Even if you aren’t British, you probably enjoy having a glimpse into the lives of the British royal family. When Prince Harry married Megan Markle, there were almost 28 million viewers in the United Kingdom, and even more in the United States!
When there is no royal wedding to tune in for, you can entertain yourself by learning more about where the royals live.
From the Queen and her husband to Charles and Camilla to the ever-popular William and Kate, the royal family has a variety of English Royal Palaces serving as their official royal residences throughout the United Kingdom.
Royal Palaces across Britain
British Royal Residences of The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh
Buckingham Palace (London, England)
One of the most iconic English royal palaces, Buckingham began as a townhouse but was expanded into a palace in the 19th century. Monarchs have lived there since Queen Victoria’s rise to power and the palace survived the significant bombing during World War II.
It has the largest private garden in London, but only its staterooms are open to the public.
Windsor Castle (Windsor, Berkshire, England)
Windsor Castle is distinguished from other English royal palaces because it is the largest and oldest inhabited castle in the world, as well as the longest-occupied palace in Europe.
It was built in the 11th century after William the Conqueror seized the English throne. Thirty-nine monarchs have used it as at least a part-time residence and it is currently Queen Elizabeth II’s preferred weekend home.
Palace of Holyroodhouse (Edinburgh, Scotland)
If you think the name of this palace is a mouthful, you won’t be surprised to hear it is often called simply “Holyrood Palace.” Now the official Scottish residence of Queen Elizabeth II, Holyroodhouse was the residence of Scottish monarchs beginning in the 16th century.
When the royal family is not present, visitors can see the historic apartments of Mary, Queen of Scots, and the State Apartments. Scottish lore claims that a naked ghost known as “Bald Agnes” has roamed the building since her sixteenth-century torture and death.
Hillsborough Castle (Hillsborough, Northern Ireland)
Hillsborough serves as the residence of the Queen, other members of the British royal family, and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when any of them visit for official business.
Although referred to as a castle, it is really a country house that the British government purchased in 1922. One of Hillsborough’s claims to fame is the signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement in its throne room in 1985, in an attempt to end “the Troubles.”
Sandringham House (Sandringham, England)
This beautiful country house is Queen Elizabeth II’s private home and includes a 20,000-acre estate. Although the site has been occupied since Elizabethan times, the future Edward VII had most of the current structure built between 1870 and 1900. George V, Elizabeth II’s grandfather, used Sandringham to give the first Royal Christmas Message in 1932
Balmoral Castle (Aberdeenshire, Scotland)
Although many of the English royal palaces have extensive grounds, Balmoral is actually the World’s Largest Royal Domain with 50,000 acres of property.
As part of a working estate, Balmoral’s lands include forestry, farmland, and managed herds of deer, cattle, and ponies. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh sometimes begin their summer holidays at Craigowan Lodge, an elegant stone house about a mile from the main structures at Balmoral.
British Royal Residences of The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall
Clarence House (London, England)
Covered in pale stucco, Clarence House is an unassuming, yet distinguished home attached to St. James’ Palace. It has housed various royalty since it was built in the 19th century and is now the official residence for Charles and Camilla.
Highgrove House (Gloucestershire, England)
This Duchy of Cornwall purchased this Georgian home in 1980 and remodeled it soon afterward to add more of a neoclassical style. Although the structure itself is lovely, Highgrove House may be most famous for the Highgrove Royal Gardens.
More than 30,000 visitors come to admire them each year and see how they function according to the prince’s environmental principles.
Llwynywermod (Carmarthenshire, Wales)
If you aren’t Welsh, you may have trouble pronouncing the name of this estate. But you can still learn its fascinating history. This three-bedroom farmhouse dates from the 13th century and was purchased by the Duchy of Cornwall in 2006.
Tamarisk House (St. Mary’s, Isles of Scilly)
This brick cottage is named after Tamarisks, deciduous flowering shrubs that grow on the Isles of Scilly. Warmer than mainland England, the Isles of Scilly form an archipelago off the southwestern tip of Cornwall. With a total population of just over 2,000, Charles probably identified the area as a less-bustling get away from his busy schedule.
Birkhall (Aberdeenshire, Scotland)
Built in the 18th century, this 53,000-acre estate has served as the holiday home for a variety of British royalty. Now Birkhall is owned by Charles and he used it for his honeymoon with Camilla in 2005. The couple also self-isolated thereafter Charles tested positive for COVID-19 in March 2020. If you need to quarantine, you might as well do so in an English royal palace.
British Royal Residences of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
Kensington Palace (London, England)
Kensington Palace has served as an English royal palace since the 17th century. It is still home to royals today, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Eugenie and her husband, and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent. Although you can’t tour the private residences, you can visit Kensington’s state rooms, which include displays of sculpture and other art.
Anmer Hall (Norfolk, England)
Just a couple of miles away from the Queen’s Sandringham residence, Anmer Hall is a Georgian country house. It was built in the 18th century, but William and Kate received it from the Queen as a wedding gift after their marriage.
British Royal Residences of Other Royalty
Frogmore Cottage (Windsor, England)
This cottage is the home of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (and their little one) when they are in the United Kingdom. Its recent renovation became controversial when the Duke and Duchess decided to step down as senior members of the royal family and move to southern California.
St. James’s Palace (London, England)
Of special interest to history buffs, St. James’s Palace dates to the 16th century when King Henry VIII commissioned it on the spot of a former leper hospital. It has served as a royal escape from court life and a site for formal events.
Gatcombe Park (Gloucestershire, England)
She spends less time in the public eye than other royals, but Anne, Princess Royal, is the only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. She uses Gatcomb Park as her country residence. Although it is a private residence, parts of Gatcomb’s grounds are sometimes used for events, such as horse trials and craft fairs.
The Royal Lodge (Windsor Great Park, Berkshire, England)
Dating from the mid-17th century, the Royal Lodge (sometimes just referred to as “the Lodge”) is nestled between Cumberland Lodge and Windsor Castle. It is located in Windsor Great Park, a 5,000-acre park managed by the Crown Estate. Once used by The Queen Mother, it is now the country residence of Prince Andrew and his ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson.
Ivy Cottage (Kensington Palace, London)
Located on the grounds of Kensington Palace, Ivy Cottage is the home of Princess Eugenie and her husband, Jack Brooksbank. The three-bedroom structure forms part of a type of intergenerational royal commune.
Wren House (Kensington Palace, England)
Yet another structure at Kensington, Wren House is the home of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and one of the Queen’s cousins. It is part of a cluster of cottages on the grounds of Kensington and is next door to Ivy Cottage.
Bagshot Park (Surrey, England)
Bagshot is a 51-acre piece of land within Windsor Great Park, containing a mansion built in 1879. It is the home of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and the youngest child of the Queen and Prince Philip, with his family.
Barnwell Manor (Barnwell, England)
The royal family is not currently using this beautiful country estate. It was previously used by the Duke of Gloucester (the Queen’s cousin) and his wife. In addition to a beautiful home, the estate includes 2,500 acres and a ruined castle.
Thatched House Lodge (London, England)
Thatched House Lodge is a 17th-century home in Richmond Park of London. It features six bedrooms, four acres of property, gardens, and a separate summer home. It is the royal residence of Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy.