Our guide to the Royal Attractions in London in 2023, with the best ways to explore the world of the British Royal Family. Highlights include visiting the Royal Palaces, including Buckingham Palace, the centre of the British Monarchy. There are lots of things to see, including viewing the State Apartments during the summer of 2023 and seeing the royal collection of paintings and artefacts throughout the year. London is also home to other royal locations, including Kensington Palace, where Princess Diana lived and the Tower of London where the Crown Jewels are kept.
Windsor Castle, an official residence of the King and also the location of St George’s Chapel where Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were laid to rest. This popular royal attraction is open all year round, and is located just outside of London.
Different ways to visit:
Windsor is located outside Central London. Our standard entry ticket is perfect if you have a car. If you don’t we have two options: Our Windsor Castle entry & train tickets is ideal if you’d like to travel by train. Or if you prefer by bus, our Windsor shuttle bus is an ideal option.
Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace
The Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace houses a world-class collection of artworks. It’s open throughout 2023 and contains master paintings, furniture and pieces from the Royal Collection. This year sees two exhibitions take place at the Gallery.
Japan: Courts and Culture(until 26 February 2023) explores the connection between the Royals and Japan with fascinating artefacts and paintings on display.
Dressing the Georgians (Friday, 21 Apr 2023 – Sunday, 8 Oct 2023) Discover the fashion and style of the Georgian period. get up close to magnificent paintings, prints and drawings by artists including Gainsborough, Zoffany and Hogarth, as well as luxurious textiles, sparkling jewellery, and a range of accessories from snuff boxes to swords.
Kensington Palace was the official residence of Prince William (heir to the throne) and Kate Middleton, and is where Princess Diana once lived. Visitors can explore the magnificent Palace and Gardens.
This royal palace was the birthplace of Queen Victoria and has been a home for young royals for over 300 years. Visitors can explore the rooms where Princess Victoria was born and raised and see the King’s State Apartments that were used for audiences and meetings in the presence of royalty.
The Tower of London is a historic royal palace that dates back over 1,000 years. Visitors can see the Crown Jewels that are still used in royal ceremonies today, such as by the King for the State Opening of Parliament. This is the most powerful symbol of the British Monarchy which is under armed guard in the Jewel Tower.
You can also see the Yeoman Wardens, part of the Royal Bodyguard who are nicknamed ‘Beefeaters’. These guards have existed since the 11th Century, and are instantly recognizable by their colourful uniform. Today they act as guides who bring to life the royal history at the Tower of London.
Visit the Medieval Palace at the Tower of London to see the recreations of impressive interiors used by medieval kings and queens, notably King Henry III and King Edward I. You can also visit the Royal armour and see objects from Henry VIII, Charles I and James II.
Hampton Court Palace was the most famous residence of King Henry VIII. It’s open all year round, and visitors can explore the Tudor and Stuart times, the chapel and the impressive grounds including the Maze Garden. This is one of the most popular royal attractions in London.
The Changing of the Guard Ceremony takes place outside the gates of Buckingham Palace throughout the year. This iconic show marks the moment when the soldiers currently guarding the Palace exchange places with the new guard. It’s accompanied by a full military band playing traditional marches and popular songs.
Royal Attractions & Events Open Seasonally:
There are many royal attractions that are open on selected dates during the year. This includes the State Apartments at Buckingham Palace and the Royal Mews. There are also many royal events that take place throughout the year, some of which are open to the public.
The Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace
Open from 2 March to 30 October 2023
The Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace opens from 2 March to 30 October. Catch a glimpse into the working life of the Royal Estate, see the working stables and admire the magnificent carriages.
This working stable is responsible for all road travel arrangements for the King and Royal Family. You can see the Gold Stage Coach which has been used at every coronation since 1821, as well as the coach that was built to celebrate the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee. Visitors can try out a royal carriage and see some of the horses used to pull the carriages.
The Coronation Weekend will take place from Saturday, 6 May until Monday 8 May 2023.
Saturday 6 May: The Coronation ceremony will take place on Saturday morning at Westminster Abbey. His Majesty the King and Her Majesty the Queen Consort will arrive from Buckingham Palace in the King’s Procession. Following the Coronation Service, the Coronation Procession will take place with the King and other members of the Royal Family. It will end at Buckingham Palace, where the King, Queen Consort and other Royals will step out onto the balcony to wave to the public.
On Sunday a special concert will be held at Windsor Castle to mark the historic event, and it will be broadcast live by the BBC. Sunday will also be a day of celebration, with neighbours and communities from across the UK invited to set up their own Coronation Big Lunches.
On Monday 8 May, The Big Help Out will take place, where members of the public will be encouraged to volunteer in their local communities.
State Rooms at Buckingham Palace
2024 Opening dates TBA
The Buckingham Palace State Rooms open from 14 July to 24 September 2023.
