Our friends at Visit Britain have put together a great list of attractions to see in Britain if you’re planning a royal themed trip.
1). Westminster Abbey - A royal trip to Britain would not be complete without visiting the historic Westminster Abbey which has served as the venue for coronations since 1066, and the wedding of Prince William and Catherine, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, in April, 2011, was held here. Visitors to Westminster Abbey can see the graves of 17 monarchs, as well as memorials to many notable figures in British history. In addition, the Coronation Chair is part of the Abbey’s museum, along with pieces of art, stained glass, textiles and more. The Abbey is open to the public six days a week and an adult ticket costs £16.00.
2). Buckingham Palace - not only a London landmark but the official London residence of the British monarch. The palace has 19 state rooms that are open for public viewing each summer, from late July to early October, with complimentary audio tours. The Changing of the Guard takes place every other day, and daily in the summer, in front of the palace. This summer (until 3 October) the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding dress, designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, is on display inside the palace.
3). Windsor Castle - Just a quick train ride from London, Windsor Castle is the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world, one of the Queen’s official residences, and where she spends most weekends. Open year-round, an adult ticket costs £16.50 which gives visitors access to the State Apartments, St. George’s Chapel, Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House, and special exhibitions: throughout 2012 there will be an exhibition entitled “The Queen: Sixty Photographs for Sixty Years”.
New this summer (1 August to 30 September) is a tour allowing visitors to climb to the top of the world-famous Round Tower, to the height of 65.5 metres above the River Thames, where they can enjoy breathtaking views of the Castle and Windsor Great Park, the Thames Valley and the London skyline.
4). Isle of Anglesey - Now the place that Prince William and Catherine, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, call home, the Isle of Anglesey is known for its natural beauty. Visitors to the Isle of Anglesey can enjoy a visit to one of its many beaches or stroll along one of the coastal footpaths for a wonderful view of the Welsh coastline. For a tasty lunch, travellers can track down The Flaming Grill, a food truck that Prince William frequented during his training at the Royal Air Force Academy. Prince William was so impressed by that he gave it a royal seal of approval.
5). The Royal Yacht Britannia - a wonderful attraction to visit straight out of a royal fairy tale – this is where the Prince of Wales and Princess Diana honeymooned in 1981. During the 44 years that this ship served its country, The Royal Yacht Britannia carried the Royal Family on 968 official voyages all over the world. Now the ship is permanently docked in Edinburgh, where visitors can tour five of the ship’s decks. An adult ticket costs £11.00 and includes an audio tour.
6). Tower of London - Visitors wishing to see the Crown Jewels can do so at the Tower of London, where the 23,578 gems that make up the Crown Jewels, including the glistening Imperial State Crown, are housed. The Tower is steeped in history, having been used as a royal residence, military fortress and prison. Today, visitors enjoy touring the grounds and seeing The White Tower, Medieval Palace, prisoners’ exhibition and more, as well as keeping an eye out for the ghost of Queen Anne Boleyn, who is buried in the chapel of St Peter ad Vincula.
7). Balmoral Estate - One of the Queen’s favourite summertime retreats is Balmoral Estate in Aberdeenshire set amongst the magnificent scenery of Royal Deeside. Here, visitors might spot the Queen – as travellers can take up residence by renting a lovely cottage on the estate. The grounds, gardens and exhibitions are open to the public from April 1 to July 30.
8.) Enjoy a boat ride on the River Thames. – ahead of the Queen. On the afternoon of Sunday 3 June 2012, up to a thousand boats will muster on the River Thames in preparation for Her Majesty The Queen to lead the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant. It will be one of the largest flotillas ever assembled on the river. Rowed boats and working boats and pleasure vessels of all shapes and sizes will be beautifully dressed with streamers and Union Jacks, their crews and passengers turned out in their finest rigs. The armed forces, fire, police, rescue and other services are all afloat and there are an exuberance of historic boats, wooden launches, steam vessels and other boats of note. However you don’t need to wait till next June – there are boat rides all year on the River Thames, from leisurely cruises, to quicker “commuter” trips and the high speed RIB journeys.
9.) The Palace of Holyroodhouse - The Queen’s official residence in Scotland. Situated at the end of the Royal Mile, in Edinburgh, the palace has many connections with Scotland’s turbulent past, including Mary, Queen of Scots, who lived there in the 16th century. An adult ticket costs £10.50 including audio guide, or for £6.00 you can visit the Queen’s Gallery: in 2012 the exhibition “Royal Treasures: A Diamond Jubilee Celebration” will bring together some of the finest treasures from the Royal Collection, with a selection of 100 outstanding works.
10.) Sandringham Estate - near Kings Lynn in Norfolk is one of the Queen’s most beloved retreats. It has been the private home of four generations of British monarchs since 1862, and the Queen visits the estate every year on the anniversary of her father’s death. Today, visitors are welcome to Sandringham House and can walk through the beautiful gardens during the summer.
11.) Beaumaris Castle on the Isle of Anglesey is the last and largest of King Edward I’s Welsh fortifications, is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Although construction was never completed, it is regarded as Wales’ finest castle.
12.) Kensington Palace - A royal residence in central London, Kensington Palace is the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. It was also the official residence of the Duke’s mother, Princess Diana. The palace is currently undergoing a major transformation, to help visitors to better understand both the tales of the people that lived in the palace and its architectural and decorative schemes visitors can see the palace’s magnificent state apartments. The first of four planned exhibitions, on Queen Victoria, is due to open in time for the Diamond Jubilee in 2012. Meanwhile, visitors can experience the “Enchanted Palace” a series of installations offering a fascinating interpretation of the palace’s hidden stories.
Guests can also drink tea at The Orangery Restaurant next door to the palace, which has some of the finest selections of tea in London.