Regally brilliant: making the most of ‘Royal London’

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Buckingham palace

Fair enough; this year’s Royal Wedding (between the happy newlyweds that are Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, now the Duke and Duchess of Sussex), might have taken place several months ago now, but there’s no reason to feel the pomp and circumstance and regal awe has escaped from London like air out of a balloon. It’s still all there, waiting to be visited, experienced and savoured by all and sundry. So, if you’re thinking of making the base for your UK capital stay one of the boutique hotels in London like, say, the San Domenico House hotel London United Kingdom and checking out nearby House of Windsor-related sites, here’s what you simply must check-out…

Buckingham Palace

If there’s one Royal thing that you must do in London, it’s a trip to the Buckingham Palace. It’s not just the Queen’s official London residence since 1837, but also where ceremonials and official occasions are usually held at. During summer, you’ll get to tour the State Rooms when the Queen travels to Balmoral (Scotland). Keep a lookout for the many works of art from the Royal Collection on display at the 19 rooms, especially the Grand Ballroom and the White Drawing Room where there’s a secret door through which the Queen accesses her private apartments.

A combined ticket will also allow you to visit the Royal Mews and The Queen’s Gallery. Open all year round, The Queen’s Gallery houses about 450 works at any one time. You’ll find changing exhibitions from the Royal Collection featuring ornate jewellery, rare furniture and old master paintings, for instance.

Changing of Guard

While you’re here, be sure to witness the 45-minute guard ceremony outside the Palace at 11.30am daily during summer and on alternate days in winter. Open to the public for free, it is definitely one of the most elaborate troop changes you’ll ever see. Every day, the new Guard comes from Wellington Barracks, on the side of St James’s Park, taking over from the Queen’s Guard on duty at Buckingham Palace and St James’s Palace.

You can also catch the Changing of the Guard at Horse Guards Parade for the Mounted Cavalry at 11am, from Monday to Saturday, and 10am on Sundays. This guard exchange is slightly shorter, taking only 30 minutes for the full ceremony. There’s also the Dismounting Ceremony when the Household Cavalry brings the horses back in at 4pm.

Westminster Abbey

This site was where Prince William and Kate Middleton got married in 2011, and also where Princess Diana’s funeral took place in 1997. A Coronation Church with over 1,000 years of history, its home to various memorials of historical figures such as Winston Churchill and William Shakespeare. You’ll also find the tombs of Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin resting within the church. This is sure to be a treat for all history buffs!

Tower of London 

With a colourful history spanning nearly 1,000 years, the tower once served as a fortress and prison, as well as a place of residence for royals. While you’re there, be sure to visit The White Tower, the oldest section that houses the Royal Armouries, and lookout for the famous ravens that never leave (legend has it that the tower falls when they do).

For guided tours that are both informative and entertaining, be sure to have one with the Beefeaters, who are also known as Yeoman Warders, protectors of the Queen. These ceremonial guards are in charge of safeguarding the precious British crown jewels, but they also started conducting tours since the Victorian era.

Kensington Palace

Want to try your luck at scoring a Royal sighting of the cute Prince George of Cambridge or his sister Princess Charlotte? The home of Prince William’s family, Kensington Palace is a year-round visitor attraction. Wander around the many parks here such as the Palace Garden or the glorious Hyde Park, and pack a picnic for a truly British experience. If you’re looking for a dine-in option, The Orangery Restaurant is also a great option as a pit stop for lunch and afternoon teas.

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