The British royal family is an indispensable part of the history and culture of Great Britain, so its life is of genuine interest not only to citizens of the country, but also to many people around the world. In this article SMAPSE experts will tell you about places where members of the royal family spend time, relax or work. All of them are also open to tourists.
This is one of the key London attractions, which in combination is the workplace of Queen Elizabeth and the official residence for the entire royal family. During the Queen’s vacation - from August to September - the palace opens to visitors. There is something to see: for visiting tourists, of course, not the whole palace is available, but 19 rooms, including white, blue, green rooms, the throne and ballrooms, a reception hall and an art gallery.
Exactly in Buckingham Palace the famous ceremony of changing the guards takes place - from May to July. The changing of the guard takes place daily, and the rest of the time - every other day.
The palace appeared in 1703, initially as a home for the family of statesman John Sheffield, who bore the title of Duke of Buckingham. Since 1762, the owner of the estate and the adjacent territory was George III, who decided to increase the scale of the existing building. As a result, the construction of the palace, which we can see today, took 75 years - the building has a square shape with a courtyard inside. The palace has been considered the official residence of the royal family since 1827, when Queen Victoria entered the throne. During her reign, the main entrance was changed and the famous Marble Arch was erected, which today remains the main decoration at the entrance to Hyde Park.
Almost everyone heard about this English attraction, because at different times the palace became the home for members of the royal family - in recent years, Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge Catherine have been living here with their children.
The history of this place begins in 1605: the palace was originally built to become the residence of the Duke of Nottingham, so it looked like an ordinary country house. In 1689, William III bought the mansion from the Duke, making it a real home for the crowned persons. When Queen Anna moved into the palace, she began to improve the territory of the palace, and Kensington Gardens appeared here. Today, the palace is conditionally divided into 2 parts: closed, where the prince and his family live, and open - here you can get on a tour:
Queen's State Chambers
In these apartments Queen Victoria was born: visitors will see a private bedroom with:
King's State Chambers
The King’s chambers are larger than the Queen’s rooms: there is a bedroom, a reception hall, a monarch’s gallery, a secret chamber. The chambers have a peculiarity - there is almost no furniture, since it was forbidden to sit in the presence of the king.
The famous staircase leading to the royal rooms. The walls around the perimeter are decorated with paintings by William Kent.
The gallery, which is the longest room in Kensington Palace, contains the best paintings from the collection of monarchs. The local interior has retained its original appearance since its opening in 1727.
Kensington Palace Gardens
Gardens in the courtyard area are distinguished by beauty and well-groomedness:
This is one of the oldest and largest castles in England, where people still live. The castle is the Queen's favorite residence, so she often appears here. Tourists will be able to see several unique places:
- State Chambers
- Chapel of St. George, where 10 monarchs rest
- Art Gallery
- Round Tower
- Waterloo Hall
- The world famous doll house of Queen Mary.
About 500 people work to maintain the castle in good condition and conduct excursions, some of which live on a permanent basis. Each year, the flow of visitors is about a million people.
This object of historical significance has a history of more than a thousand years: it was here that the coronation of every British monarch was held since 1066. Other important events of the royal family take place in the abbey: for example, weddings - one of the last was the marriage of the ducal couple of Cambridge.
Today, the Abbey is more likely to attract tourists than it does as a Catholic church, so London guests will have something to admire: a central part (or nave) 31 meters high with columns and arches, a stained glass window on the western wall, an organ, the chapel of Edward the Confessor, Chapel Lady and more. Each of these objects has historical and cultural value, since many significant events took place in the Abbey.
Castle and Estate Balmoral Castle
One of the most famous castles of Scotland, as it is the summer residence of the royal family of England. The name Balmoral Castle received in honor of the fortress, which used to be nearby. Today the castle does not even belong to the British crown, but to Queen Elizabeth II personally - here the head of state usually spends summer vacations with the family.
But from April 1 to July 31, the Balmoral estate is open to visitors - they can walk throughout the estate and gardens. Also available for visits is a dance hall where various exhibitions are held:
- Scottish national clothes.
Here you can even see the collection of royal robes!
Near the castle there is also a parish church called Kati, where every Sunday in the morning the whole royal family comes, if they are in Balmoral.
Sandringham Palace, located in Norfolk County, is one of favorite places of Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen and her family spend here all the main family holidays - Christmas, birthdays and others. The castle, which has been the property of the Windsor dynasty for 4 generations, today has the unspoken title of "the most comfortable castle in England".
Between April and November, the Sandringham Palace is open to the public: the castle itself, gardens and the local museum will surely interest those who are enthusiastic about the English royal family.
Holyrood Palace is the official residence of the Queen of England in Scotland. The palace is located in the heart of Edinburgh on the Royal Mile, a short walk from Edinburgh Castle.
The cultural site is open to visitors from April to October and from November to March. Sights begin from the very entrance: the main staircase of the 17th century, made in the Baroque style, with molding in the form of angels on the ceiling leads to the palace. On the walls of the palace, guests will see 16th-century Italian painting - the paintings depict the plot of Ovid's Metamorphosis. Also in the palace you can visit the Royal Dining Room and the Throne Hall, where the coronation of George IV took place.
Another point of a required to visit is the chambers of Martha Stewart, who had a wedding at Holyrood Palace. It contains antiques, valuable paintings and tapestries. The castle also houses an art gallery that contains portraits of Scottish monarchs (over 110!). And other art exhibits representing a private collection of the royal family.
The palace in Richmond was King Henry VIII's favorite residence. Once here, you are literally transported into the past and can immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the XVI-XVIII centuries:
- Famous Hampton Court Maze 60 acres
- The lower courtyard, which has retained its original appearance to this day
- Clock yard - there are large Astronomical clocks showing the time, date of the lunar phase and even the time of river tides
- French style park. Its territory is divided into 3 zones:
- the northern part for recreational activities;
- the eastern part for hunting;
- the southern part for walks in silence.
As part of the tour, SMAPSE experts recommend tourists visit the unique interiors of the palace:
- Large Renaissance-style large hall with original ceilings
- Royal cuisine, which consists of 2 sectors: in the first, the interior is completely preserved up to models of products, in the second, professional chefs prepare real dishes of those times and talk about the culinary traditions adopted by the royal family
- Numerous corridors and galleries connecting the premises of the palace with each other
- Royal apartments with a collection of antiques and art objects - porcelain dishes, paintings by famous artists and not only
- Armory room with antique blades.
Edinburgh Castle is one of the most visited attractions not only in Scotland, but also around the world. The historical significance of this place is so great that they say about it: "The king who took possession of Edinburgh Castle receives the keys to all of Scotland". The location of the castle can also be called special: it is the top of an extinct volcano at the end of the Royal Mile.
Travelers who have overcome the difficult path here will be rewarded with an introduction to the unique cultural objects of the National Military Museum: the crown of Scotland, the Sunstone, the famous cannon of the 15th century and not only.
Tower of London
One of the fortresses known around the world and included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. During its existence, the Tower survived several aspects:
- the royal palace;
- the armory;
- the zoo.
Today, royal regalia of the monarchs is stored here, a 500-year-old collection of weapons and armor from the Royal Arsenal is located, and in the castle there is a place where Henry XVIII judged his wives.
You can see any of the listed objects both during independent travel, and taking part in one of the study programs in England for foreign students. In Britain, there are frequent schools offering high-level education, language camps for students, vacation programs for students and family education. Educational courses provide an opportunity to learn English and get acquainted with the history of the United Kingdom - including through visits to places that are directly related to the royal family.