- WHERE TO STAY
- ATTRACTIONS + TICKETS
- PUBLIC TRANSPORT
- CRUISE PORTS
Royalty and the history associated with it is obviously one of the big draws for visitors to London.
There are many facets that a visitor could explore, but on this page we provide a practical introduction to the main blockbuster attractions.
As well as the obvious Buckingham Palace, this page looks at Kensington Palace and Tower of London in central London, plus Windsor Castle and Hampton Court which are located on the outskirts of London but both can easily be visited by everyone using London's public transport.
For the first time visitor to London, one of the 'must see' events is the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace at 11am.
Buckingham Palace has served as the official London residence of Britain's sovereigns since 1837. Buckingham Palace is very much a working Palace so for the vast majority of visitors, Changing of the Guard is the only facet of Buckingham Palace they will see.
In August and September, when the palace is not being used in its official capacity, visitors can enjoy the State Rooms, which form the heart of the working palace - nineteen rooms, lavishly furnished with the finest treasures from the Royal Collection, including paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, Poussin and Canaletto and some of the finest English and French furniture.
The Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace is a permanent space dedicated to changing exhibitions of items from the Royal Collection, the wide-ranging collection of art and treasures held in trust by The Queen for the Nation. The Queen's Gallery is open to the public throughout the year.
Visitors end their tour with a walk along the south side of the Palace garden, which splendid views of the west front of the Palace and the famous lake.
The Royal Mews is the mews (or stables) of the British Royal Family, located in the grounds of Buckingham Palace. These also are open to the public throughout the year.
Book tickets for Buckingham Palace - only available July to September
• London residence of Her Majesty The Queen • The State Rooms • The Royal Collection • Paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens and Canaletto • 42-acre garden • Audio tour included
The Tower of London sits by the River Thames adjacent to Tower Bridge. It is probably one of the few times most visitors will be inside the original city walls of London, now the city's financial district.
At the seaward end of the city walls, the Tower guarded London from invaders coming along the river. Its one of the best preserved and historical castles in England. For the Norman's who brought Castles to England after they conquered England in 1066, this was 'base 1' castle in string of castles spread throughout England.
Being one of the safest places in London it has acted as jail, refuse and fortress. With England's colourful and sometimes gruesome history a lot of history is associated with the Tower.
Today its one of the most popular attractions in London for people of all ages and for many first time visitors comes under the “must see” category.
Book online to save 10% on Tower of London tickets
• Access the Tower and Crown Jewels display • Yeoman Warder "Beefeater" guided tour and talk • Ideal for families
Just a mile from Buckingham Palace and also in a Royal Park (Kensington Gardens) is Kensington Palace. Kensington Palace was the favourite residence of successive sovereigns until 1760 when Buckingham Palace found favour. Its popularity has greatly increased in recent years because of Princess Diana who lived here.
Following a major renovation project, the palace now unveils many secret stories of past royal figures, painting Kensington Palace as the setting for many noteworthy events and dramas in royal history. Make your way through the spectacular King’s and Queen’s State Apartments, adorned with paintings from the Royal Collection, and stroll through the Kensington Palace Gardens at your leisure.
Visit the former home of Queen Victoria and Princess Diana
• Admission to Kensington Palace and Gardens • King's and Queen's State Apartments • Paintings from the Royal Collection • ‘Victoria Revealed’ permanent exhibition
West of London, very close to London's main airport, Heathrow, is Windsor Castle. Windsor Castle is the first Norman Castle down the River Thames from the Tower of London.
Despite its Castle like features its very much evolved into a palace inside. Windsor Castle is where the Queen would call home. It is also more recently famous as the host of Harry and Meghan's royal wedding in St George's Chapel. It is very easy to get to from Central London with a choice of rail and bus links.
You can easily take up a day in Windsor, some people take more, there is so much to see and do. Windsor Great Park, a remnant of the old royal hunting grounds stretches for miles in front of the Castle.
You can visit Windsor Castle daily, most people taking a couple of hours to view the castle.
Discover 900 years of British Heritage at Windsor Castle
• Luxurious State Apartments • St. George's Chapel, burial place of Henry VIII • Queen Mary's ornate Dolls' House • Changing of the Guard ceremony in summer
Like Windsor Castle, Hampton Court sits besides the River Thames west of the capital.
Famous for its connections with Henry VIII, Hampton Court is a true palace built to impress with extensive grounds.
Again, there is much to see and do at Hampton Court and you could easily spend a day here.
There are direct frequent trains from Central London or you can even go by boat from Westminster, (though the trip takes several hours).
Book in advance to save money on tickets
• Visit the palace, maze & gardens • UK's oldest surviving hedge maze • Great Hall • Haunted Gallery • Tudor Kitchens • World-renowned beautiful gardens
Book in advance and jump the queue at the Tower of London, Hampton Court and Kensington Palace. This pass is valid for 2 years from the date of exchanging your voucher at the Tower of London and is valid for one entry per palace.
Save money when you visit three of Britain's historical palaces
• Visit The Tower of London, Kensington Palace and Hampton Court Palace • Valid for 2 years from date of issue • One visit per valid palace
|London Eye||Amazing panoramic flight on the world's highest observation wheel. » Fast track tickets available.|
|The Shard||Tallest building in Western Europe with viewing of London from the top.|
|St Paul's Cathedral||Cathedral of the Diocese of London famous dome & venue for royal weddings.|
|Westminster Abbey||Along with St Paul's, England's main religious building.|
|Tower of London||Home of the Crown Jewels and a rich thousand year history.|
|Madame Tussauds||See wax statues of the most famous people in the world. » Fast track tickets available.|
|London Dungeon||The creepiest attraction in town, the London Dungeon. » Fast track tickets available.|
|Hampton Court Palace||Henry VIII Medieval Palace set in vast grounds.|
|The London Zoo||World class zoo in the centre of London. » Fast track tickets available.|