The Royal Palaces around the world offer some of the most iconic and opulent tourist destinations to visit. Endlessly fascinating, these buildings give us commoners a glimpse into the world of Royalty as we’re able to look at the illustrious past that helped build such riches. Here’s my guide to the top Royal sites to tour this summer.
Great Britain’s monarchy is arguably one of the most famous in the world and it remains to this day one of the most important tourist attraction in the country. There are a number of palaces spread across the country but arguably the two most important sites are within London. In the capital, you’ll find Queen Elizabeth II’s majestic Buckingham Palace as well as her beloved home of Windsor Castle. Buckingham Palace opens its doors annually in July, allowing the public to see where state functions are held, as well as the impressive art collections and rooms and the famous balcony where many Royal Family photocalls have taken place. From here, head off on one of the Windsor Castle tours from London out into the county of Berkshire. Enjoy wandering around this impressive castle, complete with an audio tour recorded by Prince Charles. I personally adore Queen Mary’s Dolls House which is a sight to behold.
In Japan’s capital, you’ll find the primary residence of the Japanese Emperor. Surrounded by a moat, The Imperial Palace in Tokyo is nestled in the heart of the city and provides a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo life. With the palace in use, the building itself is usually closed to visitors but that shouldn’t stop you from visiting this magnificent building. Explore the gardens of Kokyo Higashi Gyoen and Kokyo Gaien which are free of charge and see the cherry blossom at close hand. You can also tour the building of the Imperial Household Agency and the museum within the palace grounds. Tours must be applied for before arrival via the agency’s website.
The Royal Palace in Madrid is King Juan Carlos’ official residence, despite the Royal Family no longer living within the grounds. One of the largest palaces in the world, Palacio Real de Madrid is now used to host state functions and provides a fascinating site to explore. Visit on a Wednesday and you’ll find entry to the palace free. However, if you want to take part in a tour of the palace, then admission charges apply with prices ranging from between €2-€11. Tour the palace to see an impressive collection of art that rivals many collections within the city’s galleries. You’ll also be able to see the Throne Room and the Royal Chapel, just a handful of the 2,800 rooms that make up this sprawling palace. Make sure you also take in a tour of the Palace Armoury for an important collection of weaponry and armour dating back to the 13th Century.
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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
This former British Colony certainly held onto some of the British Monarchy’s influence with regards to its own monarchy. There are 22 palaces and Royal sites in total within the country and in the capital Kuala Lumpur, there are two main sites to tour. Start with the King’s Palace (Istana Negara) along Jalan Istana which was the official residency of the Supreme Head of Malaysia. A fairly modern building by palace standards, the King’s Palace dates back to 1928 and is guarded by Guards dressed in uniform inspired by that of the British guards stood in front of Buckingham Palace. The new Istana Negara is located near Jalan Duta and has been the official residence since 2011.
This is possibly the most glamorous of all the palaces in the world, once having been the home of the iconic and elegant Grace Kelly. Once a fortress, the Prince’s Palace of Monaco sits overlooking the port and Mediterranean Sea and is a sprawling, decadent complex. The palace only opens its doors from March until October and July provides stunning weather to visit this beautiful city and its palace. The State Apartments are arguably the jewel in the crown of any tour here, enabling you to see a wide range of impressive architecture including the Throne Room, Louis XV’s lounge and the Palatine Chapel.
- For more information and to book your tour, visit palais.mc