5 Rewarding ways to experience St Paul’s Cathedral London
A landmark of London, St Paul’s Cathedral is one of the most visited attraction and it never fails to leave visitors in awe. There are many rewarding ways to experience St Paul’s Cathedral London from a stand alone entry ticket with full access to all floors to private guided tours so you get to know of its history from a knowledgeable source. However, for great value for money tours, you could always combine a visit to St Paul’s Cathedral with a visit to other landmarks in London. In addition, you could purchase the London Pass for over several days so you could explore London at your own pace.
Whichever way you choose to learn more of St Paul’s Cathedral, the following 5 rewarding ways to experience St Paul’s Cathedral have been carefully selected to enhance and add value to your visit.
Entry ticket to St Paul’s Cathedral
Enjoy this famous landmark of London with a discounted entry ticket. This ticket gives you access to the Cathedral floor and its crypt, its three galleries, affording you panoramic views over London.
This option is suitable for visitors who wish to explore this beautiful Cathedral at their own pace. Nevertheless, 2 to 3 hours is recommended for a rewarding and immersive experience.
Combining St Paul’s Cathedral with other attractions in London
1 | Explore London on foot
Explore the City on foot and learn of London’s history. See 30 of London’s landmarks including the 1400 year old St Paul’s Cathedral.
This walking tour begins in Green Park, London and will take you through about 30 landmarks in London including:
Buckingham Palace | Trafalgar Square | Big Ben | Downing Street | Westminster Abbey | Whitehall | Houses of Parliament | London Eye | Shakespeare’s Globe Theater | London Bridge | Southwark Cathedral | The Shard | HMS Belfast | Square Mile | Tower Bridge | Tower of London
Your final stop is St Paul’s Cathedral where your guide will leave you to explore the Cathedral at your own pace. Entry to St Paul’s is included in this tour price
This tour takes approximately 6 hours and requires good footwear.
3 | Westminster + St Paul’s Cathedral Walking tour
This comprehensive walking tour takes you through the popular area of Westminster in London. Learn much from your knowledgeable guide before arriving at St Paul’s Cathedral where the tour guide leaves you to explore the Cathedral at your own pace.
Entry to St Paul’s Cathedral is included in this tour and is provided by our Trusted Partner, Viator, a Tripadvisor company.
4 | Enjoy London on a London hop-on hop-off bus tour
Design an itinerary on London and explore the city at your own pace with one of these great value for money hop-on hop-off bus experiences. Hop-on and hop-off as much as you like between six different bus routes for the duration of your ticket and explore on foot with free walking tours. See Buckingham Palace, Westminster, Piccadilly Circus, London Eye, Tower of London, and much more with this offer. This offer is subject to T & Cs as it depends very much on whether your purchase is for 24, 48 or 72 hours.
5 | Enjoy London with over 80+ attractions with The London Pass
Access over 80 attractions and one day of hop-on hop-off bus tour with this highly recommended discounted London Pass. Valid for the selected duration of 1 to 10 days (from first activation), the London Pass comes with a guide book packed with helpful tips, and maps, making this selection one of the many rewarding ways to experience St Paul’s Cathedral London.
The magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower of London are the most famous of British treasures. The Jewels are unique, embodying skilled craftsmanship, and is a collection of priceless objects collected since the 1660 Reformation, although some predates this particular period of English history. The collection of Jewels are used in royal ceremonies. Beyond the ceremonies, the Jewels represent religious, cultural and historical significance of the British Monarchy. These precious gems stay protected under the watchful eye of the Yeoman Warders within the walls of the most secure castle in the land, the Tower of London. In this article, you can take a peek at a selection of these famous and magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower and learn of its historical significance.
A little background to the Tower of London
The Tower of London is an internationally famous monument and a landmark in Britain. The thousand year old castle in the center of the City of London is famously known as a ‘fortress, royal palace and a prison’. The Tower was founded in the eleventh century following the conquest of William the Conqueror in 1066, to demonstrate the strength of the Normans. Building a fortress, the White Tower on the banks of River Thames was a strategic decision, both to protect the City of London from attacks and as a gateway to the City.
Collectively, the Tower of London has twenty-one towers, built around the White Tower which is a symbol of royalty. Constructed over the centuries, primarily between the eleventh and sixteenth century, the Tower encompasses layers and layers of defensive structures to protect the City. The Tower of London has also been the setting for key historical events such as the execution of three English queens, missing young princes and notable high-status prisoners.
The grounds of the Tower are home to some outstanding buildings as well. Notable ones are the Fusilier Museum, the Jewel House in the Waterloo block, Queen’s House and the Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula.
1. #The Jewel House | Magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower of London
The Jewel House is an extraordinary 14th century vault in the Waterloo block. Also known as the Jewel Tower, it was built between 1365 and 1366 which means it is around 653 years old. Initially built to house King Edward III’s jewels and treasures, the Jewel House carried the passionate tag as the “King’s Privy Wardrobe”. The Waterloo block was also formerly a barracks and underwent extensive renovations, with the most recent refurbishment being in 2012. It was officially opened in 1994 by Queen Elizabeth II.
Today, the Jewel House stands to protect a collection of 23,578 gemstones, representing the symbol of British Monarchy. These magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower are still used in ceremonies such as the State Opening of Parliament. The Crown Jewels signify the royal authority to lead and protect the nation.
If you are passionate about history, a visit to the Jewel House will not disappoint. Your visit will take you through three different rooms of exhibitions where you will see the magnificent Crown Jewels so beautifully laid out within a high-security vault. The highlights of the exhibition are the Coronation Spoon which is said to originate during the second half of the 11th century, the Sword of Spiritual Justice that is identified as being from the early 17th century, the Plymouth Fountain from c. 1640 and many, many more. My favourite, without a doubt was the Koh-i-Noor (see below).
2 | Some of the magnificent Crown Jewels exhibited when I visited the Tower of London
The diamond has a long history, going way back to the colonial conquest of India. It also carries with it a curse when passed down from men to men, but the most popular drama attached to this infamous stone is the controversy of its origin and the ownership of the Koh-i-Noor. India would like to have it back. For a full historical background to this controversy, you may wish to read and/or purchase Koh-i-Noor: The History of the World’s Most Infamous Diamond
“This exquisite spoon is an 11th century Coronation spoon used in the anointing of the monarch with holy oil. It was returned to Charles II by the man who bought it in the sell-off, who wished to get back into the new king’s good books. Thanks to him, this medieval spoon survives, alone among the sacred regalia.”
“Sword with a gilt-iron hilt with a wooden, wire-bound grip, the escutcheons of the guard triangular and rather sharply pointed, with a steel blade, struck with a maker’s mark at the top and incised further down with a “running wolf” mark, and with a velvet-covered scabbard with gold embroidery and silver-gilt mounts. This sword, known as the Sword of Spritual Justice, is one of three swords which are carried unsheathed, pointing upwards, in the coronation procession. This sword is accompanied by the Sword of Temporal Justice and the Sword of Mercy (with a blunted tip).
