So, you weren’t born into the monarchy. Why should that stop you from enjoying the best London has to offer? Whether it’s checking out a palace or indulging in a bit of luxury, our list will have you feeling like a genuine member of the House of Windsor.
What To Do
As the Queen’s official London residence, Buckingham Palace sets the tone for opulence and ceremony. From the gardens to the 19 State Rooms, there’s much to explore inside and out. For a can’t miss display of royal pageantry, plan ahead to see the Changing the Guard ceremony. Be sure to check the British Army website ahead of time, so you know when the guard change will take place.
Westminster, London SW1A 1AA
While checking out Buckingham Palace, don’t miss your chance to stroll down The Mall, a wide-set road used for royal processionals. You may recognize the distinctively reddish route from much-photographed celebrations and weddings for the royal family. Venture down the tree-lined street until you reach Trafalgar Square, a public square flanked by some of London’s best galleries and monuments.
The National Gallery has come a long way since its initial 38 paintings back in 1824. Today, you can gaze upon a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating back from the 13th to the early 20th centuries, many of the same artworks that were once in the royals’ private collection. Don’t forget to stop by Room A — an underground gallery that displays works from well-known artists from across the Gallery’s collection in a single space.
Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN
Royal Opera House
The Royal Opera House is known for famous firsts. England’s first piano performance. The world’s first classical ballet. It all happened here. These days, you can enjoy performances from the Royal Opera, Ballet, Orchestra and Chorus. You may even spot a royal in attendance. It’s said that Queen Mary still has an unpaid bar bill for whiskey.
Bow St, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9DD
Where To Shop
Fortnum & Mason
When it was founded in 1707, Fortnum & Mason was a simple grocery store. Today, this Royal Warrant holder is known as the place to stock-up on high-end provisions like truffles, savory pies and generous cuts of meat. It’s also the ideal place to pick up a British hamper, which is essentially a gift basket chalk full of goodies like teas, chocolates, wines and biscuits.
181 Piccadilly, St. James’s, London W1A 1ER
Where To Eat & Drink
With seasonal tasting menus offering up to eight courses, this Michelin-starred restaurant gives you a royal dining experience without all the fuss. Known for its extensive wine list and dishes featuring local ingredients, Marcus is a great example of contemporary British fare done right. Want to really lean into the royal experience? Book the private Chef’s Table, so you can watch the award-winning chefs at work—and even enjoy a bit of banter.
The Berkeley, Wilton Place, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7RL
Hakkasan Hanway Place
Step down into the dimly lit confines of the original Hakkasan and it feels like you’ve entered another time and place altogether. This Cantonese restaurant offers a high-end take on dim sum and other traditional Chinese dishes. If you’re looking to get a royal fix of finer foods, rest assured that the menu tends to incorporate options like lobster, truffle and even caviar. Perhaps, it’s no wonder this location has held onto its Michelin star since 2003.
8 Hanway Pl, Fitzrovia, London W1T 1HD