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The official London residence of the royal family since 1837, Buckingham Palace plays host to official events, banquets and receptions, and serves as the administrative headquarters of the Queen. The State Rooms at the Palace are now open to the general public and house many priceless works of art and sculpture, antique furniture and exquisite porcelain.
Of course, no trip to London would be complete without witnessing Changing the Guard. Taking place at 11am each day from May until the end of July, it is a spectacle not to be missed.
Home to 39 monarchs during its long royal history, Windsor Castle was built by William the Conqueror and remains the world's oldest and largest inhabited castle. Visitors to the Castle can view the sumptuous State Apartments, marvel at the Gothic architecture of St George's Chapel and climb the famous Round Tower.
It is also well worth taking the time for a peek at Queen Mary's Dolls' House, a stunning replica house that is a genuinely fully-functioning miniature home, and this year the Castle has the added attraction of an exhibition entitled The Queen: 60 photographs for 60 Years, featuring images taken by the leading press photographers from throughout Her Majesty's reign.
Situated within an Aberdeenshire estate, Balmoral Castle is the private residence of The Queen and the grounds, gardens and ballroom are open to the public from April through to the end of July each year. The formal gardens are stunning and the views throughout the estate spectacular. Guided walks and luxury Land Rover safaris will allow you to view the Scottish Wildlife in all its glory.
Once the favourite home of King George V and currently The Queen's country retreat, Sandringham is a stately home set within an 8,000-hectare estate. The grounds of the Country Park are open to the public free of charge throughout the year and are well worth a visit in themselves, but to really make a day of it, explore the beautiful gardens, take a guided tour of the house and visit the museum to view rare royal memorabilia.
The Tower of London
Since the time of William the Conqueror, the imposing Tower of London has stood beside the River Thames. It has served as a fortress, a royal palace and, perhaps most notably, as the prison where Lady Jane Grey, Sir Walter Raleigh, Thomas More languished. Open to the public throughout the year, there are interactive displays, an exhibition of royal armour and the Medieval Palace, not to mention the 23,578 precious stones that make up the Crown Jewels.
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