Buckingham Palace needs no introduction. Perhaps the most famous building in London if not the world, the Queens official Residence was originally known as Buckingham House. That building at the core of today’s palace was a large townhouse built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1703. During the 19th century it was enlarged, with three wings around a central courtyard. It is the Queen’s official royal residence in London and headquarters for the British monarchy. It’s also the focal point for the ceremonious changing of the Guard (pictured).
St James’s Palace
Located on Pall Mall St James’s Palace Built by Henry VIII in the 1530s on the site of a former leper hospital and was extensively remodelled in 1544. It was once the most senior palace in London and saw service to three royal families; The Tudors, The Stewarts and The Hanoverians. Elizebeth Tudor spent much of her life here and Charles Stewart was born in the Palace. George III declared St Jame’s Palace was not fit for purpose, moving to Buckingham House, the predecessor to Buckingham Palace in 1762.
built in 1827 Clarence House is immediately opposite St James’s Palace. It was commissioned by the Duke of Clarence who in 1830 became King William IV. Clarence House has been the London residence of Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall Since 2002 . The House was also London residence of Charles’ sons Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex before their marriages in 2010 and 2018.
This wide avenue runs 0.93km / 0.58 mile between Buckingham Palace at its western end through Admiralty Arch to Trafalgar Square at its eastern end. The road surface is red to give the effect of a giant red carpet leading up to Buckingham Palace. The Mall has been used for many state occasions including the annual ‘Trooping the Colour’, royal occasions. Perhaps its most famous outing was when huge crowds congregated outside Buckingham Palace to celebrate VE day (the end of World War II in Europe) in the presence of the Royal Family.
The iconic square at the other end of The Mall from Buckingham Palace. As you travel through Admiralty Arch a grand public space with fountains and ornate lions and grand statues comes into view. Nelson’s Column stands pride of place in the middle of the square and The imposing facade of the National Gallery provides a backdrop.
Churchill War Rooms
Hidden beneath the streets of Westminster, history was made in Churchill War Rooms. The underground nerve centre that allowed Britain’s leaders to plot the allied route to victory during the Second World War. Explore the inner workings of war time parliament as we explore the map room, the cabinet room where parliament met and even Winston Churchill’s bedroom.
Number 10 Downing Street is the official residence and place of business of the Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and number 11 the residence of The Chancellor of the Exchequer. This leafy street normally has media camped along its narrow pavement and we might even catch a glimpse of the PM as we take in the view from the security gate.
Houses of Parliament & Big Ben
The epicentre of British Politics, the ‘Palace of Westminster’ serves as the meeting place for both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.
Built in 1859 Big Ben is often used to refer to the clocktower within parliament, but in fact is the name of the bell inside the tower, which weighs 13.5 tonnes. One of two towers within the wider complex, it is an iconic and historic part of the London skyline. In 2012 the tower was renamed ‘Elizabeth Tower’ to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II.
The London Eye
Originally named ‘The Millennium Wheel’ the London Eye is a large rotating observation wheel on the South Bank. Conceived and designed by Marks Barfield Architects it is one of many projects built around the Uk to commemorate the millennium in 2000. The Eye recently celebrated its 20th birthday.