Following the passing of the beloved long-reigning Queen Elizabeth II, there is likely to be renewed interest in the Royal Family and Royal residences of Great Britain. There are a large number of palaces, castles, and houses occupied by the Royal Family around the United Kingdom and many of them are open to the public.
Queen Elizabeth II was Britain's longest reigning monarch in history and was the first to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee just earlier this year. She was perhaps the most loved and respected monarch of modern times and will be sorely missed. Later, King Charles will be officially coronated as King Charles III and Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and more will proclaim "Long Live The King, God Save The King."
What To Know About The Royal Residences Of The United Kingdom
Prospective visitors should note that following the death of Queen Elizabeth II and with the coronation of King Charles III coming up, many of these residences are closed to the public until further notice.
Anyone planning to visit any of the Royal residences should check their websites or the Royal Collection Trust for current opening information.
Perhaps the most famous Royal residences are Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, Scotland. These are also the three official residences of the reigning monarch (formerly the Queen and now King Charles III).
- Official Residences: Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Palace of Holyroodhouse
While they are the official residences, they are far from the only Royal residences. For example, Balmoral Castle is not an official Royal residence but is where the Queen was residing and passed away in September 2022.
It is not possible to list out all the Royal residences open to the public in this article — there are 12 residences open to the public in London alone (some of which are former Royal residences).
This article will only discuss the three official residences. Other notable residences include Balmoral Castle, Sandringham House, Palace of Westminster, and Hillsborough Castle.
Buckingham Palace - The Official Royal Residence Of London
Buckingham Palace is perhaps the most famous and most visited of all the British palaces. It is here that everyone flocks to see the iconic Changing of the Guard.
Buckingham Palace has been the official monarch's London residence since 1837. It is used for many official events and receptions held. The State Rooms at Buckingham Palace are open to the public every summer.
- Rooms: 775 Rooms (19 State Rooms, 52 Royal & Guest Bedrooms)
- Famous For: The Changing Of The King's Guard (Formerly Queen's Guard)
Even though Buckingham Palace may be closed to the public due to the death of the sovereign, it may be viewed from outside for free.
Windsor Castle - The Official Royal Country Residence
Windsor Castle is located just out of London and is easy to visit on a day trip from London and is reachable by train.
Windsor Castle is the longest-occupied Royal palace having had a castle there since William the Conquerer around 1,000 years ago. It has been continuously used by the English (later British) monarchy since King Henry 1 in the 1100s.
- Largest: It Is The Largest Occupied Castle In The World
- Longest: Occupied Royal Palace
Ordinarily, it is also open to the public and visitors are welcome to visit much of the complex. It is normally open from Thursdays to Mondays (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays).
The admission price is £23.50 ($32) per person.
As it is an official residence, the iconic King's (Queen's) Guard is also stationed there with their iconic red tunics and their bearskin tall fur caps.
Palace Of Holyroodhouse - The Official Royal Scottish Residence
The Palace of Holyroodhouse is located in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh at the opposite end of Edinburgh Castle. It has been the main royal residence in Scotland since the 16th century.
The 16th century dates back to the times of the Scottish Kings and Queens (predating the Union of the Scottish and English crowns in 1603).
Ordinarily visitors can visit the Palace of Holyroodhouse and explore the 14 magnificent historic and State Apartments, the ancient ruins of the 12th-century Holyrood Abbey, and the royal gardens. The palace is famous for Mary, Queen of Scots and her short reign.
The palace is normally closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays but is open on other days. The admission fee is £18.50 ($21.50) per adult.