Home to England’s monarchy for centuries, it is not surprising that the South East region boasts a high concentration of grand residences with past and present royal connections.
The Queen’s favourite weekend home, Windsor Castle, is the jewel in this Royal Borough’s crown and stands majestically on the hill overlooking the town. It also hails as the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world, the original castle being built in the 11th century after the Norman invasion of England by William the Conqueror. Spend your time exploring the impressive castle, including the State Apartments, St George’s Chapel where several members of the royal family have made their wedding vows and Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House, the most famous dolls’ house in the world!
Within the county of Kent, there are grand residences and royal connections in abundance. The 14th century Penshurst Place and Gardens, a former hunting lodge of King Henry VIII and where Elizabeth I was a frequent visitor is a glorious place to visit and has a fascinating past. The romantic double-moated Hever Castle, renowned for being the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, has 125 acres of award-winning gardens to explore with its maze and fascinating collection of Miniature Model Houses, boating lake, Japanese Tea House and the fragrant quintessential English Rose Garden.
The magnificence of Henry VIII’s favourite royal residence located south west of London, Hampton Court Palace, must be seen to be believed. There are many things to see including Henry VIII’s Great Hall – England’s last and greatest medieval hall, the beautiful Chapel Royal, which has been in continuous use for over 450 years, Henry VIII’s kitchens, William III’s apartments, the Kitchen Garden, the beautiful Hampton Court Gardens and the only surviving royal Chocolate Kitchens, which lay hidden for years before now being open to the public for the first time in almost 300 years! The Palace is the dramatic setting for music festivals, open air summer concerts and traditional Tudor themed jousting events.