The practice of carrying three swords, representing kingly virtues, dates back to the coronation of Richard the Lionheart in 1189. The three swords were made for the coronation of Charles I in 1626 and then placed with the regalia in Westminster Abbey.
Together with the coronation spoon, these three works were the only pieces to survive the Civil War and Interregnum untouched. It is not known whether they were used in the coronation procession of Charles II, but they have certainly been used since 1685. A new scabbard was made for the sword in 1821 for the coronation of George IV”.
“A Baroque silver-gilt fountain with four spreading basins, repousse and chased with marine scenes and figures of Neptune, Amphitrite and infant tritons with sea-monsters, surmounted by a square column with figures of Neptune or nymphs in niches on each side, the finial cast as the figure of Venus with serpents about each arm, on a domed base with mermaid feet.”
“In historic inventories this piece was described as the earliest example of an English wine fountain. In fact, it is German, and has been attributed to the Hamburg goldsmith Peter Oehr I. Descriptions of it in use in the seventeenth century noted that it spouted coloured flames and perfumed waters. At that date the figure on the top was a male figure, either Atlas or Hercules, who may have held a dish which acted as a perfume burner. The fountain underwent considerable alteration in the eighteenth century when the figure of Venus was placed in the top, and the mechanism of the fountain fell out of use”.
“The fountain was presented to Charles II by the City of Plymouth in 1661 and is clearly identifiable in a contemporary account as, ‘a fountaine carved with rare art, curious figures, out of the tope perfumed fier did apeare and small pipes att the sides that sweet watters gushed forth.’ The ‘perfumed fier’ may refer to a pastille which was burnt in the pan held by the original Atlas/Hercules figure. The fountain was purchased by the City of Plymouth from Sir Thomas Vyner”.
“St Edward’s Crown is the most important and sacred of all the crowns. It is only used at the moment of crowning itself. This solid gold crown was made for the coronation of Charles II to replace the medieval crown melted down in 1649. This original crown was thought to date back to the 11th-century saint-king Edward the Confessor.
From 1661 to the early 20th century, this crown was only ever adorned with hired gems, which were returned after the coronation.
In 1911, St Edward’s Crown was permanently set with semi-precious stones for the coronation of George V.”
“Although this is one of the newer items in the regalia, the Imperial State Crown (1937) contains some of the most historic jewels in the collection, which have attracted many legends.
For example, the ‘Black Prince’s Ruby’, set into the cross at the front of the crown is actually a balas or spinel, a semi-precious stone said to be the same stone owned by Pedro the Cruel, King of Castile, before he gave it to Edward, Prince of Wales (known as the Black Prince) in 1367 as a reward for helping him defeat a rival in battle.
The Imperial State Crown is the crown that the monarch wears as they leave Westminster Abbey after the coronation. It is also used on formal occasions, most notably the State Opening of Parliament.
The Imperial State Crown contains 2,868 diamonds, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, 269 pearls and 4 rubies!”
“The Crown Jewels contain some of the world’s most exceptional diamonds, shown here with the blue Stuart Sapphire.
This sapphire was reputedly smuggled out of the country by James II when he fled in 1688. It now adorns the back of the Imperial State Crown (1937).
The magnificent Cullinan I (top left, 530.2 carats) is the world’s largest top quality white cut diamond. The huge uncut stone was discovered in South Africa in 1905, and was cut to create nine major stones and 96 smaller brilliants in all. Cullinan II (bottom right, 317.4 carats), the second largest stone, is now set into the front band of the Imperial State Crown.
The history of the Koh-i-Nûr (or ‘Mountain of Light’) diamond is steeped in myth and anecdote. Discovered in 15th-century India, it was passed from ill-fated male hand to hand, until it earned a reputation of bringing bad luck to men. It was presented to Queen Victoria in 1849. It now adorns the front of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother’s Crown (1837)!
My Timeless Footsteps says: To view the magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower, buy the entry ticket to the Tower of London. The entry ticket to the Tower includes entry to the Jewel House. It is reasonably priced at £25.00 (Adult) and £12.50 (Child). It is valid for one day.
Pro tip: Note that the magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower is a popular attraction. You may encounter a long queue at most times. I would recommend that you plan your visit to view the Crown Jewels at the Jewel House either for first thing in the morning or later in the afternoon to minimise waiting times. Other attractions within the Tower such as the White Tower, Bloody Tower and the Fusilier Museum are easily visited without a queue.
Practical information to consider when visiting the Crown Jewels at Tower of London
The Exhibition is on ground level, no stairs whatsoever! Possibly wheelchair accessible.
Buying online is cheaper and convenient. Entry to Tower of London includes entry to the Crown Jewels Exhibition, the White Tower and the Beauchamp Tower.
My Timeless Footsteps says: Skip the line and buy your entry tickets here for a day. If you want flexibility with time and attractions, over several days, then buy a great value package here.
Places to Stay in London when visiting the magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower of London
Choices on accommodations in London are literally unlimited! From budget hostels, two or three star hotels to high-end hotels and apartments, it seems endless….
I have personally experienced the superb hospitality and quality and would highly recommend a stay at the Millennium Hotels and Resorts in London. Millennium Hotels are centrally located and within easy access of London’s transport network.
You could also take a look at the Radisson Hotels chain for accommodations ranging from upper upscale, mid-market, millennial lifestyle, hotels with a unique personality and story, as well as if you are travelling on business.
Activities to do in London when visiting the magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower
As with accommodations, the activities available to do in London are endless. A city that never sleeps, with transportation that works twenty-four hours a day, there is something you could do at any given time. Navigate to Discover London with Georgina and MyCityMyTown series for ideas and inspirations. If you are planning a visit during the festive season, Christmas in London has articles that will inspire you to move London to the top of your list!
A visit to London is never complete without a trip to the countryside or wider UK. A day trip from London is highly recommended as it adds value to your experiences of England and not just limited to London. Popular day trips are a visit to Windsor, home to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, an experience that will blow you away, or go on a little adventure to theIsle of Wight. If you are not restricted in time and wish to explore more of UK, then a visit to Scotland is highly recommended. There are many highlights in this amazing land of the fairies that will leave you speechless and an experience of the Highlands will stay with you forever.
My final say on the magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower
Having visited the magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower, I can confidently say that it was a highlight of my visit to the Tower of London. I would highly recommend that you too, walk in the footsteps of history and make a visit here as a bucket list experience. If you are a history nerd like me, you would not want to miss this historical paradise where so much history is attached to each piece of the remarkable magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower that takes you on a journey of British history. Do not let the queue put you off from visiting the Jewel House – just plan your visit and make the most of your day.
