London's Top Royal Tourist Attractions

London has been the centre of royal activity for a thousand years and is the perfect destination for enthusiasts of modern and historic royals alike. Around every corner one is likely to find historic ties to the kings and queens of London's past. Whether you are a fan of the modern pageantry or a devotee of the monarchy's rich history, a trip to these London attractions will satisfy your royal interests.

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace in London, England Buckingham Palace in London, England

As the official workplace and residence of the British monarchy, Buckingham Palace is the most well known royal attraction. From the front entrance of the palace, sightseers can view royal visitors come and go from the palace.

The Changing of the Guard is on the schedule of virtually every international tourist. Visitors gather every morning to watch the elaborate process as the Queen's foot guards, in their full-dress red tunics and bear fur hats, exchange duties. The Guard's band accompanies the event with a mix of popular and regimental music. The Changing of the Guard occurs daily at 11:30 from March to October and on alternate days during the colder months.

Buckingham Palace is a massive building with seven hundred and seventy-five rooms arranged in a quadrangle. The building's façade features the large balcony from which the royal family addresses crowds during special occasions. The palace state rooms are open to the public for two months each summer.

The Queen's Chapel was destroyed by a bombing in World War II. In 1962 it was rebuilt as the Queen's Gallery and the public is welcome to visit displays of royally owned artwork.

The Royal Mews are also on the grounds and adjacent to the palace. The royal coaches, carriages and cars are housed in the mews, as well as the royal stables. The vehicles are used to transport the royal family to state events. The many black, gold and red carriages used in royal weddings are on display and visitors are welcomed with a guided tour.

Westminster Abbey

A short walk from Buckingham Palace is the magnificent Westminster Abbey. This remarkable gothic church was built by Edward the Confessor as a burial site for royalty. The church is massive and visitors from newer cities will especially appreciate the history of this church. The massive oak thresholds and stonework show the wear of a thousand years of foot traffic.

Within the church are magnificent effigies of the royalty that are buried there. The stone effigies represent the true appearance of the kings and queens. Visitors are allowed close enough to touch the faces on the stonework. Many poets and scientists are also buried beneath the church. Their burial sites are marked with engraved stones.

Fans of the royal family will also recognize the abbey as the traditional coronation site for new monarchs and the sight of many royal weddings. Prince William and Catherine Middleton were married at the abbey in April 2011.

Tower of London

The nine hundred year old Tower of London was originally built to protect royalty but has become well known for its history as a sight of imprisonment and nearby executions. With a rich and exciting history, the tower is the most visited royal attraction in London.

Visitors are greeted by beefeater guards in decorative uniforms. These guards have honed their story telling skills and celebrate Britain's rich oral story telling history by enthralling small groups with tales of the royalty who were imprisoned within the tower walls.

The Crown Jewels are also guarded at the tower of London. Crowns, sceptres and magnificent displays of jewels are on display for the public.

Costumes and armour are also displayed at the tower. The Tudor armour features many armour sets built for Henry VIII and show his almost comical development from a slim and tall strapping young man to his more famous proportions.

Kensington Palace

Home to royalty since it was purchased by William III and Mary II in 1689, the palace was a home to Queen Victoria and sits near many of the monuments and museums that were built under the patronage of Victoria and Albert. Recently, it has become known for its ties to Diana and features an exhibition of Diana's dresses from her time as a princess.

Hampton Court Palace

Steeped in Tudor history, all of Henry VIII's six wives lived within this palace at some point in their lives. The building currently operates as a functioning Tudor palace, manned by costumed performers. Visitors can watch servants prepare royal meals and attend to the needs of a royal household. The games, gardens and hedge mazes that entertained nobility are accessible for public amusement. Visitors may even see the king wandering along beside them.

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