Historic London Itinerary

Historic London Itinerary: Buckingham Palace-9

Discover historic London, from royal attractions to famous monuments.

London's recorded history dates back over 2,000 years. During this time the city has grown to become one of the most significant financial and cultural capitals of the world. As a result, there's a wealth of venues to be discovered, each one packed with stories of the past just waiting to be told.

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Day 1
9.00: Visit Buckingham Palace
The 19 lavishly decorated State Rooms are open to visitors during the summer. The rooms form the heart of the working palace. They’re furnished with some of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection including paintings by Rembrandt, sculpture by Canova and some of the finest English and French furniture.

SW1A 1AA (Green Park Underground)
PR contact: 020 7839 1377 / press@royalcollection.org.uk 

11.00: Watch Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace
The guard change at Buckingham Palace has an official start time of 11.30am, however the guards start arriving with music at 11.15am. The ceremony runs for 30 minutes and all the guards taking part in the daily ceremony are dressed in traditional red tunics and bearskin hats. The ceremony is set to music and takes place on different days depending on the month you visit.

PR contact: 020 7839 1377 / press@royalcollection.org.uk 

12.15: Visit the Royal Mews
One of the finest working stables in existence, the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace is home to the royal collection of historic coaches and carriages. The most dazzling of all the coaches on display is the Gold State Coach, used as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2002.

PR contact: 020 7839 1377 / press@royalcollection.org.uk 

13.00: Lunch at Bluebird
Visit the Duchess of Cambridge's favourite lunch spot in Chelsea. Bluebird offers a sanctuary away from the bustle of King's Road with alfresco dining and a modern European menu.

350 King's Road, SW3 5UU (Sloane Square Underground)

15.30: Visit Kensington Palace
The feminine influence of generations of royal women has shaped this stylish palace and elegant gardens. The palace first became a royal residence for William III and Mary II in 1689. The magnificent State Apartments showcase some breath-taking examples of the architect and painter William Kent’s work. This sumptuous series of rooms includes the Cupola Room where Princess Victoria was christened. The palace is home to a unique archive of royal fashion from the 18th century to the present day.

PR contact: 020 3166 6166 / press@hrp.org.uk 

17.30: Take a late afternoon stroll through the Royal Parks
Take in the beauty and surroundings of London's green spaces with an afternoon walk through St James's Park and Green Park – both within easy reach of Kensington Palace. Other Royal Parks to explore include Hyde Park, Regent's Park (which includes ZSL London Zoo), Greenwich Park and Richmond Park.

The Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain can be found in Hyde Park. This unique memorial to Diana, Princess of Wales was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 2004. The design reflects Diana's life as the water flows from the highest point in two directions, cascading, swirling and bubbling before meeting in a calm pool at the bottom. There are three bridges where visitors can cross the water and go right to the heart of the fountain.

PR contact: 030 0061 2128 / press@royalparks.gsi.gov.uk 

19.30: Watch a classical concert at Banqueting House
Banqueting House was designed by Inigo Jones as the perfect place for one of King Charles I's theatrical parties in 17th-century London. These days, Banqueting House is still used for functions and private parties but it's open to the public as well. You'll love the painted ceiling by Rubens, his only work that remains in the location for which it was designed. It is an ideal setting to enjoy the sophistication of a classical concert.

Whitehall, SW1A 2ER (Westminster Underground)
PR contact: 020 3166 6166 / press@hrp.org.uk 

21.00: Dinner
For ideas on places to eat in this area, go to www.visitlondon.com/things-to-do/activities/food-and-drink

Day 2
10.00: Visit the Churchill War Rooms
Deep beneath the bustle of London lie the original Cabinet War Rooms – today part of the Churchill War Rooms – which sheltered Britain’s wartime Government during the Blitz. Immerse yourself in this fascinating piece of history by discovering the underground maze of historic rooms that once buzzed with round-the-clock planning and plotting, strategies and secrets. Uncover the man behind the image at the Churchill Museum. It is the first major museum in the world solely dedicated to Sir Winston Churchill, using cutting-edge technology and multimedia displays to bring his story to life.

Clive Steps, King Charles Street, London, SW1A 2AQ (Westminster Underground)
PR contact: 020 7416 5316 / press@iwm.org.uk 

12.00: Visit HMS Belfast
Visit HMS Belfast to discover what life was like for those who lived and worked on board this last remaining warship of its kind. Nine decks of amazing seafaring history provide plenty of opportunities to explore. Venture into the captain's domain on the Compass Platform, see the shells lying beneath the ship’s waterline, and hear sailors' stories in the Life at Sea exhibition. You can also find out what far-flung places HMS Belfast visited during her years in active service and learn more about her adventures at sea.

Morgan's Lane, Tooley Street, London, SE1 2JH (London Bridge Underground)
PR contact: 020 7416 5316 / press@iwm.org.uk 

14.30: Visit Westminster Abbey
Kings, queens, statesmen and soldiers; poets, priests, heroes and villains - the Abbey is a must-see living pageant of British history. Every year Westminster Abbey welcomes over one million visitors who want to explore this wonderful 700-year-old building which is the coronation church of England. Thousands more flock to the Abbey for worship at daily services.

