The major royal palaces & castles in and around London

A practical introduction for the visitor to London

Buckingham Palace, London
Buckingham Palace

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.

Buckingham Palace   Tower of London   Kensington Palace   Windsor Castle   Hampton Court Palace   Kew Palace & Gardens   UK Royal attractions   Palaces included with London Pass

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace, London

The official residence of His Majesty The King

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.

During the last week in July, all of 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.

Since 2021, visitors can now also enjoy time in the beautiful Palace Gardens, home to 30 different species of bird and over 350 different wild flowers. You will finish your wonderful day at Buckingham Palace with splendid views of the west front of the Palace and the famous lake.

The Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace

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 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for the Nation. The Queen's Gallery is open to the public for most of the year, with closures during selected months (see ticket options below).

The Royal Mews

The Royal Mews is the mews (or stables) of the British Royal Family, located in the grounds of Buckingham Palace. Open to the public March - October (see ticket options below).

Book tickets for the Royal Mews (Mar - Oct)

Book tickets for the Queen's Gallery (most of the year)

Find out more about Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace tickets, London


Buckingham Palace, London

Book tickets for Buckingham Palace - only available late July to September

With option to add on Royal Mews

• The State Rooms • The Royal Collection • Paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens and Canaletto • Audio tour included • Famous 42-acre Buckingham Palace Gardens

Tower of London

Tower of London

A UNESCO World Heritage Site

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.

Find out more about Tower of London

Tower of London tickets


Tower of London

Book online to guarantee entry - Tower of London tickets

• Access the Tower and Crown Jewels display • Yeoman Warder "Beefeater" guided tour and talk • Ideal for families • Vouchers can be scanned at attraction - no need for printing

Kensington Palace - including entrance to Princess Diana Exhibition

Kensington Palace, London

The birthplace of Queen Victoria

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.

Designing for a Princess – Princess Diana Exhibition

Enjoy the new fashion display showcasing the style of Princess Diana including the evening dress she wore to the 1988 state dinner in Bangkok. With such a vast expanse of beautiful outfits to display, the dresses will be rotated with other iconic outfits worn by the Princess. You’ll also get to see one of Diana’s favourite designers, David Sassoon’s exquisite selection of fashion sketches

Find out more about Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace tickets


Kensington Palace, London

Visit the former home of Queen Victoria and Princess Diana, official London home of HRH William and HRH Kate

• Admission to Kensington Palace and Gardens • King's and Queen's State Apartments • Paintings from the Royal Collection • Sunken garden • The King’s Drawing Room, the Cupola Room and Queen Caroline’s Closet • Changing exhibitions

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle

"The oldest and largest occupied castle in the world."

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 it has very much evolved into a palace inside. Windsor Castle was the favourite residence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. 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.

Find out more about Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle tickets


Windsor Castle

Book with confidence through Visit Britain - The Official Shop of the British Tourist Board

• 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

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace

Discover the home of Henry VIII

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).

Find out more about Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace tickets


Hampton Court Palace

Book in advance to save money on tickets

• Visit the palace & gardens • UK's oldest surviving hedge maze • Great Hall • Haunted Gallery • Tudor Kitchens • World-renowned beautiful gardens • Concessions & family saver tickets available

Kew Palace & Gardens

kew palace

"A Hidden Royal Home in Kew Gardens."

Open from March - September, Kew Palace, once the home of George III and Queen Charlotte, requires a valid ticket for Kew Gardens to enter. See the Great Pagoda (which can be climbed with a separate ticket), Queen Charlotte's Cottage and the Palace itself with Royal Kitchens.

In Queen Charlotte's Cottage you'll see Queen Charlotte's bedroom and dressing room where the Queen spent her final months - now including the wig from Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story.

The Royal Kitchens remain preserved as they were in the Georgian period 200 years ago, when they were last used. They are one of the few buildings surviving from the complex that served the now-demolished White House. The kitchen was left untouched for nearly 200 years. 

The Great Pagoda has been through a major renovation recently and now you can climb the 253 steps to the top of the Great Pagoda and marvel at spectacular views across London (with a separate ticket). As you climb, learn why the Pagoda was built and how the royal family used this unique building in the 18th century.

Find out more about Kew Gardens & Palace

kew gardens


kew gardens

Kew Gardens London entry tickets

• Entry tickets to Kew Gardens: adult, child, student, young person, concession

kensington palace


kew gardens and kensington palace

Kew Gardens + Kensington Palace entry tickets

• Entry tickets to Kew Gardens • Entry tickets to Kensington Palace Entry tickets • Save on booking together

UK Royal attractions

hillsborough castle & gardens

Hillsborough Castle and Gardens - Northern Ireland

Hear stories of celebration, entertainment, diplomacy, and negotiation as you explore Hillsborough Castle's fascinating history and stunning State Rooms. From grand family home to charming royal residence, Hillsborough Castle has welcomed the world and witnessed pivotal moments in history for over three hundred years.

Home to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland since the 1970s, Hillsborough Castle has played a central role in the peace-building process for 40 years.
Hillsborough Castle's glorious gardens, developed from the 1760s onwards, are a joy to explore and include ornamental grounds, peaceful woodland, meandering waterways and picturesque glens. Keep an eye out for specimen trees and rare plants as you explore the grounds.

BOOK Hillsborough Castle & Gardens

Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace and Windsor Castle - all included with London Pass

The London Pass can save you £££'s on walk-up entry prices for over 80 of London's top attractions.

Included in the pass are the Tower of London, Kensington Palace, Windsor Castle, Kew Palace & Gardens, The King's Gallery, and Hampton Court Palace.

In addition other top attractions such as Tower Bridge, London Eye, London Bridge Experience, Madame Tussauds, Big Bus, Chessington World of Adventures, London Zoo, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's and View from the Shard are included.

The London Pass


The Londpon Pass

The more you visit, the more you save

• Access 90+ London attractions including Tower of London, London Eye, Madame Tussauds, London Zoo, Chessington World of Adventures, London Bridge Experience, Thames River Cruise, Tower Bridge, St. Paul's, Westminster Abbey, The View from Shard, Windsor Castle, Big Bus, and many more...
• 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 10 day passes available.


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. » Fast track tickets available.
St Paul's Cathedral Cathedral of the Diocese of London, venue for royal weddings. » Pre-book to guarantee entry.
Westminster Abbey Along with St Paul's, England's main religious building.» Pre-book to guarantee entry.
Tower of London Home of the Crown Jewels and a rich thousand year history. » Fast track tickets available.
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. » Pre-book to save money.
The London Zoo World class zoo in the centre of London. » Flexi tickets available.

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