If you have enjoyed reading this article on the magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower, you may also like to read the following articles on the Tower of London and wider London:
Have you viewed the magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower? If so, please share your views in comments below, I would love to hear from you. If you have not visited the Crown Jewel, it is my sincere wish that this post is valuable to you in planning your visits to view the magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower of London. If so please let me know in comments below or via Contact Form, I would love to hear from you.
It does not take too long after Halloween for London to dazzle, dazzle, dazzle the skies and bring on the festive spirit in style. Experience the magic of Christmas in the heart of London. Christmas lights display in London is incredible and special. The dazzling array of winter lights all over London has brought a irrepressible sparkle and much festive cheer to brighten up winter nights. London’s sparkly winter destinations will be buzzing again. For some festive fun and cheer at Christmas, come over to London and experience the best 10 Christmas lights in London.
This article lists the best 10 Christmas lights in London you could visit during the festive season to experience the magical dazzling lights in London.
Georgina says: Get on your walking shoes and explore London City by night 🙂 The best time to view these lights and to capture good photos from various angles is in the evenings after the shops close for business. Less crowd. You could easily walk from one block to another (except the Winterfest in Wembley which is about 25 minutes train journey from central London and Kew Gardens which is about 30 minutes) to view. Most of my night-time photos in this article were taken between 10:00 pm and 01:00 am. I am sure you would love an adventure such as this too, if you so desire. I think this is an experience to top any list.
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Best 10 Christmas Lights in London – An Unbelievable Dazzling Array of Sparkles
Every year, the dazzling Christmas lights display in London are a must-see event. The following best 10 Christmas Lights is by no means an exhaustive list. However, it should top any list.
1 | Carnaby Street London Christmas Lights Display
Carnaby’s Christmas lights are always a special treat. The theme that Carnaby chooses to highlight each year relates to current issues that are close to people’s hearts.
In 2019 Carnaby chose a quirky underwater theme. It teamed-up with ocean conservation charity Project 0 for this sustainable display. The display featured bubble-blowing whale, glittering underwater creatures such as giant clusters of jellyfish and 200 illuminated vampire squid. All made using recycled and reusable materials.
The 2020 Christmas Lights display was another event that reflected the spirit of Londoner’s and what we have all been experiencing this challenging year. Carnaby teamed up with charity, Choose Loveto display a message of Hope and Kindness with bright pink neon lights. Each light displays a positively strong message such as ‘Give’, ‘Heart’, ‘Hope’, ‘Love’, just to name a few, making Carnaby Street as one of the best 10 Christmas lights in London.
In 2021, along with a partnership with Choose Love, a display of over 600 fluttering neon butterfiles illuminates Carnaby this Christmas.
FREE Event | November 4 2021 – Early January 2022 | Location: Carnaby Street, Soho | Nearest Station: Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road, Piccadilly Circus | Website: https://www.carnaby.co.uk/
2 | Regent Street Angels | Best 10 Christmas Lights in London
The glorious and amazing golden angels over Regent Street are back this year. Adding that glittering sparkle to our festive cheer in London. “The Spirit of Christmas” by Regent Street this year is better, bigger and dramatic representing “spirits” sweeping through the length of the street.
Looking up at the sweeping canopy of twinkling lights in varying shades of white creating a coordinated ripple effect is simply quite magical – making Regent Street sparkle and dazzle bright in the moonlight. This is one Christmas lights display that brings light, warmth and joy to everyone who come to experience Regent Street lights in London at Christmas. Switched on in the evenings only, from 4 pm to midnight to ensure a sustainable display.
FREE Event | November 14, 2021 to early January 2022 | Location: Regent Street, London | Nearest Stations: Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus, Tottenham Court Road | Website: https://www.regentstreetonline.com/
Christmas at Kew is a perfect festive winter event of magical light trail across its gardens. Their sparkling after dark trail holds new surprises each year for visitors young and old. A sell-out event, visitors can expect to enter a botanical world of magical colours and enchanting optics of a mile long of illuminations. The trail features trees with swirls of neon lights, glowing cherry blossom walkway, singing Rose Garden and so much more. The magical evening draws to a close with the Temperate House springing to life with illuminations. A dancing spectrum of colours to seasonal music envelopes the iconic glasshouse.
New in 2020 was a tunnel adorned with canopy of starry lanterns.
The 2019 highlight of “Waterfall of Lights” cascading from their 18 metre high Treetop Walkway with “spiralling columns of light cascading from the canopy above” made a return for 2020. Another firm favourite year on year, Cathedral of Lights made a return as well.
This truly mesmerising experience is one not to miss as well, if you are in London.
Christmas at Kew is a ticketed event. Tickets must be purchased in advance. You can select a time slot that is convenient for you at the time of purchase.
Ticketed Event | Location: Kew, Richmond, London, TW9 3AE | November 17, 2021 – January 9, 2022 | 4 pm – 10 pm | Nearest station: Kew Gardens, Disctrict Line on the Richmond branch | Website: Christmas at Kew 2022 for tickets availability and related information.
4 | Oxford Street London Christmas Lights Display
You know Christmas is here when you are in Oxford Street. The amazing seasonal window displays line up the infamous shopping street in the world and the sparkly lights above you.
In 2019, Oxford Street installed new and spectacular lights. The display featured 27 LED light curtains, made up of 222,000 sparkling lights draped over the length of the shopping street. In 2021 the lights were a tribute to NHS staff and key workers, with the name of a nominated ‘Hero’ appearing on lights display.
FREE Event | 2021 lights are here! November to early January 2022 | Nearest Stations: Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road, Bond Street, Marble Arch and Piccadilly Circus | Website: https://www.oxfordstreet.co.uk/
As you walk along Oxford Street, look at the side roads too. The incredible Christmas lights display in Bond Street and South Molton Street are not to miss.
5 | New Bond Street | Best 10 Christmas Lights in London
New Bond Street, a glamorous part of London looks even more flamboyant with its giant illuminated peacock feathers.
The lights are technically white but radiate a dash of blue hues, illuminating the whole street.
As one of the best 10 Christmas lights in London, the magical lights at Bond Street does not just stop at brightening up the streets for the festive season, The window-displays of London’s grandeur shopping district adds sparkle and good cheer as the countdown begins for the reopening in December of their famed luxury boutiques, galleries and bars.
FREE Event | November 2021 – early January 2022 | Location: W1 | Nearest Underground Station: Bond Street – Central and Jubilee Lines | Website: https://bondstreet.co.uk/
6 | Mayfair/South Molton Street, London
There is no Christmas lights display in central London that is quite so sparkly blue as that in South Molton Street. A traffic-free shopping area, the street dazzles with starry-arches for pedestrians to walk through. These photogenic lights are not hung high up. You could walk up close and take a few selfies as festive memories.
Located just next to Bond Street Underground Station, you can’t miss it.