Parliament Square, London, SW1P 3PA
PR contact: 020 7654 4923 / press@westminster-abbey.org 

16.00: Tour the Royal Albert Hall
The Royal Albert Hall is one of the world's most famous stages. Opened by Queen Victoria in 1871, the hall hosts over 360 events each year, including classical music, jazz, world music, circus, rock, pop, opera, dance, comedy, tennis, dinners, award ceremonies and the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance. The hall offers daytime tours, a shop, lunchtime jazz and world music in the Café Consort and a free exhibition series as well as a wide range of events for breaking artists in the Elgar Room.

Kensington Gore, SW7 2AP (South Kensington Underground)
PR contact: 020 7959 3004 / press@royalalberthall.com 

20.00: Dinner
For ideas on the best places to eat, go to www.visitlondon.com/things-to-do/activities/food-and-drink.

Day 3
10.00: Visit the Guildhall
This building is the centre of civic government for the square mile of the City of London. The City of London's home at Guildhall has witnessed traitors' trials, heroes' welcomes, freedom ceremonies and glittering state occasions. Home to the municipal government since the 12th century, it is a rare example of medieval civic architecture, and is a Grade I listed building.

Gresham Street, EC2P 2EJ (Bank Underground)

11.30: Visit the Tower of London
The ancient stones reverberate with dark secrets, priceless jewels glint in fortified vaults and ravens strut around the grounds. The Tower of London, founded by William the Conquerer in 1066-7, holds some of the most remarkable stories from across the centuries. Despite a grim reputation as a place of torture and death, this powerful and enduring fortress has been enjoyed as a royal palace, served as an armoury and even housed a zoo! The famous Yeoman Warders have bloody tales to tell. The Tower held many famous prisoners, from the highest levels of society; some in astonishing comfort and others less so… Visit the places of their confinement and read the graffiti left by prisoners from over 500 years ago.

EC3N 4AB (Tower Hill Underground)
PR contact: 020 3166 6166 / press@hrp.org.uk 

13.30: Lunch at the Anchor
The Anchor beside the river Thames was originally built in 1615. Samuel Pepys watched the Great Fire of London from here and Doctor Johnston wrote part of his dictionary here.

34 Park Street, Southwark, SE1 9EF (London Bridge/Borough Underground)

15.30: Visit the Tower Bridge Exhibition
Inside the Tower Bridge Exhibition you will learn how the world's most famous bridge works and the history behind its creation. Enjoy the panoramic views from the walkways situated 45 metres above the Thames and visit the original Victorian engines.

SE1 2UP (Tower Hill Underground)
PR contact: 020 7221 7883 / towerbridge@kallaway.com 

Evening: Dinner at leisure
For ideas on the best places to eat, go to www.visitlondon.com/things-to-do/activities/food-and-drink

Day 4
10.00: Hampton Court Palace
The flamboyant Henry VIII is most associated with this majestic palace, extended and developed in grand style after he acquired it from Cardinal Wolsey in the 1520s. However the elegance and romance of the palace owes much to the Baroque buildings commissioned by William III and Mary II at the end of the 17th century.

Explore Henry's magnificent State Apartments, feel the heat of the vast Tudor Kitchens, the eerie chill of the Haunted Gallery and then stroll through the elegant Baroque Apartments and glorious formal gardens before disappearing into the maze, where whispers of the past will haunt every step to the centre of this topiary puzzle. Every day at the palace the history and enchanting stories are brought to life by costumed guides.

East Molesey, Surrey, KT8 9AU (Hampton Court Rail from Waterloo)
PR contact: 020 3166 6166 / press@hrp.org.uk 

13.00: Lunch at the King's Arms
Nestled in picturesque Waterloo, on a street that has barely changed since the war, this quirky, traditional London pub serves a great pint, delicious Thai food and has a very traditional character. Roupell Street is a quaint conservation area of Lambeth, first developed in the 1820s.

25 Roupell Street, Waterloo, London, SE1 8TB (Waterloo rail/underground)

14.30: Visit St Paul's Cathedral
Enter St Paul's and enjoy the cathedral's awe-inspiring interior. Venture down to the crypt and discover the tombs and memorials of some of the nation’s greatest heroes such as Admiral Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington. Also visit Oculus, an award winning 270° immersive film experience. Visitors can try out the acoustic quirks of the Whispering Gallery and continue the climb to the Golden Gallery to enjoy breathtaking panoramic views across London.

St Paul's Churchyard, EC4M 8AD (St Paul's Underground)
PR contact: 020 7246 8321 / hwoolley@stpaulscathedral.org.uk 

17.00: Take a stroll along Fleet Street
18.00: Drinks at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese Pub
Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese has a real historical feel to it, having survived through the reign of 15 monarchs. It consists of a great number of bars and dining rooms reached by a labyrinth of passages and staircases. It is decked out with a dark wooden interior. Bar food is served as well as beers, traditional ales, wines and spirits. There's also a restaurant.

145 Fleet Street, the City, London, EC4A 2BU (Temple Underground)

Evening: Dinner at leisure
For ideas on the best places to eat, go to www.visitlondon.com/things-to-do/activities/food-and-drink