Everyone thinks of Buckingham Palace as the London’s premiere royal residence – but it is not the only one.
Over the centuries, there have been several Royal palaces scattered throughout London. Some still exist and several are still used by members of the Royal Family today. Explore these royal attractions while staying at Central London Serviced Apartments.
Traditionally, kings and queens stayed at the Tower of London before their coronation. It was also one of their regular homes when in London. They would stay here until it was too dirty and all supplies had been used up, before moving on to another palace leaving The Tower rooms to be cleaned and resupplied. Yet this was not just a royal palace – it was also a royal prison. Among the most famous prisoners were two of Henry VIII’s wives – Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard. Both were also executed here on Tower Green and are buried in the adjacent church.
Take a trip down river to Hampton Court Palace, which was acquired by Henry VIII from one of his ministers, Cardinal Wolsey. This dramatic building never fails to impress, especially by its sheer size. The Tudor kitchens are incredibly vast, as are his magnificent state apartments. Walk carefully in the Great Gallery, for this is reported to be haunted by Catherine Howard. She fled screaming down this corridor on hearing that she was to be taken to the Tower and executed. Her screams are said to continue to this day.
Kensington Palace was created by William III and Mary II in 1689 and remained a popular royal residence for many years. It was here that Queen Victoria was born, and where she heard that she had become Queen. More recently, it was the home of Diana, Princess of Wales and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have apartments here. Parts of this stylish royal residence are open to the public. Visitors can explore the State Apartments and the spectacular sunken garden, as well as seeing an exhibition about Queen Victoria. Visit the beautiful Kensington Palace & Gardens while staying at London Aparthotels.
St James Palace comprises a group of buildings at the bottom of The Mall and many members of the royal family have offices here. These buildings are not open to the public.
It is at the top of the Mall that the most famous Royal Residence of all can be found. Buckingham Palace has been the official London home of the British monarchy since 1837. It is from here that the Queen rides in state to open Parliament, to take part in the Trooping of the Colour and many other state occasions. The Royal Gallery containing many exquisite works of art is open to visitors all year, as is the Royal Mews where the Queen’s carriages can be seen. Guided tours of the State Rooms can be enjoyed between 23 July and 2nd October – booking is absolutely essential as these tours are very popular.