Clarence House – The House Of Cornwall
Britain’s royal homes are surprisingly accessible: in May, people around the world got a good look beyond the walls of Windsor Castle at Harry and Meghan’s wedding; Buckingham Palace currently has its State Rooms on show for public tours; and you can visit Kensington Palace, home to William, Kate, Harry and Meghan every day of the week. In fact, the royal residence with the most impenetrable gates is actually Clarence House – but that’s all changing this month.
Prince Charles (the Prince of Wales) and the Duchess of Cornwall reside beyond the cream walls of this 1827 John Nash creation, which is next to Green Park but within the boundaries of St James’s Palace. From Monday to Friday during August only, you can take a 45-minute tour of five rooms on the lavish ground floor.
The house was built for George III’s son, the Duke of Clarence, and its last resident was Charles’ grandmother the Queen Mother, who lived here for almost 50 years. Clarence House was even home to the Queen herself in the early years of her marriage.
Costing £10.30 for adults and £6.20 for children between five and 17, the tour begins in the garden, before you’re taken inside to see the areas which are used by the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall for hosting official engagements. The rooms on show include the Lancaster Room, used as a waiting room by guests and home to two eye-catching porcelain vases, which date from 18th-century China. Meanwhile, in the Morning Room, treasures to look out for include a golden-edged 1773 Chippendale sofa and a pair of flamboyant mantel clocks. The cosy Garden Room was occupied by Princess Margaret before she married. If you feel that 45 minutes may not be long enough, then enter from Wednesdays to Fridays, between 4.30pm and 6pm. This longer tour includes the Cornwall Room, which is filled with paintings by Prince Charles. The after-hours visit includes a guidebook and a glass of Champagne, so you’ll be feeling regal in no time.