Got royal wedding fever? With just a few weeks left until the big event, it’s no doubt that London will see a lot more than its average 27 million annual visitors this year.
In fact, it’s estimated that 1.5 million are expected to watch the procession on the streets of London, while something like 2 billion people around the world will be tuning in – that’s about 1/4 of the world’s population.
If you’re planning on making your way to London this year to get in on some of the action of the royal wedding, here are the top not-to-miss royal attractions in and around the London area!
Royal attractions to visit in and around the London area
Buckingham Palace is open to visitors during the summer, from July 23 to October 3 this year. Catch the Changing of the Guards and tour 19 elegantly appointed State Rooms (fit for a queen, no doubt), followed by the Palace’s gardens and lake. Explore the Queen’s Gallery, home to the royal art collection, as well the Royal Mews, home to the royals’ collection of coaches and carriages, including the 1902 State Landau royal carriage that Will and Kate will be riding in after the wedding ceremony from Westminster Abbey back to Buckingham.
The Tower of London is best known for being a fortress and prison. Today at the Tower, you can survey medieval torture techniques, see the site where executions took place (like that of Anne Boleyn), or visit the iconic White Tower first built in the 11th century. Best of all, you can visit the Jewel House to see the Crown Jewels of the royals: the crowns, scepters, and orbs of the royals, past and present.
On the outskirts of greater London, Hampton Court Palace is best known for its association with King Henry VIII, one of the most fascinating monarchs in British history due to his six wives. The palace is an example of both Tudor and Baroque architecture, meant to rival the Palace of Versailles in France. Here, you can see Henry VIII’s Great Hall, find your way out of the world famous Maze, stroll the 60 acres of magnificent gardens, and see the opulently adorned Tudor-style ceiling at the Chapel Royal: Gothic vaults with a blue background, ornamented with gold stars and cherubs.
Another short day trip from London is Windsor Castle: the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world, and one of the residences of the Queen. The castle’s Round Tower is one of the country’s most iconic landmarks like Tower Bridge, Big Ben, and the London Eye. The State Apartments showcase paintings by greats like Rembrandt and Rubens but an equally big draw is Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House.
Last but definitely not least, Westminster Abbey will be a must if you want to get in on the Will & Kate action. With over 1,000 years of history, the abbey has seen the coronations, weddings, and funerals of hundreds of kings, queens, and even poets like Geoffrey Chaucer. The couple will be married here at 11a.m. on April 29th before an audience of approx. 2,000 guests.
For more, go to www.VisitLondon.com .