The Royal Palaces of London
With four great royal palaces to chose from a short break to London can be a memorable holiday.
Your visit begins with an audio tour of the State Rooms, the heart of the working palace and lavishly furnished with some of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection. Included is the special exhibition Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration.
The guided Highlights Garden tour includes the Herbaceous Border, the summer house, the Rose Garden and views of the Waterloo Vase and Palace tennis court, where King George VI and Fred Perry played in the 1930s. The 39-acre garden has always played an important role in the private and public lives of the royal family, and is today the setting for The Queen’s Garden Parties. Described as ‘a walled oasis in the middle of London’, it boasts more than 350 types of wild flower, over 200 trees and a three-acre lake.
A visit to Buckingham Palace lasts approximately two hours and guided tours of the garden last 45-minutes. There will be time after the State Rooms tour to enjoy refreshments in the Garden Cafe on the West Terrace (not included in the package price).
Hampton Court Palace
Meet Henry VIII and enter a living Tudor world meeting many of his courtiers along the way. Feel the heat in the vast Tudor Kitchens and the eerie chill of the Haunted Gallery in this magnificent riverside palace. Then take a stroll through the elegant Baroque apartments and gardens of William III and Mary II.
Kensington Palace, a palace of secret stories and public lives has been influenced by generations of royal woman. Experience life as a 17th and 18th century royal courtier whilst making your way through the magnificent King’s and Queen’s State Apartments adorned with magnificent paintings from the Royal Collection. Victoria Revealed, set within the rooms Victoria lived as a child, this exhibition explores her life and reign as wife, mother, Queen and Empress.
There is also a wonderful exhibition of famous dresses and gowns including those of Princess Diana.
Kew Palace and Gardens
Few attractions offer the variety and spectacle of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew where 326 acres, four of them under glass, contain the world’s largest and most diverse collection of living plants, with over 30,000 types of plants represented. The famous glasshouses ensure a fascinating visit even in winter: the world’s oldest living pot plant in the Palm House, ten climatic zones – from steamy rain forest to arid desert- in the Princess of Wales Conservatory and exquisite mountain terrain plants in the Davies Alpine House. In February the Princess of Wales Conservatory is transformed for Kew’s annual Tropical Extravaganza with spectacular displays of orchids and other exotic flowering plants. Heritage trees dating back to the 18th century can be seen in Kew’s arboretum while the Rhizotron and Xstrata Treetop Walkway gives a bird’s-eye view of the surrounding tree canopy.
Kew Palace (open April to September) offers visitors a rare insight into the domestic life of George III and his family. A tour on the Kew Explorer land train allows visitors to hop on and off throughout the tour at any of its seven stops or to relax during the full 40 minute tour to the furthest corners of the Gardens. There are three art galleries to enjoy including the country’s only gallery devoted to botanical art. Kew has four catering outlets providing a range of freshly prepared food to suit all tastes. Discounted meal vouchers available to groups to buy in advance. There are two shops stocking a range of quality products, many exclusive to Kew.