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

Five famous fathers: Visit where they lived with their children

For a Father’s Day nod to famous fathers, it seemed apropos to do a post on Father’s Day travel with a twist. Read a biography of famous men and it may take more than a few paragraphs to get to their children. The children seem tucked in between those details that made a man famous. Regardless how much or how little press is given to the offspring, there are landmarks where these men lived with the people who helped keep their legacies alive.

Although these are the sites we head to to find out about what made these men tick as contributors to the rest of us, they are also the places that children called home, and where the men who might have tucked them in at night were called “Dad” (or “Papa,” or “Father” or “Pops” or some other variation) by those people whose tiny hands they once held in their own.

Here are five men through history who have had an influence on the world and where you can visit where they lived with their children. From humble houses to elaborate palaces, here are five places where you can imagine the varied conversations that happened within the walls–the type that only fathers and children share.

1. Henry VIII (Religion)–Hampton Court Palace, London. This Tudor palace is where King Henry 8th of England, with a penchant for beheading his wives, lived the most. It’s a gorgeous piece of architecture with a fascinating history and a remarkable maze in the garden. Henry’s three children used this palace as a haven after they became adults as well. Son Edward was christened in the chapel and Mary spent her honeymoon here. Henry died when Edward was nine. The two daughters were older. Henry’s desire to divorce his wives led to the England’s shift away from Roman Catholicism.

2. Abraham Lincoln (Politics)–Lincoln Home National Historic Site, Springfield, Illinois. This is a hallmark year to visit the house where Lincoln lived with his family prior to becoming president. Take a guided walk in the neighborhood where Lincoln took strolls, probably with sons Robert, Willie and Tad (son Edward died.) Lincoln brought the North and South back together.

3. Claude Monet (Art)–Monet’s House and Gardens, Giverny, France. Monet moved to this lovely farm with his family and lived here for 43 years. Here he painted is famous works connected to Impressionism and provided a haven of art and creativity for his brood made up of eight children. When you look at Monet’s studio where he painted, inspired by the garden on the property, imagine what his children saw and how the smell of paint and flowers were prominent in their lives.

4. Martin Luther King Jr.(Civil Rights)–Dexter Parsonage Museum, Montgomery, Alabama. Visit the house where Martin Luther King Jr. lived where he was a young pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist church. This is where he was living with his four children and wife when someone threw a bomb onto the porch. You can still see the damage. No one was hurt. The house looks as if the King family just stepped outside for a moment. It’s a step back in time for sure. King’s message of equality provides hope and drive to those who are struggling for equal rights. If it wasn’t for him, and those who rallied behind his words, where would we be?

5. Elvis Presley (Music and Popular Culture) Memphis, Tennessee–Graceland. No matter what a person thinks of the over-the-top decor of Graceland, it’s the place where Elvis felt at home and he lived with his wife Priscilla and daughter, Lisa Marie until Priscilla moved out, taking Lisa Marie with her. Still, this is the home where Lisa Marie can still go to remember her dad who made a big time impact on popular culture and music. The photo is of Lisa Marie’s swing set in the back yard.