6 palaces and castles in London open to the public

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London is known for its wondrous museums and art galleries. But the city is also the setting of spectacular castles and palaces that beam a spotlight into historic society and the British monarchy. During your stay at Park Grand London hotels, we suggest adding one or two of the following palaces and castles in and around London to your travel itinerary. Here are 6 easily accessible options. 

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham PalaceBuckingham Palace is the most famous of all the castles and palaces in London. This is the official office and residence of Queen Elizabeth II and the British royal family in the English capital.

Buckingham Palace is located in Green Park, close to Hyde Park and St James’s Park. You can visit the exterior and admire the facade through the railings. The palace is guarded by Yeoman Warders – more commonly known as Beefeaters. They perform the Changing of the Guard ceremony several mornings each week. If you want to watch this event, do consult the website or ask the staff at your hotel to look it up. It is free to watch.

It is only possible to step inside Buckingham Palace when it opens for 10 weeks during the summer months (mid-July through late September). Admission grants access to the State Apartments, the Throne Room, the Ballroom, and the Palace Garden. Your tour is narrated by Prince Charles. 

Even if you are staying in London airport accommodation, you can reach Buckingham Palace easily. The Piccadilly Line connects Heathrow Airport with Hyde Park Corner from where you can walk.

Closest station: Hyde Park Corner, Green Park, St James’s Park

Time required: 1-2 hours for the tour, 10-20 minutes to view the exterior 

Tower of London

Tower of LondonThe Tower of London is a palace, prison, and military fortress that sits right on the banks of the River Thames.

Highlights of this mediaeval palace include the Crown Jewels, the armour of King Henry VIII, and the Royal Mint. You will also see the  “unkindness” of ravens that reside under the watch of the Ravenmaster of the Yeomen Warders. A myth warns that if these ravens leave the grounds, the castle will fall. 

Queen Anne Boleyn was held captive at the Tower of London in the days prior to her execution. It is believed that the young princes, Edward and Richard, were murdered in the Wakefield Tower by their uncle, King Richard III. Known as the Bloody Tower, ghostly encounters have been recorded here. 

Admission to the Tower of London grants entry to all towers and exhibitions open to the public. You can direct any questions to the amiable Yeomen Warders. Purchase tickets online in advance from your Park Grand accommodation to avoid queuing to buy them at the castle complex. 

Closest station: Tower Hill

Time required: 2-3 hours

Kensington Palace

Kensington PalaceKensington Palace is located in Kensington Palace Gardens. This neighbouring park of Hyde Park is a short walk from your Kensington hotel London.

This is where Queen Victoria was born and raised and one exhibition is dedicated to her re-imagined childhood. Since her death, the palace has remained in continuous use as a residence for the royal family. Prince William and Prince Harry have each spent periods there with their families.

Much of Kensington Palace is open to tourists, including the Queen’s State Apartments and the King’s State Apartments. You can purchase tickets online in advance or at the facility. 

During your visit, you can also take a stroll through the Kensington Palace Gardens and see the Sunken Garden with its Princess Diana Memorial. The gardens are free to visit and no ticket is required. 

Closest station: High Street Kensington, Notting Hill Gate, Queensway 

Time required: 2 hours

Kew Palace

Kew Palace is one of the smallest regal residences in London. Admission to this castle in fact requires that you also purchase a ticket to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

This 17th-century red brick residence was the summer home of King George III and Queen Charlotte. Interiors recreate the essence of how the palace would have been presented during its heyday with the Royal Kitchens proving the most insightful aspect of the exhibition. 

During your visit to Kew Palace and the botanical gardens, you can also swing by  Queen Charlotte’s Cottage. This rustic hideaway is the quintessential English rural abode! If you decide to visit this palace during your stay at Park Grand London hotels, we recommend that you take a full day to explore every corner of the palace and the gardens. 

Closest station: Kew Bridge, Kew Gardens, Richmond 

Time required: 1 hour for the palace, 3-4 hours for the botanical gardens 

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace was the residence of King Henry VIII and his six wives. Construction initially began in 1514 and the home was intended for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey. But, the palace soon caught the eye of the young monarch! 

Beautifully preserved, the palace exhibition is spread over Tudor kitchens, a haunted gallery, state apartments, and gardens with a maze.

The palace hosts frequent events that include literary talks, food festivals, and family events. 

Closest station: Hampton Court 

Time required: 2-3 hours 

Windsor Castle 

Windsor CastleWindsor Castle, the largest inhabited castle in the world, is located on the outskirts of southwest London. If you have time in your itinerary for a day trip, then you might consider visiting one or two of the following. Due to its proximity to Heathrow, it is especially convenient for those staying at London airport accommodation.

The 11th-century castle is another residence of Queen Elizabeth II. The Union Flag flies above the turrets when she is out of residence.

When you visit Windsor Castle, you will tour the State Apartments and view important pieces from the Royal Collection. Queen Mary’s Dollshouse is a key highlight. 

Besides touring the interiors, you can roam the castle gardens and quadrangle as well as explore the quaint riverside town of Windsor. Do purchase tickets in advance to avoid queuing at weekends and during the peak season.  

Closest station: Windsor Eton & Central

Time required: 2-3 hours 

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