We've written lots about London this past week--our favorite canal walk (in Regent's Park), climbing the O2 arena and the city's most stylish hotels. Earlier this week we even checked out the best of London's blue plaques.
Now, for even more fun in the city on the Thames, we're back with must-see royal spots in London. Sure, any trip across the pond isn't complete without a view of Buckingham Palace, but there's more to the Royals than this one abode.
Ever heard of the Banqueting House? How about Kew Palace? They may not get top billing, but they are not to be missed.
Thanks again to our friends at DK Publishing, here are the top 10 picks for royal spots in London. And, for even more to-dos in the city, check out DK Eyewitness Travel's "Top 10 London."
#10 Clarence House
Designed by John Nash and finished in 1827 for William, Duke of Clarence who lived here after he became king in 1830. It was the Queen Mother's home until her death in 2002.
#9 Queen's Chapel
This exquisite royal chapel is open only to its congregation (visitors welcome as worshipers). Built by Inigo Jones in 1627, its furnishings remain virtually intact, including a beautiful altarpiece by Annibale Carracci.
#8 Royal Mews
Stables in the Royal Mews, which today are located on the grounds of Buckingham Palace.
#7 Queen's House
This delightful home in the midst of Greenwich Park was the first Palladian building by Inigo Jones, and home to the wife of Charles I. Restored to its 17th-century glory, it houses the National Maritime Museum's art collection.
#6 Banqueting House
Built by Inigo Jones, this magnificent building is particularly noted for its Rubens ceiling. It was commissioned by Charles I, who stepped from this room on to the scaffold for his execution in 1649.
#5 Kew Palace and Queen Charlotte's Cottage
The smallest royal palace, Kew was built in 1631 and used as a residence by George III and Queen Charlotte. Nearby Queen Charlotte's Cottage was used for picnics and housing royal pets. The palace is set in Kew Gardens.
#4 St. James's Palace
Although not open to the public, St. James's has a key role in royal London. Its classic Tudor style sets it in the reign of Henry VIII, although it served only briefly as a royal residence. Prince Charles has offices here.
#3 Kensington Palace
An intimate royal palace in Kensington Gardens, famous as the home of Princess Diana, the first sovereign residents here were William and Mary in 1689 and Queen Victoria was born here in 1837. Until mid-2012 the State Apartments are the setting for an enchanting, multi-sensory exhibition that reveals intriguing tales of past residents. The Orangery is delightful for coffee.
#2 Hampton Court
The finest piece of Tudor architecture in Britain, Hampton Court was begun by Henry VIII's ally Cardinal Wolsey in 1514 and later given to the king. It was enlarged first by Henry and then by William and Mary, who employed Christopher Wren as an architect. Its many rooms include a huge kitchen, a Renaissance Picture Gallery, the Chapel Royal and fine royal apartments.
#1 Buckingham Palace
Perhaps the best known icon of the British royalty, Buckingham Palace originally began as a townhouse for the Duke of Buckingham in 1705. It's the official London residence and workspace for the reigning monarch.