Top royal London attractions

Sample the lives of the kings and queens of England with a visit to these top royal London attractions.

If you were a king or queen for the day in London, what would you do? Ride around in a carriage made out of gold, wear the world's most famous diamond on your head, or marry six wives (and have two beheaded)? 

From regal robes and crown jewels to sumptuous state apartments and ceremonial carriages, here's where to go in the capital for an insight into royal London throughout the ages.

1. Buckingham Palace Tour

The Queen's official London residence has a whopping 775 rooms. It is one of the few working royal palaces remaining in the world today. The lavishly decorated State Rooms of the Palace are open to visitors during the summer months, and you can visit all year round to see the famous Changing the Guard. Read More
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2. Kensington Palace

Queen Victoria statue in Kensington Gardens, with tree with autumn leaves, and Kensington Palace in the background
Kensington Gardens autumn. Source visitlondon.com/Jon Reid

Kensington Palace offers a glimpse into the lives of its past royal residents. Discover stories from Queen Victoria's life in the Victoria Revealed exhibition; master courtly games in the King's State Apartments; glimpse a modern princess in an exhibition of Diana's dresses; and uncover the secrets of a fragile dynasty in the Queen's State Apartments.

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3. Royal Mews

Gold State Coach at the Royal Mews
Gold State Coach. The Royal Collection © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

The Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace is a working stable, and home to the royal collection of historic coaches and carriages, as well as the cars used for state occasions. The most dazzling of all the coaches on display is the Gold State Coach, used as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2002.

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4. The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace

Dedicated to works of art from the Royal Collection, The Queen's Gallery was constructed in 1962 at Buckingham Palace, out of the bomb-damaged ruins of a chapel. In addition to gems from the Royal Collection (which is held in trust by the Queen for the nation), there's a changing programme of temporary exhibitions.

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5. Tower of London

Take a tour with one of the Yeoman Warders around the Tower of London, one of the world's most famous buildings. Discover its 900-year history as a royal palace, prison and place of execution, arsenal, jewel house and zoo! Gaze up at the White Tower, tiptoe through a medieval king's bedchamber and marvel at the Crown Jewels.

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6. Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace,The Great Gatehouse, West Front
Hampton Court Palace,The Great Gatehouse, West Front © Historic Royal Palaces

The most famous resident of Hampton Court Palace was King Henry VIII. Each of his six wives stayed here; indeed, this is where he proposed to Jane Seymour. Follow the costumed guides as they bring the palace's 500 years of royal history to life. Then head outside, in the formal gardens, and have fun getting lost in the magnificent maze.

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7. Household Cavalry Museum

The Household Cavalry on Horse Guards Parade
Horse Guards Parade. Image visitlondon.com

You've seen Changing the Guard, now look behind the scenes at the work that goes into the ceremonial duties and operational roles of the Household Cavalry. Watch troopers working with their horses in the original 18th-century stables, and browse a collection representing more than 300 years of military history.

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8. Kew Palace

Located within lush botanical gardens, Kew Palace was the residence of George II's daughters, then family home of George III. Peek inside the most intimate of the royal palaces, where everything is just as it was during George's reign; the riot of colour in the authentically re-created rooms give you a real feel for the life of this royal family.

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Prices from £5.30

9. Westminster Abbey

Join the one million people visiting Westminster Abbey each year, admire the gothic architecture, and step back in time to discover 700 years of turbulent history. The coronation Church of England, Westminster Abbey also witnessed the weddings of Queen Elizabeth II, and of Prince William to Kate.

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10. Windsor Castle

Take a day trip to Windsor Castle, the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world, just half an hour from London by train. Visit the State Apartments and admire wonderful works of art from the Royal Collection. Don’t miss Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House, the largest dolls’ house in the world.

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