Travel Like Royalty: The Top Regal Attractions in Britain
Even if you’re not on a first-name basis with Kate and Wills, you can still get a sneak-peak into life as a royal. From fairy-tale castles to historic stately houses, there are hundreds of regal attractions to explore in Great Britain. To help you make the most of your journey, we rounded up a few of our favourites.
Kick off your regal day in London with a trip to the Queen’s official residence. If possible, plan your visit for the late-morning in order to catch the iconic Changing of the Guard (be sure to check the official schedule, as the ceremony time varies depending on the season). Want a glimpse inside? Every summer, the palace opens its doors to visitors and offers a tour of the grand State Rooms, where The Queen and Royal Family do all their entertaining!
Few buildings boast the rich history of Windsor Castle, the longest-occupied palace in Europe. It has served as the home to monarchs for nearly 1,000 years, and today, it’s widely considered the Queen’s preferred weekend home (she also resides there for one month every spring). While visiting, be sure to view the magnificent State Apartments, St. George’s Chapel (the burial ground of 10 sovereigns), and Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House—filled with thousands of tiny figurines handcrafted by leading artists, designers, and craftsmen.
Whether you think of this charming seaside town as the spiritual home of golf, or the university city where Prince William and Kate Middleton fell in love, it definitely merits a trip to Scotland. Play a round on the famous Old Course, then set off on a stroll of West Sands, the beach featured in the opening scene of Chariots of Fire.
Purchased by Queen Victoria in 1852, this stunning Scottish estate in Aberdeenshire is the royal family’s favourite summer retreat. And for good reason! Featuring a lavish ballroom, three acres of flowering gardens, celebrated artwork, and historical artefacts, it’s the picture-perfect place to spend the day—and snap plenty of pictures!
Home to nearly 150 scheduled historic monuments, ranging from prehistoric tombs to Beaumaris Castle, this legendary island is a must-visit for history buffs. Amble along 125 miles of natural coastline and see Harbour Porpoises and colourful Marsh Fritillaries in their natural habitats, climb the spiral stairs of the South Stack Lighthouse, visit the Welsh farmhouse where Prince William and Duchess Kate lived as newlyweds, or show off your seasoned palate with a sea salt tasting at Tŷ Halen.
Isle of Wight
Famous for its lively music revelry—and pungent garlic festival—this 384-square-kilometer island, located off the southern coast of England, contains Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s former summer home, Osborne House. Today, the royal residence is open to the public and occasionally hosts picnic-style concerts on its grassy front lawn.
King Edward I clearly wasn’t playing around when he built this polygonal 13th century castle on a former Roman fort. Today, the mighty medieval fortress—where the investiture of the Prince of Wales takes place—remains one of the most striking sights you’ll see anywhere in the world. Spend a few hours exploring the castle’s secret passageways before stopping off at the Museum of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers (located within the Queen’s Tower) to see guns, medals, and memorabilia from Wales’ oldest infantry regiment.
For more royal travel-planning inspiration, including discounts on admission tickets and rail passes, check out the VisitBritain shop.