FREE Event | November 2021 – January 5, 2022 | Location: W1 | Nearest Underground Station: Bond Street – Central and Jubilee Lines
7 |Marylebone Village | Best 10 Christmas Lights in London
The sparkly lights are on in Marylebone Village. Bringing festive cheer and celebrations to the residents, businesses and visitors to this boutique filled neighbourhood.
FREE Event | Location: Marylebone, London | November 10, 2021 to early January 2022 | Nearest stations: Bond Street, Baker Street | Website: https://www.marylebonevillage.com/
8 | Kings Cross, London at Christmas
Kings Cross pulled out all the stops in 2020 by bringing not one but three unique Christmas trees together with all the festive finery. First though, you will find this illumination just outside Kings Cross Station.
8.1 | The Nemeton Tree, Granary Square
The Granary Square feature the 36ft high Electric Nemeton Tree, designed by local architecture practice, Sam Jacob Studios. It brings together the origins of Christmas tree traditions, a fairy-tale forest and the symbolism of midwinter tree with modern architecture.
Inspired by ancient Celtic religion, Nemeton or Nemeta (plural) were sacred spaces situated in natural environment, often involving trees. They were known as sacred groves, called Nemeton,
8.2 | Terrarium Tree at Coal Drops Yard, Kings Cross, London
At Coal Drops Yard, there is the sustainable creation Terrarium Tree by Botanical Boys.
The Terrarium Tree is 28 ft tall and feature 70 terrariums, each a living miniature garden surrounded by 168 mirrored baubles. Each comes in varying sizes.
8.3 | People’s Tree, Battle Bridge Place, Kings Cross, London
The final piece at Battle Bridge Place is the People’s Tree.
It is interactive, and multicoloured. It illuminates by the sensory movements of people when they place their palm over the sensory button.
9 | St PancrasInternational, London and it’s Christmas cheer
In 2020, the magical Christmas tree at St Pancras, International was a beautiful 34ft high tree, dressed in pink. The ‘Tree of Hope’ pays tribute to the NHS and key workers who have carried the UK through the challenging times of 2020.
Adorned in 1200 metres of pink ribbons with printed messages of love, hope, and empathy together with a whimsical carousel at the base. Designed in partnership with EL&N, the tree carries a festive message ‘Wishing you a season of sweetness’ adding a festive feel to the somewhat quiet but a delightful concourse.
FREE Event | Location: Concourse, St Pancras International | 2021 TBC | Nearest station: Kings Cross St Pancras | Website: https://stpancras.com/
Christmas is on at Wembley Park, home to the iconic Wembley Stadium. In 2020, the scheduled Winterfest and the ‘Reflections of Future’ illuminations were postponed to November 2021, but the ‘United in Light’ Christmas display was on.
The theme ‘United in Light’ featured the hugely popular London’s tallest LED tree at the Royal Triangle, outside London Designer Outlet. In 2020, the tree was adorned with a very special design and a heartwarming message of unity, hope and joy, ‘Aurora Arbour’ by artist, Siân Bliss. ‘Aurora Arbour’ is based on the concept of movements of a winter night’s sky. We can all see the same sky even when we are separated. Watch the video at the top of this article for a virtual experience.
In keeping with the spirit of unity, hope and joy, the Christmas Lights Display at Wembley Park also featured an inspiring artwork by East London artist, Tash Randolph. The artwork reflect the strength of the community facing the pandemic together at a time when they are asked to stay apart.
Along with the spectacular tree, the neighbourhood was lit up with digital animations of sunrises, moon cycles and aurora borealis across Bobby Moore Bridge. As well, visitors can take that perfect photo for their Instagram feed in the designated selfie spots.
2021 sees the immersive winter light trail with the theme “Reunited in Light”
FREE Event | Location: Wembley Park, | November 24, 2021 – January 9, 2022 | Nearest stations: Wembley Park Station – Jubilee and Metropolitan lines; Wembley Central Station – London Overground Line | Website: https://wembleypark.com/christmas-wembley-park/
Practical points to consider when visiting the best 10 Christmas Lights in London
Here is a quick look at some practical points and travel resources to consider when planning your special timeless trip to London during the festive season.
Travel resources at a Glance
Planning your dream vacation? Excellent! Here are all the Resources and Practical information you need for your self-guided or guided vacation.
Legal entry/Tourist travel Visa
Check Visa requirements with iVisa, a leading independent company in the travel documentation industry.
I have a few choices. Search Google flights because they offer very competitive prices. You could also try Opodo for cheap airfares. For special experiences, go to On the Beach and Jet2Holidays. My all time favourite has been Qatar Airways for long-haul flights for the comfort and their first-class service. I use British Airways as well. For all other global deals >> kiwi.com
My favourite website for booking hotels is booking.com – I love their flexible cancellation policy which means I’m covered till the last minute. I also like that the totals show up for the whole stay so it helps me budget better. Other favourites of mine are Millennium & Copthorne Group of Hotels and Resorts for their consistent high quality accommodations and service. You could also take a look at the Radisson Hotels chain that caters for all budget. For accommodations in UK that has a personal touch and affordable luxury, stay at Hotel du Vin.
Unique experiences & tours
My all time go to resource for unique experiences and tours is Get your Guide. I am also a fan of Viator for their special deals. You shall find suggestions on recommended tours sprinkled throughout TTS on each experience I write about.
Never travel without travel insurance and never overpay for travel insurance! I use and recommend World Nomads for your travel insurance needs. They even insure on the go. Before purchasing any any travel policy, read through the terms to ensure that the plan is right for you and your trip.
Never travel without these! I use and fully endorse all the products on this page but especially: High powered wireless power bank, Universal travel adapter and unlimited portable pocket wifi.
Guided tours to add value to your visit:
I would also suggest that you check out some evening tours around the city of London. Organised activities add value to experiences and you learn so much from knowledgeable local guide. The following selected four are great and fun to go for:
London’s Christmas Lights | An Unmissable Festive Cheer
The Christmas season is one of the best times of the year to be in London. The streets of London dazzles, with brightness and warmth. London’s Christmas Lights are one of the greatest joys of Christmas as they fill people’s heart with festive cheer no matter the weather, come rain or shine. Most prominent displays and the unmissable London’s Christmas Lights are in Oxford Street, Regent Street, Carnaby Street, Covent Garden and in some prominent parks such as Kew Gardens.
Despite the current uncertain times, this year (2020) has made no difference. In fact, to kick-off the festive season, London Oxford Street and Carnaby Street have put up beautiful illuminations with heartwarming messages of Love, and Unity a little earlier than usual.
London’s Christmas Lights at Oxford Street
Though low keyed with no celebrities present (understandably), the unmissable London’s Christmas Lights in Oxford Street were switched-on just before lockdown 2.0 on Monday 2 November. The twenty-seven LED light curtains made up of twinkling lights drape the length of the premier shopping street in London. The lights burst into sparkling life with an uplifting message “To London with Love” .
