London’s palaces are strongly associated with the royal family. Therefore, London has something to object to the guests from St. Petersburg: “Peterhof, fountains, lions? And we have a queen living here, can you see the flag well? According to populationmonster, London is one of the largest cities in United Kingdom.
No matter how much you talk about the fact that the palace itself is small, grayish and boring, and the line of tourists does not dry out. The Queen leaves for Scotland for only a couple of months – usually in August-September. All this time the entrance to the ceremonial halls is open to visitors. They can also be launched on odd days when the royal person is away (this is indicated by a flag lowered over the palace). For inspection, the Green Living Room, dining room, throne room, gallery are opened. Sometimes exhibitions are held, at the exit there is a souvenir shop.
Around the palace it is sometimes not crowded, that is, not to approach the fence. This happens during the changing of the guard hours (at 11:30 every other day). Tourists are happy to take pictures of the guardsmen in high bear hats and at all other times. Still, the immovable symbol of royal Britain. On the square in front of the palace, you can also see mounted policemen in no less interesting headdresses.
Like Buckingham Palace, this palace is open to the public for a limited period of time – from early August to mid-September, when the parliamentarians sitting here go on vacation. The building was built back in the 11th century, it was completely restored after a fire in the second half of the 19th century. So this is not a fierce antiquity, but a “pseudo-Gothic” style. If Buckingham is famous for the queen, then Westminster is famous for the nearby Big Ben. I wonder which of them is more recognized “by sight” outside of England?
Another royal residence, this time the private quarters of the royal family. You have to watch the flag to see if you can get inside. As a rule, none of the royal persons are present during the week, but on the weekends the flag can proudly flutter. According to the strict royal schedule, Elizabeth lives here in March, April and a week in June.
This is an old fortress (11th century), which looks like a fortress should look like. Here is a classic park with royal gardens. Inside there are dozens of interesting places (which is worth only Queen Mary’s dollhouse, ceremonial interiors of St. George’s Hall or Waterloo Hall, chapels, heraldic sculptures).
A visit to Windsor (and without the queue for entry, which can stretch for an hour or more) is included in the London Pass attractions program.
This miniature palace in the city center can also be viewed with a London Pass to skip the line. The palace became a royal residence from the 17th century; younger members of the royal family lived and live in it. Today it is the official residence of the most famous couple in the world – William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. This is where Prince Harry lives.
The palace is distinguished by Victorian interiors, objects of art (for example, frescoes of the 16th century with images of the royal court); around it there are 20 hectares of garden and here is a unique greenhouse. This is a real Mecca for everyone who is not indifferent to the royal house. The palace has a separate exposition of royal outfits from the end of the 18th century to the present day. It was Kensington Palace that remained the home of Princess Diana: her wedding dress is on display.
London for kids
London is very friendly to children of all ages. Its parks, squares, museums, even the main attractions are designed for the fact that they will play and run around here, on foot and in a wheelchair.
One of the largest royal parks in London, Regent’s Park, as well as St. James’s Park, Hyde Park or Green Park, is perfect for walking with children: everywhere there are playgrounds, ponds with unusual waterfowl, impudent squirrels, flower beds, rose gardens, lawns for recreation.
The “big” zoo is now located in Whipsnade (remaining, however, a branch of the London one), and glazed enclosures are compactly grouped here. A pool with penguins, a serpentarium, pygmy hippos, tropical birds, a “room” of nocturnal animals – these are just a small part of the inhabitants of the London Zoo. There are games and tasks for children, but visitors often say that the entrance fee is too high.
Three of London’s most popular museums (Natural History, Science and Victoria and Albert), which are located next to each other, are also aimed at children: everything spins, opens, buzzes and invites to play. Many animals and dinosaurs in the Museum of Natural History are, in fact, mechanical toys, and the diplodocus can even be changed backlighting. Once in the department where experiments are carried out, the child receives a badge and instructions (including in Russian). The Victoria and Albert Museum is a treat for older kids, with outfits, decorations, and ceremonial weapons on display.
The British Museum has children’s days and programs for children. Starting from primary school age, children, as a rule, are already sent to get acquainted with mummies. And in the souvenir shop there are a lot of toys – pencil cases, sarcophagi, ancient swords and much more.
Not only can you take a ride on the London Eye, the price also includes a short 4D film: views of London taken from above. The huge wheel makes a circle in about 30 minutes.
Near the London Eye, DreamWorks Tours Shrek Adventure opened in summer 2015: another interactive experience in which 4D animation works together with live actors, and visitors act as spectator participants and, together with a donkey, search for Shrek. The organizers claim that their park is designed for children aged 5 to 12, but in fact, after 10 years, children get bored here.
Thorpe Park is an extreme amusement park located in the suburbs, about 32 km from London. Here, on the contrary, there is nothing for children under 12 to do, but it is one of the five parks in the world with the “coolest” slides. Legoland, built in Windsor (43 km from London, can be combined with a visit to the castle), will be interesting for both children and adults. The main attractions are aimed at children from 3 to 12 years old. Finally, the Harry Potter Amusement Park at Warner Bros. If in a similar park in Florida (USA) the emphasis is on rides and “magical” effects, then genuine scenery is demonstrated here: Dumbledore’s office, potions class, library, Hogwarts interiors, Diagon Alley, etc.