Buckingham Palace is the official London residence of the Monarchy. One of the best royal attractions to visit in London this summer 2023 are the State Rooms, which are open for just 8 weeks. On a self-guided tour you’ll get to see royal rooms like the Throne Room, Ballroom and White Drawing Room.
There are many other attractions and sites in London that are linked to the Royal Family. Our Royal London walking tour takes you past many of the key sites in the city with a formal guide.
Madame Tussauds London
Madame Tussauds London lets you get up close and personal with lifelike wax figures, including the Royal Family! Madame Tussauds has sculpted a total of 23 figures of Queen Elizabeth II over the years. Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, are shown in their engagement pose. You might spot Catherine’s ring which is a dazzling recreation of the one worn by Princess Diana. There’s also a sculpt of King Charles III who is placed alongside his wife the Queen Consort. That’s a lot of Royals to meet!
Westminster Abbey has been the location for every coronation service since the year 1066, and is woven into the history of the British monarchy. It’s been the site of 16 royal weddings, including where Prince William tied the knot, and was also where the funeral service of Queen Elizabeth II took place in 2022.
Another popular spot for royal weddings! Princess Diana and Prince Charles were married here in 1981, and Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Silver (1977), Golden (2002), Diamond (2012) and Platinum (2022) Jubilees in this cathedral.
Kew Palace is located in Kew Gardens, and is the smallest of the Royal Palaces. This lesser visited site was the home of George III and Queen Charlotte, and was used by later monarchs as a weekend retreat from the Georgian era. Entrance is included within a ticket for Kew Gardens.
This is one of the only working museums in London, and explores the relationship between these elite soldiers and the Royals who they have protected for hundreds of years. The Household Division has been in charge of protecting the Royal Family from assassination and threats, and you can see real soldiers going about their day-to-day tasks in the stables. Exhibitions explore the history of this regiment. You can also see The Changing of the King’s Life Guard, a wonderful alternative to the Changing of the Guard Ceremony outside Buckingham Palace. The ceremony happens every day at Horse Guards Parade at 11am (10am on Sundays).
Afternoon Tea with Royal Links
Having afternoon tea is a great British and royal pastime. You can enjoy many wonderful afternoon teas at places that have a royal connection, fit for a king or queen! The Goring Hotel holds a Royal Warrant which is a very prestigious document that is awarded to only the highest quality traders. The hotel is a firm favourite with the Royal Family and it’s here that the King hosts his annual staff Christmas lunch.
Another worthy location is the Royal Albert Hall. This cultural landmark was opened by Queen Victoria, and it was the location of the Queen Elizabeth II Birthday Party in 2018. It serves up a wonderful musical-themed afternoon tea.
London is home to an incredible 8 Royal Parks! These open spaces are owned by the Crown and are freely accessible to the public. The most popular parks include Hyde Park, Regent’s Park, Richmond Park and St James’s Park. There’s nothing quite like going for a walk through one of these open spaces on a bright and sunny day!
Banqueting House is part of the Historic Royal Palaces and is the site of King Charles I execution in 1649. It’s also home to the Ruben’s Ceiling, the only surviving in-situ ceiling painting by one of the greatest artists of all time.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Where Can I see the Royals in London?
It will be difficult to actually see the Royals in London in real-life. Your best option would be to try and schedule a visit during one of the Royal Events. For example, the King’s Birthday parade which would be a good way to possibly see the King. The next best option would be to head to Madame Tussauds, where there are lots of sculpts of royals on display.
How Do The Royals Travel around London?
Normally the royals travel around London by car. The Bentley State Limousine which is typically used, and the Jaguar Land Rover are popular vehicles used by the Royals. You can see a lot of the vehicles used by the Royals both currently and in the past at the Royal Mews, which is open on selected dates during the year.
Which Royal Palaces are Open to the Public?
Many Royal Palaces are working palaces that are used by the Royal Family during the year. Others are now no longer in active use. Kensington Palace, and Windsor Castle are open all year round but can experience closures at short notice since they are working residences. The Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace are open all year round and are no longer in use by the Royal Family.
Is Buckingham Palace Open to the Public?
Buckingham Palace is open on selected dates to the public, mainly during the opening of the State Apartments during the summer. In 2021, the Buckingham Palace gardens were also opened to the public for the first time in history, but this is expected to have been a one-off event.
Can You Stay at Buckingham Palace?
No, you cannot stay at Buckingham Palace. It is the London residency of the King. However, there are lots of hotels near Buckingham Palace, and many of them have a connection with royal history. So your best option is to stay in a historic hotel nearby Buckingham Palace if you want to get a taste of royal life.
Where is Windsor Castle?
Windsor Castle is located in the county of Berkshire, which is just outside of London. It’s located about 20 miles from Central London and can be reached by train or by bus. It takes about 45 minutes to get there by shuttle bus from Central London, or 1-hour by train from London Paddington Station.