Along with messages of goodwill, the Oxford Street Christmas Lights is dedicated to the Heroes of 2020. Every week, the display will feature the name of a “hero” – a person who has gone that extra mile to help others during Covid-19 pandemic 2020.
The first of London’s Heroes whose name was featured is Anis Ali, a NHS Volunteer Responder who completed an astounding 733 tasks since March while also holding down a full-time job.
Location: Oxford Strret, London
Getting here: Oxford Circus Station on the Central and Jubilee lines of the Underground
Carnaby is one of the most fashionable areas in the heart of London. The area covers fourteen streets, over one hundred shops, sixty restaurants, bars and cafes. Each year Carnaby chooses a theme and puts up a spectacular display of lights. This year’s dazzling display is one with a strong message of Love and Unity, in partnership with the charity Choose Love.
As from 2 November, the length of the Streets is immersed in a series of lightboxes of pink neon lights. The message on each of the lightboxes is positively powerful, paying tribute to the strength and courage of Londoners as well as the whole of UK. The messages of love and unity is an encouragement to continue with hope and kindness to each other.
The annual magical haven at Covent Garden is going ahead this year without the usual switching-on ceremony. The unique market offers visitors a very special shopping experience. From high-end names, market traders. and bespoke designers, you will find Christmas gifts for everyone.
The splendidness of the Christmas atmosphere is in the cobbled piazza and the market buildings that create a wonder-perfect backdrop for the twenty metre (sixty foot) Christmas tree. Decorated with some thirty thousand sparkling lights, the piazza glows! An unmissable Christmas lights experience in London for sure.
Location: Covent Garden
Getting here: Covent Garden Station on the Central, Northern and Piccadilly Underground lines.
Regent Street Christmas Lights is the largest festive display in the UK. The stunning Spirit of Christmas returns to celebrate the festive heritage of the upscale shopping district.
The illumination of more than three hundred thousand twinkling Christmas lights light up the skies of Regent Street and St James’ running from Oxford Circus all the way to Waterloo Place. It is a breathtaking sight and one that will have you in awe.
As with other Christmas Lights switching on ceremony, the annual grand event at Regent Street is cancelled. The lights will dazzle daily from 3:30 p.m. to midnight.
Location: Regent Street
Getting here: Oxford CircusUnderground Station: Victoria, Bakerloo & Central Line.
Piccadilly CircusUnderground Station: Piccadilly & Bakerloo Line
Regent Street Christmas Lights 2021 – November 12
Kew Gardens | An amazing magical trail of lights after dark
Kew Gardens at Christmas is one of the best times to visit. The grounds turn into an enchanted magical trail of lights taking you through dazzling sparkly tunnels, trees wrapped in glowing lights and a beautiful dynamic laser projections of Christmas colours on the iconic glasshouse. The grand finale at the Palm House Pond is a stunning light show playing to a festive soundtrack.
Christmas at Kew is a perfect destination for families, and couples, both young and old. Enjoy a festive evening with marshmallows, mulled wine and hot chocolate. Open from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Book a time-slot and purchase tickets in advance.
Location: Kew Gardens, Entrances at Victoria Gate, Lion Gate and Brentford Gate
Getting here: Kew Gardens Station on the District Line (Richmond branch)
Christmas at Kew 2021 – November 17 2021 through to January 9, 2022 | From 4 pm to 10 pm – Advance bookings only
Ways to Experience the Magical Christmas Lights in London
Admire the famous and magical Christmas Lights in Oxford Street and Regent Street by booking the following tour:
I sincerely hope that this article is valuable to you in planning your trip to London at Christmas so you can experience the unmissable London’s Christmas Lights. Plan ahead and book your accommodations in London, sign-up to guided tours with last-minute cancellation protection or buy the great value London Pass. TTS earns a commission for all qualified purchases at no cost to you at all. As always, your continued support is much appreciated in keeping this website running. As well, you could support in other ways also.
Why guided tours are sometimes necessary when we travel?
Why Tours are sometimes necessary when we travel?
When I travel, either with family or solo, I tend to plan my travels beforehand and spend some time researching on the type of organised tours that are available. Often these tours act as guides to explore the areas and beyond. More often than not when on a short getaway of about three or four days, I tend to join guided tours to explore a neighbouring country or another city. There are times I join a free city walking tour and at other times, I like the city guided tours organised by third party providers. For me, it makes sense to book one of these tours and I share my reasons with you:
1 | Tours prove to be good value for money.
Foremost, organised tours such as day trips often covers more than one destination and I get to experience these hassle-free. I don’t have to think of transportation costs from one place to another. [Read about our amazing day trip to Chamonix, France from Geneva ⇒ A Perfect Romantic 3-day Itinerary in Geneva
Value for money is not restricted to just day trips – Combined tickets are also excellent value for money. I buy these beforehand, online at least a couple of days prior so I know I am covered. Purchasing tickets online is often cheaper than buying it at the ticket office on the day.
2 | Not to be disappointed when I get there.
I was disappointed in Amsterdam – [Read about my experience in Amsterdam where I missed on visiting a major attraction because I did not plan and purchase a ticket for the visit prior to visiting Amsterdam ⇒ Amsterdam in a Nutshell – 18 Experiences in 48 Hours. AND in Milan even when I tried to get tickets a few days prior!
With these benefits in mind, I have carefully selected some tours through a third party provider which I use when I travel. I use Get Your Guide Tour group because they offer one of the best tours with excellent value for money. I say this knowing that they do because I have personally used them to organise my own tours and none has disappoint. I hope you will find these useful too.
Please note that these are suggestions to enhance your travel experience to and in London. Of course, feel free to choose more appropriate tours to suit your needs from the vast choices that GetYourGuide provide.
Is this post valuable to you in planning your visits to Greenwich and London? If so please let me know in comments below or via Contact Form, Also, if there is any other interests you have in Greenwich and London which you would like to explore, please let me know, and I shall find out relevant information for you. I look forward to hearing from you.
Have a splendid time exploring Greenwich and London.
Why Regent’s Park is the #1 garden with a total zen
Well, before I share my views on Why Regent’s Park is the #1 Garden with a total zen, I would like to ask you this.
When you work in a City like London, don’t you want to get away from it all every now and again, from the City’s fast-life? Sometimes, just for a little sunshine (if there is sunshine) fresh air and a place where you can have moments to yourself?
Well, there is a place, right in the middle of the City of London where you can do just that – Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill, which is one of the Royal Parks in London.
Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill
Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill is a large green space that offers a sanctuary for people who are constantly on the go with City’s hum-drum. Regent’s Park is different, from the other Parks in London because of its tranquil settings, beautiful landscape and the opportunity to catch either the sunset or the sunrise at Primrose Hill. There are flowers of all colours, roses especially, 12,000 of them, all named and planted in neat rows (more on this below). This is a place where you can spend hours admiring the sea of colours and enjoy the amazing fragrances. A total paradise.
