Royal LondonBuckingham Palace The Mall, SW1
The London residence of the Queen. Open for (pricey) tours of the State Rooms, including the Throne Room, from early August to early October. Details at www.royal.gov.uk.
Tube: St. James Park, Victoria
Windsor Castle Windsor, Berkshire (20 miles from Central London)
Windsor Castle, an official residence of The Queen, has been a royal palace and fortress for over 900 years and is still a working palace today. The imposing towers and battlements of the Castle loom large from every approach to the town, creating one of the world's most spectacular skylines. No other royal residence has played such an important role in the nation's history. The State Apartments are furnished with treasures from the Royal Collection including paintings by Holbein, Rubens, Van Dyck and Lawrence, fine tapestries and porcelain, sculpture and armour.The Drawings Gallery focuses on displays with specific themes and a changing selection of Old Master Drawings from the Royal Library, including world-famous works by Leonardo da Vinci, Hans Holbein and Canaletto. A palace in miniature, Queen Marys Dolls House is the most famous dolls house in the world. Built to a scale of 1:12 by master craftsmen in the 1920s, everything in the house is perfection.
Train: To Windsor from London Waterloo Station or London Paddington Station. By coach: To Windsor from London, Green Line operates daily services from Victoria Coach Station. Open: Every day, March - October 09:45 - 17:15, 31 November - February 09:45 - 16:15. Tel, (+44) (0) 1753 869898
Hampton Court Palace East Molsey, Surrey, KT8
Begun by Cardinal Wolsey, who found it expedient to offer it to Henry VIII, this magnificent red-brick Tudor Palace is set in extensive formal and informal gardens beside the Thames. Visit the popular hedge maze, and the state apartments, with work by Christopher Wren and carvings by Grinling Gibbons. See if you can spot the ghost of Catherine Howard, Henry's fifth wife, who is said to haunt the palace.
Rail: Hampton Court (from Waterloo), or by Waterbus from Westminster Pier, Richmond, or Kingston.
Kensington Palace Kensington Gardens, W8
The royal residence here was redesigned by Christopher Wren for William and Mary in 1689. The State Apartments and the Court Dress Collection are open to the public, along with the sunken gardens. See the room where Queen Victoria was born, and paintings and furniture from the Royal Collection.
Tube: Queensway, Bayswater, High Street Kensington
Royal Mews Buckingham Palace Road, SW1
Houses the royal vehicles, including carriages, horses, and equestrian gear. The 1910 Glass Coach is used for royal weddings, but the prize of the collection is the Gold State Coach (1762), used for coronations.
Destination guides by kind permission of Britain Express