England's Royal Residences - Day Trips

England’s Royal Residences - Day Trips

Day Trips

The Royal family is a crucial part of England’s rich past and present. And who wouldn’t want to take a look around where this family lives – or has lived – to see what it’s like living in a real palace or castle? But a visit to these residences is more than just a peek through the keyhole. It’s a great opportunity to experience the vivid history, drama and traditions of the monarchy, to admire rooms and treasures and maybe discover a few secrets along the way.

Getting around

Central London:

Kensington Palace – High Street Kensington underground station (Circle and District lines) is a 10-15 minute walk from the station.

Tower of London – Tower Hill underground station (District and Circle Lines) is a 5-minute walk from the station.

Day trips from London:

The train from London Waterloo to Windsor and Eton Riverside station takes 54 minutes with no changes. It is then a 6 minute walk to Windsor Castle with a clearly signposted route.

The train from London Waterloo to Hampton Court station takes 30 minutes with no changes. It is then a 10 minute walk to Hampton Court Palace with a clearly signposted route.

For travel around London, the Oyster card is the easiest and cheapest option. For short trips outside London, individual rail tickets can be booked in advance through the Trainline. For longer journeys, one of the easiest and most relaxing ways to explore Britain is with a BritRail Pass, which allows unlimited journeys and the freedom to explore.

Day 1

Royal Residences in Central London

Tower of London

The Tower of London isn’t often thought of as a royal residence – more of a place of torture and imprisonment, and these days the home of the magnificent Crown Jewels. However, in its time, this palace has not only been a home to the monarchy, but also to a royal armoury, The Royal Mint, and even a zoo! With such a well preserved palace to explore, numerous themed exhibitions which bring the Tower’s history to life, 23,578 gemstones to admire, and regular talks given by the famous “Beefeaters” we recommend allowing plenty of time to soak up 1000 years of history.

Tour details

Frequency: 1 March – 31 October:
Tuesday – Saturday 9am – 6pm (last admission 5pm)
Sunday; Monday 10am – 6pm (last admission 5pm)1 November – 28 February:
Tuesday – Saturday 9am – 5pm (last admission 4pm)
Sunday & Monday 10am – 5pm (last admission 4pm)
Please note that the Tower of London will be
closed 24, 25, 26 December and 1 January.
Private tours: Private tours available on request
FIT or Groups: Both

Website: Historic Royal Palaces

Book 3 Palace Royal Pass on the Visit Britain shop

Kensington Palace

Home to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Kensington Palace offers more than meets the eye. Beyond the impressive palace walls, stunning State Rooms and fascinating exhibition on Princess Diana’s gowns, Kensington Palace is also home to magnificent gardens which include an Orangery dating back to 1700 and a Sunken Garden complete with terrace, ornamental flowerbeds and fountains.

Tour details

Frequency: 1 March – 31 October: 10am – 6pm daily (last entry 5pm)
1 November – 28 February: 10am – 5pm daily (last entry 4pm)
Closed 24, 25, 26 December
Private tours:  Yes
FIT or Groups:  Both – group bookings for 15 or more

Website: Historic Royal Palaces

Book 3 Palace Royal Pass on the Visit Britain shop

Day 2

Royal Residences Day Trips from London

Hampton Court Palace

Just outside London lies Hampton Court Palace – no longer home to members of the Royal Family … but some say that their ghosts still remain!

With beautiful grounds, including a maze which will delight adults and children alike, and stunning architecture, this magnificent palace is a breathtaking sight. Most notably, home to Henry VIII, Hampton Court is packed with Tudor opulence, but also tells a fascinating story of its role since that time – brought to life with costumed actors.

Near Hampton Court

Hampton Court Palace isn’t the only big attraction here. A stone’s throw away is Molesey Lock. Built in 1815, it offers a great opportunity to see the country’s complex canal and river system in action, and to understand how the network allows boats all over the UK to cross hills and peaks. Or for literature lovers, the 18th century Garrick’s Temple is a 25-minute walk from the palace, and showcases actor David Garrick’s adoration for his hero, William Shakespeare. It also overlooks the River Thames, making it a lovely spot to enjoy a spot of sunny weather.

Tour details

Min – Max capacity:
Frequency: Mid-March – mid-October: 10am – 6pm daily (last entry 5pm)

Mid-October – mid-March: 10am  –  4.30pm daily (last entry 3.30pm)

Private tours:
FIT or Groups:

Website: Historic Royal Palaces

Book 3 Palace Royal Pass on the Visit Britain shop

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle is famous for so much more than being a Royal residence – it is also the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world. Home to British kings and queens for over 1,000 years and nowadays often occupied by the Queen, visitors just have to look out for the Royal Standard flag flying from the Round Tower to know whether Her Majesty is at home!

A visit here promises a glimpse into some of the most opulent State Rooms, a chance to step inside St George’s Chapel – where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will marry in 2018 – and a close look at the largest, most famous dolls’ house in the world: Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House.

Near Windsor Castle

Just a short trip from the capital, Windsor is the home of British pageantry, steeped in Royal history and great for a nature-filled break from the hustle and bustle of London. Visitors can look for some of the 600+ deer in Windsor Great Park, take a stroll or boat trip along the River Thames, watch the horses at Windsor Racecourse, or head to nearby Ascot, also beloved for its connections to the Royal family. For families in particular, LEGOLAND Windsor Resort promises a fun-filled day out.

Tour details

Min – Max capacity: No minimum or maximum capacity for standard admission.
Minimum 15 persons for Special and Private group visits.
Frequency: Opening times:
1 March to 31 October
9.30am – 5.15pm (last admission 4pm)
1 November to 28 February
9.45am – 4.15pm (last admission 3pm)Closures:
Windsor Castle is closed on 29 March 2018, 20 April and 19 May 2018State Apartments are closed on 5 – 19 January 2018, 23 January 2018, 19 April 2018 and 21 April 2018
The castle will have different opening times on 1 April 2018 (castle opens at 1pm)
Private tours: Private Guided Tours of Windsor Castle are available for groups when the Castle is closed to the public.
Restoring Windsor: The Castle after the fire tells groups the dramatic story of the fire in 1992.
The Military Knights’ Tale offers a personal insight into the ancient and noble institution of the Military Knights of Windsor from a serving Military Knight.
Groups can enjoy the splendour and history of Windsor Castle and delight in the vibrant colour of the Savill Garden with a joint ticket.
Special and Private Visits must be booked in advance and are only available as advertised.
FIT or Groups: FIT & Groups
Translation: Free multimedia guides are available in: English, Brazilian Portuguese, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese Mandarin and Russian

Website: Windsor Castle

Book on the Visit Britain shop