11th century. Set on the north bank of the River Thames, the Tower has been fiercely protected, besieged and expanded upon over the centuries. A visit to the Tower is not complete without admiring the Crown Jewels which have been kept under guard since the 1300s.
Address: London EC3N 4AB
This impressive Gothic landmark otherwise known as the Palace of Westminster is one of the most recognisable landmarks in London. Westminster is home to the House of Commons and the House of Lords and is a symbol of a government that has endured for centuries.
Address: Parliament Square, London SW1P 3JX
Breaking with significant tradition, Prince Charles and Lady Diana were married in St Paul’s Cathedral on July 29 1981. The current incarnation took 35 years to build and was completed in 1711 as the world's first Protestant cathedral. Visitors enjoy climbing the 163 steps into the dome to the Whispering Gallery, named for the unique acoustics which allow you to whisper into the wall and be heard perfectly by someone on the other side.
Address: St. Paul's Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD
On April 29 2011, Prince William married Catherine Middleton in Westminster Abbey. Other royal weddings that took place in the Abbey include King Henry I in 1100, King Richard II in 1382 and Queen Elizabeth II in 1947 when she was just Princess Elizabeth. Westminster Abbey is a Royal Peculiar – a place of worship under the authority of the British monarch rather than of a bishop – and has been the site of royal coronations since the early 11th century.
Address: 20 Deans Yd, London SW1P 3PA
7. Victoria and Albert Museum
The last official public appearance by Queen Victoria was on May 17 1899 when she laid the foundation stone on the Aston Webb Building, which is part of the museum that would be named after her and her husband. Today the V&A Museum is the largest museum of decorative arts and design in the world.
Address: Cromwell Rd, London SW7 2RL
8. National Portrait Gallery
Connected to the National Gallery just off Trafalgar Square, the National Portrait Gallery was the first of its kind when it opened in 1856. There are paintings of England’s who’s who of reigning sovereigns including Richard II, Edward V, Henry IV, Henry VIII, Richard III, Edward VI, Charles I and James I.
Address: St Martin's Pl, London WC2H 0HE
9. Hampton Court Palace
A great day trip just outside central London lies the Hampton Court Palace, which is most famously associated with King Henry VIII. During his reign in the 16th century, King Henry rebuilt and expanded the complex following a Gothic-inspired Tudor design with restrained Renaissance ornament. Henry’s successor, Edward VI was born at the palace.
Address: East Molesey, Surrey KT8 9AU
10. St James’s Palace
One of London’s oldest palaces, St James’s Palace was commissioned by Henry VIII and constructed in a Tudor style. It was subsequently used as the principle monachal residence in London until Queen Victoria relocated to Buckingham Palace. Today it’s used as the London residence of Princess Beatrice of York, Princess Eugenie of York and Princess Alexandra.
Address: Marlborough Rd, London SW1A 1BS