For me, every visit to Regent’s Park had been a journey of new experiences and discovery, even more so on my recent visits which was part ofMyCityMyTown – London Series.
My favourite part of Regent’s Park
My favourite parts of the Park are the two gardens, the Avenue Gardens near Broad Walk and Queen Mary’s Garden in the Inner Circle. Here, I could grab a seat on one of the many benches available which are spaced-out, spend my day just people-watch, read a book or write my blog and do pretty much anything I like.
However, my recent discovery has changed some of that. There is not much people-watch in my “new” spot, although I can still have a bench and write my blog or read a book. The beauty of it is I can do so in the midst of the delightful sounds of water coming from the hidden waterfall, surrounded by a Japanese Garden, an area of total zen.
Queen Mary’s Garden in Regent’s Park
This secret area of total zen is in Queen Mary’s Garden, in the Inner Circle of Regent’s Park, named after Queen Mary, who was wife to King George V. It is world famous and has been opened to the public since 1932. To find this hidden waterfall, walk across this beautiful bridge ⇓⇓⇓ and follow the path and the sounds of the water to see this splendid mini waterfall.
Then, follow the path up around the waterfall to the top for a stunning view of below. There is a circular seating area at the top with benches for you to take a break or have a picnic. It is quiet, less people here and surrounded by lots of green vegetation, simple flowers and buzzy bees. The sounds of the water is calming, soothing and peaceful.
In addition to the Japanese Garden, Queen Mary’s Garden is also famous for its Rose Garden which was completed in 1934. It is presently home to 12,000 or so roses of 85 single varieties in a perfectly tended landscape. This is a place of total delight and an uplifting experience. There is a sense of romantic playfulness too, when you walk through the elegant sea of colours, roses of different colours, combination of colours in one rose, the vibrancy in these colours amidst the amazing fragrances. At every bed of roses, you will want to smell the sweet scent of the fragrance.
The garden is somewhat magical in the evening sunlight. It is a place you would want to return again and again just to capture the peacefulness that exists here. I can only share some of these beautiful sights and hope it will inspire you to visit this beautiful garden at some point.
Variety of roses in Queen Mary’s Rose Garden, Regent’s Park
Variety of roses in Queen Mary’s Rose Garden, Regent’s Park
Variety of roses in Queen Mary’s Rose Garden, Regent’s Park
Meet ‘Doris Day’
This lovely, full of sunshine, nicely perfumed of bright yellow roses with glossy mid-green foliage personifies the joyful, charming and amazingly talented “America’s Sweetheart” Doris Day. Named to celebrate her 90th birthday. These old-fashioned blooms form beautiful round clusters on vigorous stems and have a fruity and sweet spice aroma. You get to enjoy the gold yellow coloration until the petals drop. They are in bloom from June until hard frosts.
Meet ‘Golden Smiles’
This unfading, golden yellow garden rose blooms in large clusters, has long-lasting petals that will stay pert in poor weather. The large, glossy foliage is disease resistant. It blooms from spring until winter.
Meet ‘Blue for You’
The ruffled petals of this semi-double flowers are initially lilac with a blush white base, but as they mature, they turn slate blue. The stems are clothed in rich green foliage. They bloom quite freely, throughout the season.
There are other carefully tended, well-established flowers as well – The Delphinium, the Mediterranean and the Begonia Garden. There are about 9000 begonias which are planted twice a year. The entire landscape is perfectly planned, with shrubberies in strategic places to afford privacy to visitors and benches every 20-30 feet apart. There is a water-pond, tiny bridges and the encircled round of flowering shrubs. There is a sense of mystery too, as you turn every corner of these shrubs, not knowing what prettiness you might meet next.
I would highly recommend a visit to Queen Mary’s Garden.
The Avenue Gardens in Regent’s Park
The setting at Avenue Gardens, located near the Broad Walk is different to Queen Mary’s Garden. There are tree-lined path, tiered fountains, evergreen hedges, spring bulbs and summer bedding. There are ornamental bowls filled with flowers, some with year-round blooms. In the centre of the Avenue Gardens, sits a large circular stone bowl supported by four-winged stone lions, known as Griffin or Lion Tazza. More commonly called as simply the Lion Vase, it was installed in 1863 and recently underwent repairs during the restoration of the gardens (1993-1996).
Brief history on Regent’s Park
The green space which is now known as Regent’s Park (including Primrose Hill) was originally appropriated by King Henry VIII for use as a hunting ground. Often known as “the jewel in the crown,” it is in the heart of London and conveniently located (see useful information below on how to get here). It was only in 1646 that John Nash, an architect and friend of Prince Regent designed this vast circular-shaped of 197 hectares of green space to be a park as we know it today. The original plan was to build a summer palace surrounded by villas, a canal and a lake for the Prince but the summer palace was never built.
There are only 2 villas of Nash’s original conception here, St John’s Lodge and The Holme. St John’s Lodge was built in 1818 by John Raffield, is now a private residence.
Regent’s Park today
Today, Regent’s Park is many worlds away from Henry VIII’s hunting ground. Besides Queen Mary’s Garden and Avenue Gardens, it is home to the largest green space for sports, offering a wide variety of activities, an Open-Air Theatre, the London Zoo, and a selection of cafes and restaurants. It is also home to Regent’s University, an institution with academic excellence. It has an inviting tree-lined path, the gardens are beautifully tended, lots of flowers of different names and flowering shrubs that adds a little mystery as you turn a corner.
Regent’s Park today is a Wildlife sanctuary
Grey heron roaming freely in Regent’s Park, London
Regent’s Park is a wildlife sanctuary. Bird-watch has been taking place since 19th century and there are at least 200 different bird species listed. The mature trees here provide a home for species like Tawny Owl, Green Woodpecker and Kestrel whereas secluded shrubs provide nesting opportunities for tits, Robins, Blackbirds and other small birds.
The diversity of the grassland, woodland and the wetland support 21 species of butterfly and more than 230 species of moth. Hedgehogs still live here! As well as fox, grey squirrel, bats and woodmouse – these mammals form an unusual mix of inhabitants in a Central London park, so look-out for them when you are here. There are about ninety species of swans, geese and ducks that roam the waterways.
[NB: Feeding wildlife is strongly discouraged as it causes more harm than good].
Travel tips and Useful Information
Best Time to Visit Regent’s Park
The best time to see the blooms is in Spring but if you want to see the roses in all it’s glory, it will be the first two weeks in June. You can capture some fully bloomed and some just opening-up whilst some others still in their buds.
Entry : FREE
The Park opens at 5 a.m. and closing times varies in winter, spring and summer months. Please check https://www.royalparks.org.ukfor closing times when you plan to visit.
Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill are easily accessible by public transport.
The postcode for the park is NW1 4NR if you are using google maps or any other location app to find the Park. Just a word of caution, that this postcode is for guidance only as the park covers a large area.
