Five historic Royal Palaces that you should visit

Michael Manton / 26 February 2015

From William the Conqueror's fortresses to today's House of Windsor, the country's Royal legacy is interwoven into our national history. Here's Saga's pick of the best...

Windsor Castle

The largest and oldest occupied castle in the world, Windsor Castle (pictured) is an official residence of Her Majesty The Queen.

The original castle was built in the 11th century by William the Conqueror – today, this dramatic site encapsulates a royal palace, a magnificent chapel and the homes and workplaces of more than 500 people.

The tour includes the magnificent State Apartments, which are furnished with some of the finest works of art from the Royal Collection, including paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, Canaletto and Gainsborough.

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Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace has been a residence of the Royal Family since the 17th century and is currently the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, their son Prince George and Prince Harry of Wales.

Experience life as a 17th and 18th century courtier whilst making your way through the magnificent King’s and Queen’s State Apartments adorned with magnificent paintings from the Royal Collection.

An exciting new permanent exhibition, Victoria Revealed, offers an intimate account of Queen Victoria's extraordinary life, exploring her life and reign through her own words and personal objects in the rooms where she once lived.

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Hampton Court Palace

Witness the magnificence of Hampton Court Palace, Henry VIII's favourite royal residence, which actually consists of two palaces in one; a Tudor palace magnificently developed by Cardinal Wolsey and Henry VIII, alongside a baroque palace built by William III and Mary II.

Visit Henry's State Rooms to immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of the bustling Base Court, indulge yourself in the Tudor kitchens (a living monument to 230 years of Royal cooking) and discover the incredible gardens, including the restored Privy Garden and the famous maze.

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The Palace of Holyroodhouse

The Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official residence in Scotland of Her Majesty The Queen, stands at the end of Edinburgh's Royal Mile against the spectacular backdrop of Arthur's Seat.

This fine baroque palace is closely associated with Scotland's rich history, with the original Holyrood Abbey founded by David 1, King of Scots in 1128. Visitors can explore the 16th-century historic apartments of Mary, Queen of Scots and the State Apartments, used for official and state entertaining.

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The Tower of London

Officially know as Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, the iconic Tower of London has been part of British history since the early 1080s when William the Conqueror started building a massive stone tower at the centre of his fortress. Through the centuries that followed successive monarchs added to this London landmark which has acted as fortress, palace and prison.

Visit The White Tower, a World Heritage Site, take a tour with a Yeoman Warder (Beefeater) and look upon the world famous Crown Jewels, the greatest working collection of Crown Jewels in the world and priceless symbols of British Monarchy. The Imperial State Crown itself has 2,868 diamonds, 273 pearls, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds and 5 rubies.

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You can book tickets for these Royal Palaces and many other attractions on our ticket site.

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