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Savvy Travel & Family Time

A Royal Sightseer’s Guide To Britain

The Queen of England might technically only rule over the British Isles and the Commonwealth, but she’s known all over the world. With apologies to Beyonce Knowles and Taylor Swift, she’s probably the world’s most famous woman, and she’s also the longest-reigning monarch in the world. She’s been on the throne for 65 years, and she’s seen the world change beyond all recognition during that time. One thing that hasn’t changed in all that time, though, is the great fascination with her and her entire family that exists across the planet. 

There’s evidence of the enduring fascination with the British Royal Family everywhere you look in the world of entertainment. Many of us are glued to “The Crown” on Netflix, and we’ve all seen Helen Mirren’s performance as Queen Elizabeth in “The Queen” on the big screen. A few of us might even have gone as far as dabbling in the strange genre of royal-themed new casino, such as “Royal Banquet” and “Unlikely Royals” that grace the pages of some of the bigger online slots websites. One of the chief reasons that Britain has never done away with its monarchy is the enormous amount of money that it brings in for the country, and it seems the royal brand can be relied on just as heavily for those who make their money by making and marketing online slots. Where there’s interest, there’s money to be made. 

No trip to the United Kingdom is complete without checking out a few of the country’s leading royal landmarks, and here are the ones you shouldn’t miss out on if you’re taking a trip to the old country yourself. 

Buckingham Palace

Let’s start with the most obvious sight to see. Buckingham Palace is the Queen’s official residence, and has been the home of every British monarch since 1703. It’s not only the world’s most famous palace but also the world’s most valuable one – if the Queen were ever to decide to sell her home and downsize, she’d likely get a price somewhere in the region of five billion dollars for it. Anyone is welcome to stand outside the Palace gates and take pictures, and there are also regular shows in the grounds, but if you want to get an even closer look at the Queen’s house, you should turn up between July and September each year. That’s when the Palace is open to the public, and you can enjoy a guided tour of the gardens and State Rooms. If you time your visit for July, you also get the added bonus of the ‘Changing of the Guard’ ceremony outside, which is British royal pomp and pageantry at its best.

Windsor Castle

It might surprise you to know that while Buckingham Palace is the Queen’s ‘official’ residence, it isn’t the place she loves the best. That honor goes to Windsor Castle, which you’ll have to travel outside of London to find in Berkshire. The castle has been standing since the 11th century, meaning that it’s now approaching one thousand years old! Not every brick and stone of it is quite that old, though – it’s been redeveloped several times, with the most recent reconstruction effort coming after a huge fire in 1992. The State Apartments inside the castle are available to see on a guided tour, and if you’re fond of all things macabre, you’ll find the final resting places of no fewer than ten former Kings and Queens of England in the grounds outside.

Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace official residence of Princess Diana in London

Buckingham Palace might be the most famous royal palace in London, but it isn’t the only one. There’s also Kensington Palace to see, and having been built in 1605, there’s an extra century of history to learn about when you visit. This was a favorite place of Queen Victoria’s, but more recently, it’s been home to Princess Diana, and then to her son Prince William and his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge. There’s a permanent exhibition at Kensington Palace devoted to the life and works of Queen Victoria told in her own words, and games to play in the King’s Apartments. The most spectacular sight here is the Queen’s State Apartments, which have barely been altered since the days of Victoria herself. 

Hampton Court Palace

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Long before Buckingham Palace was built, the Kings and Queens of England lived elsewhere. We’ve seen Windsor Castle already, but if you wouldn’t find the ancient monarchs there, you might have found them at Hampton Court Palace instead. This palatial dwelling was built in 1515 by order of the legendary King Henry VIII, who considered it his favorite place to spend time. It’s stayed true to its Tudor origins throughout its existence, right down to the medieval kitchens inside which visitors are invited to sample food from. If that’s not for you, try to see if you can find your way through the Hampton Court Maze in the gardens. The gardens as a whole are said to be among the most beautiful in the world, and although we’d never be bold enough to make that claim, they certainly have to be in the conversation for that honor. 

Edinburgh Castle

Scotland might be part of the United Kingdom now, but that hasn’t always been the case. Scotland once had its own royal family, and when it did, they lived in Edinburgh Castle. The first royal known to have lived there was David I in the 12th century, although archaeologists have found evidence of settlements at the site dating back hundreds of years earlier. The castle, which sits at the top of an extinct volcano, is quite the sight to behold. It’s the crowning glory of Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile, and still plays host to the Scottish Crown Jewels and the infamous Stone of Destiny. These days it also hosts the Scottish National War Museum. It’s a little more rustic than some of the other royal dwellings you might come across, but it’s no less spectacular because of it. 

There are, of course, other places you could look at. There’s Sandringham House, where the Queen spends every Christmas. There’s also Balmoral Castle, which was acquired by Queen Victoria in 1848 and the place where the Queen and her family tend to spend the summer. The lesser-known Palace of Holyroodhouse isn’t far from Edinburgh Castle and was once home to Mary, Queen of Scots. History is everywhere you look in the UK, but the residences we’ve highlighted here are, in our humble opinion, the pick of the bunch. See them for yourself, and enjoy them! 

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