The Tube stations closest to Regent’s Park are:
Regent’s Park (Bakerloo line)
Great Portland Street (Hammersmith & City, Circle & Metropolitan lines)
Baker Street (Hammersmith & City, Circle, Jubilee, Metropolitan & Bakerloo lines)
Thoughts on Regent’s Park, the #1 garden with a total zen
For me, Regent’s Park is a huge garden planned to perfection. The rich sights and scents of these marvellous plants are a delightful experience. The atmosphere is inviting and I think it will make you smile as it does me. The colours are vibrant, harmonious and lively. There are parts to this garden that are quiet, relaxing and provides an oasis to refresh, connect and rejuvenate. This is a place where stress and tension can melt away. A simple walk in this little paradise within a metropolis is therapeutic to the soul and will make you return again and again.
I sincerely wish that this post is valuable to you in planning your visit to Regent’s Park, London. If so, please let me know in comments below or via Contact Form, I would love to hear from you.
Have a splendid time enjoying the royal parks!
March 2021, Update
You may like to read the following articles on London
Kensington Palace – Why you should visit this 18th century historical gem
Kensington Palace – A Royal Residence
These days, Kensington Palace is the royal residence for the young royals, who are the direct descendants of Queen Victoria. The Palace is the official London residence for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. It was the former home of late Princess Diana. The Palace has a long history of being a residence for the British Royal Family since the 17th century when King William III and Queen Mary II took residence just before Christmas of 1689.
A little background to Kensington Palace
The building was originally a 2-storey Jacobean mansion in the village of Kensington which the Royal couple purchased in the summer of 1689. They then enlisted Sir Christopher Wren (1632-1723) to design and build a palace that was fit for a King & Queen. A few additions were made to Kensington Palace during the reign of King George I like the Privy Chamber and the Cupola Room. The mural on the walls of the King’s Grand Staircase was painted by William Kent during this period also (more on this below).
To know more of the Palace’s 300-year-old royal history and secrets, you can purchase the new book by Historic Royal Palaces, ‘Kensington Palace: Art, Architecture and Society’ which unfolds the Palace’s story from the time of its foundation to present state.
I was excited to visit this exhibition as I am a great admirer of Queen Victoria, as well as the Palace. It was a perfect opportunity as I haven’t been here for a few years, having only a faint memory of the artwork and the internal architecture of this beautiful palace.
Highlights of my visit to Kensington Palace London
I will share with you the highlights of the palace visit. I have also written several other blogs related to Kensington Palace which you can read more of by clicking the links provided at the end of this post. I think a visit here should be high on one’s list because the palace itself is an architectural delight and the gardens are splendid for a rest afterwards.
1 | The Cupola Room
The Cupola Room took me by surprise. I don’t recall visiting this room on my previous visits. I was completely and utterly lost for words when I saw the elaborate designs in this room and how splendidly it was decorated. It was different to the rest of the palace rooms. Designed by William Kent (1685 – 1748), who was commissioned by George I in the mid-1720s, he was involved in every aspect of the room’s design, furnishings and decorations
The room is Roman inspired four-sided dome with a steeply curved ceiling and a Garter Star in the centre.
1.1 | Temple of the Four Great Monarchies of the World
Right in the centre of the room is an ornate musical clock surmounted on a pedestal, called the ‘Temple of the Four Great Monarchies of the World’ which was purchased in 1743 by Princess Augusta and was placed in this room soon afterwards. The name of the clock refers to Assyria, Persia, Greece and Rome – the four great empires of antiquity. These are represented on each of the faces of the clock. I discovered that the clock’s mechanism to play music has stopped. The clock was designed by Charles Clay, a clockmaker who specialised in musical clocks in the form of miniature temples.
The walls are adorned with painted pilasters, marble chimney pieces and gold gilded statues. The whole room dazzles in the flickering candlelight – pure elegance.
You can read more about William Kent here, who went on to design the King’s Grand Staircase.
2 | This King’s Grand Staircase
The King’s Grand Staircase is the first link to the King’s State Apartments. The walls surrounding the staircase was painted by William Kent in 1720, depicting George I’s court.
This 18th century artwork is full of intriguing characters, about 45 of them including Kent himself with his mistress. It has presented historians with a puzzle because only 12 of them could be identified from records. This grandiose of a staircase is a “must-see” as you will be walking in the footsteps of royalty and the great and good of Georgian London, all 45 historic steps.
3 | The Ceilings in Kensington Palace
As you can imagine, there are many rooms here, such as the Privy Chamber, the Presence Chamber, the Kings Gallery, the King’s Drawing Room, the Queen’s Gallery, and the Queen’s Grand Staircase. In whichever room you are in, don’t forget to look-up, because you will marvel at some of these pretty sights 😊
My final thoughts on my visit to Kensington Palace
In short – Kensington Palace should be on your list!
Kensington Palace is one of the Royal Palaces I enjoyed visiting and the architecture in some of these rooms were mind-blowing. I would recommend that it should be on your list of places to visit in London. You can combine a visit to the Palace with a visit to the Palace Gardens and enjoy a Royal High Tea – a very popular and sell-out event!
I hope you would be inspired to visit, explore and discover the stories and secrets behind these walls.
Complete your visit to Kensington Palace with a Royal High Tea, Book your space using the link below. Only limited spaces available.
Royal Palaces and Royal Parks-MyCityMyTown London Series
MyCityMyTown London Series
The 3rd instalment is Here! To my fellow Adventurers who have been with me since January 2019, you are no stranger to this Series and thank you for your patience. For the Adventurers who are here for the first time, Hello and Welcome to my page. My 3rd instalment on MyCityMyTown-Appreciating London Series is on Royal Palaces and Royal Parks.
Appreciating London Series is a series of articles designed to offer suggestions and travel tips with the aim to inspire midlife travellers to visit London. This Series of articles will be on my personal experiences and memories of each of the places I had visited with my kids and now, revisiting.
Collection of yesteryears
Taking a close look at my journey in life at the end of 2018 was an opportunity to take a trip down memory lane, to re-trace my footsteps and to reflect upon the best of “yesterday,” in this beautiful City which is My Town. I am thankful for much. You can read the full article by clicking MyCityMyTown London Series here. You can also find out What made the #1 and #2 on the Series and Why by clicking #1 and #2.
As for my 3rd instalment on the Series, I decided to retrace my footsteps on the Royal Palaces and the Royal Parks. The Royal Palaces and the Royal Parks hold special places for me as I used to frequent these with my kids and there are many beautiful treasured memories. These days, as I walk through Kensington Gardens and the Statute of Peter Pan, I remember the fun, the laughter and their theatrics…and realise how time has flown by 😊
Appreciating MyCityMyTown London
Besides the memories with my kids, another reason for Appreciating London is because I love summer in London – the Not too hot summer when the temperature is around 24 or 25 degrees max. As a Londoner, I am very fortunate to have so much to see, witness, experience and lots of green spaces to getaway to if and when I wished. Almost everything happens here, right here in London! Moreover, London has, for the most times, pretty cool weather, except for a few weeks or so when the temperature soars and the heatwave sets-in. I don’t like it when it is too hot but I know many of you can’t have enough of it 🙂
As the summer weather sets in , Retracing my Footsteps in London has led me to discover many new things that I had not previously. I am seeing My City both as a Londoner and as a tourist. This has gently reminded me of many experiences throughout the years and the many visits where my kids and I would just hop onto the train for a half-hour ride to the heart of the City. These were mostly unplanned or involved overnight planning of a visit to a Royal Palace or a Castle, a picnic in the park, and games or read a book until sundown etc.
