The jewel in the crown of the United Kingdom, London, is a city of contrasts. From the up-and-coming East End enclaves of Hackney and Dalston to the class and culture of Kensington and Westminster, just a short journey on the city’s famous tube network can make you feel like you’re in another city altogether.
London is the home to plenty of famous residents, with actors, musicians and politicians frequently rubbing shoulders with the crowds on Oxford Street, but there are surely no better ambassadors than the Royal family. Interest in the modern royals seems at a high record in recent years, particularly with the birth of the new Prince, so there’s no better time to learn a little more about the British monarchy – and no better place to start than London.
Begin your royal tour with a wander through St James Park, just behind Buckingham Palace. It’s a good idea to get to the Wellington Barracks early, around 10am, if you want to be in the best position to see the changing of the guard ceremony. The major changeover takes place in the palace’s courtyard at 11:40am and is accompanied by a full military band. One of the London’s hidden gems is the Royal Mews, the part of the grounds where the royal carriages and horses are kept. Inside you’ll find the gilded carriages that are used around 50 times each year, as well as the beautiful thoroughbred horses which pull them.
The British monarchy has a long and dramatic history, and you can learn all the gory details at the Tower of London. Once a royal home in its own right, the mediaeval tower became a prison for aristocratic troublemakers, with notable ex-residents including William Wallace, Anne Boleyn and Guy Fawkes. Tours last for nearly three hours, so skip the queue by booking your tickets in advance. Don’t miss out on the Crown Jewels exhibit, which includes the spectacular Sovereign’s Orb and the infamous Kohinoor Diamond.
Heading west along the Thames, you’ll arrive at a truly iconic London landmark. Westminster Abbey is one of the most beautiful buildings in the UK, so it’s no surprise that it’s been the venue of choice for royal events for generations. From the Queen’s coronation to William’s wedding to Kate Middleton, the interior of the abbey will be a familiar sight to people who know their royal history.
There are plenty of historic mansions available to visit in London, but one of the most popular is Kensington Palace, which was originally built as a country residence for King William III. The stately home provides a fascinating glimpse into royal life, with an exhibit on regal fashion and the toys that future monarchs played with as children.
A London home is the perfect addition to any property portfolio, and the experts at Engel & Völkers are on hand to offer step-by-step advice on your investment. London’s property market is currently heating up, with values rising and industry insiders speculating that prices will reach a record high in the next five years. Whether you’re planning on enjoying a second home in Britain’s first city or hope to enter the rental market, we can help you to find your perfect property.