Historic Royal Palaces To See, Or Rent

Historic Royal Palaces

The UK’s Historic Royal Palaces is an independent charity that looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace and Kew Palace. In addition to maintaining the physical structures, Historic Royal Palaces works to share them with the world through day tickets that might be great for those visiting the Olympics and seeking unique experiences between events.

“Our aim is to help everyone explore the story of how monarchs and people have shaped society, in some of the greatest palaces ever built,” says Historic Royal Palaces on its website.

While each of the five royal palaces in their care has survived for hundreds of years, they receive no funding from the Government or the Crown and depend on the support of visitors, members, donors, volunteers and sponsors. Four of them are available for hire too.

Tower of London
A breath-taking collection of finery in the newly presented Jewel House at the Tower of London features a unique collection of royal regalia that is still regularly used by The Queen in important national ceremonies. Also meet the Beefeaters and Ravens and enter the White Tower, the oldest museum in the world. Open daily, year round.

Hampton Court Palace

A temporary exhibition, called “The Wild, The Beautiful and The Damned,” is included in admission to the palace until September 30, 2012. The exhibit introduces visitors to the court beauties, lecherous rakes and ambitious courtesans who decorated the decadent world of Charles II and his successors. Open daily year round.

Kensington Palace

This summer, visitors can experience the momentous occasion of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 1897 or “Diana Glimpses Of A Modern Princess,” a small and elegant display of five dresses worn by the iconic princess. Open daily, year round.

Kew Palace
Kew Palace takes visitors behind the scenes to “George III’s Royal Kitchens” for the first time to reveal George’s eating habits and the management of an intimate royal household. Kew Palace is open this summer until September 30, 2012.

Daily tickets to see any one of the palaces are sold, but membership in the Historic Royal Palaces family enjoys free and unlimited entry to all palaces.

Visit London's Tower Bridge

Flickr photo by kingsimmy

60 Years Of Royal Travel: Queen Elizabeth II’s State Visits

royal travel - Queen Elizabeth II Perth AirportThis week, the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries are celebrating the Diamond Jubilee, commemorating 60 years of Queen Elizabeth II on the royal throne. The Times has an interactive, multimedia infographic detailing six decades of royal travel. Each decade details her Commonwealth and international trips with video and photographs from some of her most important visits. The 1970s-’90s mark her most prolific time as a traveler, with over 60 countries visited in those three decades. She slowed down a bit in the past few years, with just four foreign countries (plus Canada and Australia, members of the Commonwealth) visited since 2010 – but still pretty impressive for a senior citizen. Since her coronation in 1952, she’s visited an impressive 161 countries and spent a total of 3.5 years abroad.

[Photo courtesy The British Monarchy on Flickr, copyright Press Association]

Queens To Meet In London For Big Event

Buckingham Palance big eventThis June 5 is a big event in the UK as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II celebrates 60 years on the throne. Cunard Line will bring Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations to a close with the first ever Cunard Royal Rendezvous in the fleet’s home port of Southampton, England.

Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth will be brought within close proximity of each other as a fireworks and special effects display will light up the evening sky. Queen Mary 2 will then lead Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria in single file down the Solent, a strait separating the Isle of Wight from the mainland of England, as all three ships set out on their celebratory Jubilee voyages.

This is not the first time the three Queens of the Cunard fleet have met. In 2011 they met in New York City, but the first meeting of the three queens was in 2008.

“In January 2008, Cunard Line’s first Rendezvous of their three Queens took place. It was quite exciting as it was the first time Cunard had three ships with Queen in the name and all three were together,” said Stewart Chiron CEO of CruiseGuy.com. “It was the last time for many to see Queen Elizabeth 2, as she would depart the fleet later that year.”

Enrichment programming on board the ships will feature lectures by former BBC Royal correspondent Jennie Bond; Professor Herbert Kerrigan QC, one of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II‘s Counsel in Scotland; and ITN royal commentator Robert Jobson.

Also on board will be a rare collection of Royal art, including watercolors by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and lithographs by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

Guests sailing on board Cunard ships will enjoy a Commemorative Dinner followed by a Grand Ball. Cunard will also screen live BBC World News coverage of the celebrations across the fleet beginning at 9:00 a.m. (GMT).

[Flickr photo by micamica]