Looking back, these were unplanned visits. Although there is fun in doing things impromptu, I believe there must be a general plan of what one intends to do, and you can save money as a result. Therefore, this time I have incorporated planning into my visits, because Planning is Important. I have written a blog on the 5 Reasons Why Travel Planning Is Importantwhich you may want to read and share your thoughts with me in comments below. What planning has helped me do this time was to think about researching for deals that would suit my plans – more on this below.
I hope you will enjoy reading about the Royal Palaces and the Royal Parks as much as I enjoy writing about them.
Royal Palaces and Royal Parks in MyCityMyTown London Series
On the Royal Palaces, the following are the ones which are included in this Series. I will write on each of the palaces as I visit them.
If you are planning a visit to London or you are a Londoner looking for something to do, and wish to visit any of the Royal Palaces, here are my pick of the top 8 palaces and castles to visit in London or within a short trip of London, in no particular order:
1 | Buckingham Palace | Royal Palaces and Royal Parks in London
Buckingham Palace is the most favourite among visitors to London. Buckingham Palace Tours starts mid July 2021 and runs throughout August till the end of September (subject to Covid-19 visiting rules).
1.1 | Royal Mews
Besides Buckingham Palace, you could still visit the Royal Mews. The Royal Mews is one of the finest working stables in existence and is responsible for all road travel arrangements for The Queen and the Royal Family. You will also see the spectacular new Diamond Jubilee State Coach, some of the Queen’s horses and meet the famous Windsor Greys or Cleveland Bays.
1.2 | Changing of the Guard Ceremony
You can still watch the Changing of the Guard Ceremony outside Buckingham Palace as this is a FREE event. This is a popular event, so ensure you are there early to secure a a good viewing point. The ceremony takes places from 10:45 a.m. and lasts for 45 minutes.
The Changing of the Guards Ceremony is where the Buckingham Palace Old Guard arrives and forms up in the forecourt of the Palace from 10:30 a.m. onwards and they are joined by the Old Guard from St James’ Palace at 10:45 a.m. The New Guard then arrives from the Wellington Barracks to take over the responsibilities from the Old Guard. This formal ceremony is accompanied by music. There will be no ceremonies in poor weather conditions or when there are other ceremonial events taking place. You can check the Changing of the Guard Ceremony schedule with the Household Division here
2. Windsor Castle | Royal Palaces and Royal Parks
A trip to the UK or London is never complete without a trip to Windsor, the home of the historic Windsor Castle.
Windsor is a historic market town in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in Berkshire, Southeast England. It has a lively atmosphere with great shopping and restaurants. It sits on River Thames, just west of London, and is under an hour’s journey from London
I have visited Windsor Castle a number of times over the years and the highlights in my article of this iconic and historical castle will help you plan your itinerary. I have also included travel tips and practical information to aid your planning. Read more on How to make the Best of Windsor Castle in I day here.
3. Kensington Palace London
These days, Kensington Palace London is the royal residence for the young royals, who are the direct descendants of Queen Victoria. The Palace is the official London residence for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. It was the former home of late Princess Diana. The Palace has a long history of being a residence for the British Royal Family since the 17th century when King William III and Queen Mary II took residence just before Christmas of 1689.
Best-deals: All the Royal Palaces and Castles offer individual or combined tickets. As you know, it is cheaper to buy combined tickets. Also, it is cheaper to skip the line and buy the tickets online. As for me, I discovered that the Historic Royal Palaces offer of an Annual Membership to be beneficial. You can read about Why the Historic Royal Palaces Annual Membership is good for me here
Alongside the Royal Palaces in the City of London, there are also several parks and large green spaces where one can escape to from the norm of sightseeing and crowded streets. Below, you will find a list of Royal Parks which I hope you will enjoy.
The Royal Parks | Royal Palaces and Royal Parks London Series
Charles Dickens, a 19th century English writer once said::
“The parks be the lungs of London”
and when you visit any one of the royal parks in London, you will be inclined to agree with him.
There are 8 Royal Parks, together they offer 5000 acres of green spaces which provides a natural habitat for many wildlife. The Parks are open to everyone throughout the year, where you can have a gentle stroll, exercise, have a bike-ride, have a picnic or just grab a seat at a bench and watch the world go by…
The 8 parks are:
1. Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill, London
Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill is a large green space that offers a sanctuary for people who are constantly on the go with City’s hum-drum. Regent’s Park is different, from the other Parks in London because of its tranquil settings, beautiful landscape and the opportunity to catch either the sunset or the sunrise at Primrose Hill.
There are flowers of all colours, roses especially, 12,000 of them, all named and planted in neat rows (more on this below). This is a place where you can spend hours admiring the sea of colours and enjoy the amazing fragrances. A total paradise.
For me, every visit to Regent’s Park had been a journey of new experiences and discovery, even more so on my recent visit.
Kensington Palace Gardens is made up of beautiful landscaped grounds. Trees here are planted in straight lines, there are some unique looking ones near the round pond and colourful flowering shrubs which makes a visit here more than inviting.
The Sunken Garden is my favourite part of the Palace grounds. I am sure it is the case for many visitors to this idyllic location.
It was planted in 1908 and resembles classical gardens of the 18th century in the UK. A secluded oasis of peaceful haven with ornamental flower beds, an ornamental pond with fountains and a variety of vibrant, exotic and colourful plants like roses, geraniums, cannas and begonias.
Greenwich London is a nice little town just a stone’s throw away from London, in the south-east which sits on the banks of River Thames, accessible with a 20-minute journey from London (Bank Station). It is a popular destination for tourists because of its maritime and astronomy history.
The area, Royal Greenwich Park is host to the Royal Museum Greenwich (RMG) which is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and consists of four top attractions.
All of these attractions are within walking distance of each other and would typically fill a full-day itinerary.
This quaint little town is definitely a Must-Do for families with kids, grand-kids, solo travellers and couples – not only for the over 50’s but at any age! You will experience history, lots of free exhibits and guided tours. You will also save money Read the full article on 45 Experiences and More in 1 Day at Greenwich.
Other Parks in London
4. Hyde Park
5. St James’ Park
6. Hyde Park
7. Richmond Park
8. Bushy Park
Information on the rest of the the Royal Parks are available here.