TOP TEN THINGS TO DO

  1. Stroll through Trafalgar Square (see Nelsons Column, Pigeons etc..) to Piccadilly Circus (see sidewalk artists) to Leicester Square, and walk up Charing Cross Road 1 block (see famous bookshops) – [3 hours]
  2. Stroll through Covent Garden (see Piazza, Actors Church, Punch & Judy plaque, shop at Market) – [3 hours]
  3. Watch the Changing of the Guard and tour Buckingham Palace – [4 hours]
  4. Tour Westminster Abbey – [2 hours]
  5. Tour St. Paul’s Cathedral – [2 hours]
  6. Stroll through the Tower of London and tour the Crown Jewels – [3 hours]
  7. Drive past the Houses of Parliament, walk around Downing Street (No. 10 is Prime Ministers residence) – [1 hour]
  8. Stroll through Kensington, spend a couple of hours inside Harrods (see Egyptian Hall) – [3 hours]
  9. Tour Kensington Palace – [2 hours]
  10. On a Saturday morning, cab to Portobello Road market, stroll downhill through market (shopping), and get a return cab at bottom of hill – [4 hours]

SIGHTSEEING

Buckingham Palace– The official residence of Queen Elizabeth II, Buckingham Palace has been opening its doors to visitors for the last few summers. Originally acquired by King George III for his wife Queen Charlotte, Buckingham House was increasingly known as the ‘Queen’s House’ and 14 of George III’s children were born there. On his accession to the throne, George IV decided to convert the house into a palace and employed John Nash to help him. Nash doubled the size of the house with the addition of a new wing in the French Neo-classical style favored by George IV. Marble Arch was also constructed in celebration of the victories at Trafalgar and Waterloo. However, by 1829, the cost of reconstruction had escalated to nearly half a million pounds and Nash lost his job.

Queen Victoria was the first sovereign to live in Buckingham Palace (from 1837) but found it lacked sufficient bedrooms, so Marble Arch was moved to its current location and a fourth wing was added. The present forecourt (where the changing of the guard takes place) was constructed in 1911 as part of the Victoria Memorial scheme. Work on Buckingham Palace was completed just before the outbreak of World War One.

Visitors are permitted access to the State Rooms which are still used by the Royal family to receive and entertain guests on state and ceremonial occasions. Decorated in lavish fashion, they include paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens and Canaletto, Sévres porcelain and some of the finest English and French furniture in the world.

Buckingham Palace is open to visitors each summer.
Timed tickets operate between 09:30-16:30.
Buy your tickets in the Mall at white kiosk near the statue
Tube: Green Park.
Credit Card Hotline: 020 7321 2233.
Entrance: Adult: £11.50, Students and Snr Citizens: £9.50, Child: £6.00, Under 5s: FREE.

WHILE AT THE PALACE, ALSO VISIT:

The Royal Mewsmoved to Buckingham Palace during the 1760s, were rebuilt by Nash in the 1820s and remain some of the finest working stables in existence. The magnificent gilded state carriages and coaches, together with their horses and equipage, are housed here, including the most famous coach, the Gold State Coach, used as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2002.

Adult £5.00 GBP Children 5-16 £2.50 GBP

Changing the Guard– Ever since 1660 Household troops have guarded the Sovereign Palaces. The Palace of Whitehall was the main residence until 1689 and was guarded by the Household Cavalry. (They can still be seen here today; outside Horse Guards Arch). The court moved to St James’s Palace in 1689. When Queen Victoria moved into Buckingham Palace (1837) the Queen’s Guard remained at St James’s Palace and a detachment guarded Buckingham Palace, as it does today. The Changing of the Guard takes place inside the railings of the forecourt to Buckingham Palace. The Foot Guards provide a colourful display in their red tunics and bearskins and are accompanied by a band throughout. During the 45 minute ceremony the New Guard replaces the Old Guard and a detachment is left at Buckingham Palace with the remaining New Guard marching on to St James Palace. For a good view, get there early and position yourself near the railings or the Victoria Memorial. The Queen`s Guard, accompanied by a band, arrives from Wellington Barracks having marched via Bird Cage Walk to the palace.

The Changing of the Guard takes place daily at 11.30am and lasts approximately 45 minutes.
Tube: Victoria, St James’s Park or Green Park.
Entrance: Adult: £11.50, Students and Snr Citizens: £9.50, Child: £6.00, Under 5s: FREE.

Covent Garden– what started out in the seventeenth century as London`s first luxury neighborhood is once more a highly desirable place to live, work and shop. Inigo Jones designed the piazza in 1632. At the heart of the piazza lies the famous market. The large glass covered building comprises several arcades of fashionable boutiques, cafés and an arts and crafts market. In the open piazza jugglers, mime artists, variety acts and musicians delight and amaze the crowds. Re