The Royal Palaces of London


London is home to Buckingham Palace which is the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II. However, there is more than one royal palace in the city. The four cornerstones of the royal palaces of London are: Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, the Banqueting House and Tower of London.

Buckingham Palace

Arguably the most recognisable palace in the world, Buckingham Palace is also one of the very few working palaces in the world. The palace is simply iconic and it is part of the reason as to why millions of people come to visit London each year.  Situated near Green Park, the best time to visit Buckingham Palace is in the summer as visitors are invited to see the interiors of the palace. The different state rooms include stunning collections of paintings that can be on par with the vast collections of paintings in The National Portrait Gallery in Trafalgar Square. In total there are 19 state rooms and the rooms also double up as places to use for official visits and audiences for the Queen. Another fascinating part of Buckingham Palace is what occurs outside it. This is the pomp and grandeur of The Changing of The Guard.  During the summer, The Changing of the Guard occurs every day but this becomes alternate days at the other times of the year. It lasts between 30-45 minutes and it is a must see attraction like the palace itself.

Kensington Palace

Image Courtesy : Peter symonds
Image Courtesy : Peter symonds

Kensington Palace in the royal borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and it is also a working palace.  Kensington Palace has a rich history spanning from the 17th century. Currently, it is the official residence of William and Kate the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. A tour of the palace shows such as attractions like the King’s and Queen’s State Apartments. The grand rooms give an insight into how royalty really lived. Although there are different events throughout the year, like Buckingham Palace, summer is really the best time to visit the palace. Currently there is a fashion exhibition called Fashion Rules which gives insight into the dresses worn by the royal women and in August, there is a chance to watch films in a pop up cinema in the gardens of the palace. Parks are synonymous with summer and a stone’s throw away from the palace is the stunning Kensington Gardens which features the Serpentine Galleries and such monuments like the Albert Memorial.

Banqueting House

Banqueting House has a notable rich history and as a piece of architecture, it was the first building in the whole of the UK to be designed in a Palladian style- this is a European style that is inspired the architect Andrea Palladio. It is also the only surviving part of the old Palace of Whitehall. However, it also has a grim and bloody history as this is where Charles I was executed in 1649 for crimes of treason.  Visitors will able to see such features of Banqueting House including Reuben’s Ceiling which  have stunning canvasses, with the central one measuring  58 square metres.

Tower of London

The Tower of London started life as a place of oppression. In 1066 it was William the Conqueror who had it built against what was perceived as the unruly population of London. The fascinating timeline of the Tower of London includes an attempted theft of the crown jewels in 1671 and the holding of the notorious twin gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray in 1952. In the present day, the Tower is part of the World Heritage Site and has had significant restoration in recent years.  The Tower of London is one of the most popular attractions in London and a popular exhibition in the Tower itself is without a doubt is the display of the Crown Jewels.  Symbolic of the British Monarchy, the crown is a real treasure and holds fascination to the millions of people who visit the Tower of London each year.

To explore all the royal palaces with relative ease, tourists to London should stay in a hotel that is a centrally located location, such as the Park Grand Paddington Court Hotel. The hotel is in close proximity to the Paddington stations and staying within the subject of royalty, the hotel is close to one of the eight royal parks in London- Hyde Park.