Must-visit historic buildings of London
In London almost every building has history, but these ancient palaces and houses are the ones well worth a visit.
Buckingham Palace Road
Underground: St James’ Park / Green Park / Charing Cross
It’s probably not that old and there are some more historically worthy palaces, but it is the seat of the British (and Commonwealth) monarchy.
The palace opens for two months of the year – typically August and September – for the public to peek into the royal residence.
Three major spaces are open; the State Rooms, the Royal Mews and the Queen’s Gallery. There are 19 State Rooms packed with some of the best artworks from the Royal Collection.
The Mews are the glittering and sparkly carriages, most suitable for children, and the Queen’s Gallery will show the Royal Collection, which changes every year.
Deans Yard, Westminster
Underground: Westminster / St James’s Park
Westminster Abbey, formally titled the Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, is the place of royal weddings, notable burials and graves, and one of the great choral groups of the world.
Tours of the church, the Nave, Cloisters, Poets’ Corner, Royal Tombs and the Shrine.
The Abbey is not open for visitors on Sundays but you could attend a service on that day.
There has been a price hike in entrance and guide fees, much to the annoyance of travellers, which puts it on the nice-to-see list as opposed to the must-see.
St Paul’s Cathedral
St Paul’s Churchyard
Underground: St Paul’s
The monolithic Sir Christopher Wren structure really does tower over the city, so much so that St Paul’s and Big Ben are probably the most iconic buildings across the kingdoms supposedly united.
Famous burials include Margaret Thatcher, Winston Churchill, Lord Nelson and Duke of Wellington, and of course the marriage of Lady Di and Charles.
Guided tours and climbing to the top of the dome are a highlight.
Palace Ave, Kensington
Underground: High St Kensington / Queensway
The royal residence in London for most of the younger generations of blue bloods, the palace has been open to the public since 1899.
Spruced up again for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, the gardens are now immaculate and visitors can trace the stories of four former residents; the most popular would have to be Lady Di.
Houses of Parliament
Parliament Square, Westminster
For anyone who lives in a democracy, a tour of the Houses of Parliament is going to be worthwhile.
The House of Lords and Commons, and the 1000 plus rooms – you obviously don’t see them all – and plenty of secret gardens and towers.
Tower of London
Underground: Tower Hill
Home to the Crown Jewels and the Yeoman Warders, better known as Beefeaters, the tower is probably best for history buffs.
It is the original castle and fortress of the royal family, with the central White Tower dating back to the original 1066 Norman Conquest.
The tower will also entertain kids who love a great gory story from a bearded guy dressed in a funny coat.
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