London for Royalists

There’s more to royal watching in London than joining the throngs at the Changing the Guard outside Buckingham Palace. London’s history is intertwined with the monarchy and much of it is on view, back to paintings of 15th-century kings in the National Portrait Gallery, or seeing where monarches from bygone centuries were imprisoned or executed at the Tower of London.

Happily, there are more upbeat and contemporary ways to get into the spirit. The nation celebrated when Prince William married Kathryn at Westminster Abbey in 2011, followed by two royal babies. They now live at Kensington Palace, where you won’t be invited in for tea, but you can see exhibitions of royal fashions. You could also walk in HRH’s footsteps by shopping at Fortnum & Mason (a favourite store) or get up close to the whole family at Madame Tussauds. In summer, you can even explore the State Rooms of Buckingham Palace.

The sad news is that you're unlikely to see any actual member of the Royal Family, but at least you won’t have to curtsey! 

Westminster Abbey

Consecrated in 1065, this abbey is the crowning and burial site of most English monarchs. It also houses Poets’ Corner, the final resting place of Charles Dickens and other famous writers. Mon-Fri 9.30am-3.30pm, Sat 9am-1pm. Wed late opening 4.30pm-6pm, with half-price entry. Adult £23, child £10.

Buckingham Palace

The London residence and principal workplace of the British monarch has 775 rooms. Normally closed to the public, during the summer months it's possible to tour the State Rooms and garden. For more information visit the Royal Collection website. 

Hyde Park

This 350 acre park, one of London's eight Royal Parks, has famous landmarks such as Speaker's Corner and the Princess of Wales Memorial. In summer, the Serpentine lake has rowing boats, horse riding and swimming.

Fortnum & Mason

The most British of companies, est. 1707. The legendary Food Hall is designed to tickle your tastebuds but don’t miss out on other departments inc fashion, gifts, antiques and the excellent restaurants and bars. Dine like royalty with a visit to the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon, serving tea and light meals in elegant surrounds.

The Royal Mews

This beautiful part of Buckingham Palace houses the Queen’s vehicles and horses.

Tower of London

This historic landmark includes the Bloody Tower, Traitors’ Gate and the Jewel House, home of the Crown Jewels. Enjoy free guided tours by ‘Beefeaters’ (Yeoman Warders). Book ahead online to attend the nightly Ceremony of the Keys, which dates back to 1340 (tickets are free).

Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park

This distinguished 5-star hotel exudes elegance and luxury. Step out the door straight into Hyde Park, or if you prefer, enjoy the four bars and restaurants, spa and fitness centre within the hotel walls.

Kensington Palace

This royal residence sits in Kensington Gardens, was Princess Diana’s last home and is currently where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge officially reside with George, Charlotte and Louis.

Madame Tussauds

Celebrated home of life-sized wax figures depicting famous people from the worlds of entertainment, politics, sport and history, from the Queen to Adele.

Royal Albert Hall

London's premier music hall, home to the annual BBC Proms.  28 Oct: Julio Iglesias. The Spanish singer-songwriter has performed for 60 million people in five continents. 7.30pm.

National Portrait Gallery

One of the nation’s most prominent galleries, more than 150 years old, with works depicting famous British people in paintings, drawings and photographs.