Top Royal Residences
Partly built in the 1600s, King George IV transformed the house on this site into Buckingham Palace in the 1820s. Its 775 rooms have been the British monarchy’s official London residence since 1837 – Prince Charles and Prince Andrew were born here. It is now also the family’s administrative headquarters, and more than 50,000 people attend events here each year. Its state rooms were designed to receive guests; don’t miss the throne room, used for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s engagement shoot.
As the official London residence of the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, Clarence House is where the couple meet guests at seminars, lunches, receptions and dinners. Guided tours (1-31 Aug) begin in the garden then move around five rooms on the ground floor, including the library, dining room and garden room, which is decorated with porcelain, silver and 20th-century paintings.
Windsor Castle has been the family home of the British monarchy for 1,000 years, making it the world’s oldest and largest inhabited castle. While it is one of the Queen’s official residences – she spends private weekends here – it is also used for ceremonial and state occasions. Visits take three hours. Highlights include the semi-state rooms, Changing the Guard (11am Mon, Wed, Fri & Sat) and St George’s Chapel, King Henry VIII’s resting place.