Historic royal palaces - explore London’s crown jewels

15:25 31 March 2012

Kensington Palace, which was bought by William and Mary in 1689

Kensington Palace, which was bought by William and Mary in 1689

Archant

In so many ways London is a most modern city, but it also a very historic place.

Luckily for Londoners, much of the centuries-old heritage is open and on display.

Among the prized possessions of the capital which can be explored and experienced are its various royal palaces.

These crown jewels one of which actually houses the Crown Jewels are places where splendour and scandal have gone hand in hand down the years.

They make fascinating places to visit, offering historical intrigue which not only puts even Downton Abbey in the shade, but is also fact, not fiction.

The five buildings featured here are all cared for by independent charity Historic Royal Palaces.

Describing them as some of the "greatest palaces" ever built, HRP says: "Each of the five royal palaces in our care has survived for hundreds of years.

"They have witnessed peace and prosperity and splendid periods of building and expansion, but they also share stories of more turbulent times, of war and domestic strife, politics and revolution."

To find out more about the palaces visit www.hrp.org.uk

Kensington Palace

The royal residence where Victoria was born and spent her childhood reopened on March 26 after a 12 million revamp. Alongside the 18th century State Apartments, visitors can enjoy a revealing exhibition on Victorias life and a display of some of Princess Diana's dresses.

Station: High St Kensington

Tower of London

The newly refurbished Jewel House has been unveiled with a display exploring the importance of the Crown Jewels and the Towers role in protecting these treasures. Another highlights is Royal Beasts, an exhibition on the many exotic animals which once lived at the Tower.

Station: Tower Hill

Hampton Court Palace

Originally built to feed the Court of Henry VIII, the vast kitchens were a central part of palace life for more than 200 years. This spring visitors have the chance to experience real smells and sounds in the kitchens during live cookery sessions as history chefs prepare feasts fit for a king.

Station: Hampton Court

Kew Palace

This palace located in Kew Gardens opens for its summer season on April 2 with stories of George IIIs family life and eating habits. George III and Queen Charlotte used Kew Palace as a school house for their eldest sons. New exhibitions for 2012 explore food and dining experience in a Georgian royal household.

Station: Kew Gardens

Banqueting House

Once used to provide entertainment for Charles I, and also the scene of his execution, this Whitehall building is now a national monument open to the public. Classical music concerts and splendid architecture combine for a rich cultural experience in central London.

Station: Westminster

Latest Stories from SNAP.PA

We give our verdicts on the outfits that graced the red carpet.

Read more

Is Downton Abbey just a soap opera hiding under all that pomposity?

Read more

Know what lurks in the deep off our coast…

Read more

Top Stories

Promotions

Imagine having your own idyllic house in the French countryside - and make it happen! [Photograph by Mike Simler]

Ever dreamed of living in a rural cottage in France with ivy round the door, chickens in your garden, and fresh croissants for breakfast from the local patisserie a short walk away in the nearby village?

Advanced running and training technology for beginners up to elite athletes

If you’re thinking of adding running treadmill to your fitness routine, you’re on the right track! There are several advantages to running on a treadmill versus running outdoors.

Renault-Zoe

The Renault ZOE follows on from the introduction of the electric Fluence ZE and Twizy, but unlike the former, the ZOE was designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle.

Quizzes

(Photo by Ben Horton/Getty Images for Madame Tussauds Hollywood)

If there’s one thing that can change Londoners from nice, normal people into superhumans capable of extreme levels of rage and passive aggression, it’s the descent below-ground.

Read more
Do you fancy yourself as a football ground know-it-all? Try our devilishly difficult quiz!

How well do you know your football stadiums? This brand new quiz from London24 will seperate the men from the boys...

Read more
Do you know your Thames truths from the porkie pies? (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

So, you live (or work) in London, and you think you know the river well.

Read more