If you are a visitor to Britain, or even if you have lived in the country all of your life, you may decide at some point to take a visit to some of the British Royal Palaces and residences scattered around the country. Some of these may be visited or toured and others are not open to the public. You may be surprised to learn that there are in excess of a dozen British Royal Palaces, homes and residences in total. If you thought the Queen only owned Buckingham Palace you would be wrong. Here is a list of all the other houses owned by the British Monarchy.
Buckingham Palace, London
The stately London Palace is the seat of the British monarchy and that has become a symbol of Britain and the Royal family. This building is important as a focal point for British people during difficult times and is the London residence and administrative headquarters for the Monarchy.
Kensington Palace, London
This palace has been in the British Royal family since the 17th century and it’s located amid Kensington Gardens in London. Originally a Jacobean mansion this home was expanded into a palace by famous architect Sir Christopher Wren. Today part of the palace is open for visitors. Guests may come and tour the staterooms of this historic building.
Hampton Court Palace, London
Originally constructed for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey in the early 1500s, a favorite of King Henry VIII. The Cardinal returned the palace to the King after he fell from favor. This British Royal Palace is open for the public to tour and is a major attraction among tourists visiting London.
St James Palace, London
This British Royal Palace was also built by King Henry VIII and is constructed on the site of an old leper hospital in London. This palace held prime importance for many years but was eventually superseded by Buckingham Palace. Part of the building was destroyed by fire in the early 1800s but was rebuilt. It is now an administrative center for the monarchy and the Royal Court is formally based at the residence.
Clarence House, London
This British Royal residence is attached to St James Palace and shares gardens with the same. It is one of the last aristocratic townhouses that remains intact and as use as a residence. The Queen Mother, Prince Charles, Prince William, and Prince Harry have all resided here at one time or another. Clarence House is open to visitors for a short period of time each summer.
Thatched House Lodge, London
The prior home of Prime Minister, Robert Walpole, this home started life as two cottages that were combined into one in the late 1700s and has been a British Royal residence since 1963. It is located in the London borough of Richmond On Thames and it’s currently privately leased from the Crown Estate and occupied by Princess Alexandra.
Windsor Castle, Berkshire
This iconic British Royal Palace is the longest-occupied palace in all of Europe. It dates back to the Norman invasion and was the home of many reigning monarchs until the 1600s. Queen Elizabeth II currently uses the palace as her weekend home and for entertaining. It is open to the public and it’s a major British tourist attraction that draws people from all over the world.
Frogmore House & Frogmore Cottage, Windsor
Located on the Frogmore Estate, Frogmore House has been unoccupied for many years. However, it is often used for private functions or official events and has been owned by the crown since the 15th century. Frogmore Cottage is also located on the estate and is currently the home of Prince Harry and his wife Meghan.
Bagshot Park, Surrey
This Royal British Palace began life as a small lodge designed for Charles I. Many alterations, renovations and additions have turned it into the stately home it is today. The home is currently leased from the Crown by Prince Edward and wife Sophie. Bagshot House is not open to the public.
Highgrove House, Gloucestershire
The official residence of Prince Charles and Camilla, Highgrove House is famous for its extensive gardens and receives thousands of visitors each year. Prince Charles had a keen interest in the environment and the house and gardens are managed in line with these principles. There are many charitable events held at this Royal home and it has been featured in books, magazines, and television shows.
Gatcombe Park, Gloucestershire
This Grade II listed country home is the Royal residence of Princess Anne. The building dates back to 1771 and sits on extensive parklands. The property was bought in 1973 by Queen Elizabeth as a home for Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips. The grounds of Gatcombe Park host several events throughout the year including horse trials and craft fairs.
Sandringham House, Norfolk
Possibly one of the most recognizable British Royal Palaces is Sandringham House. This impressive building has been the private residence of 4 generations of British monarchs, including Queen Elizabeth II. Located in an area of outstanding natural beauty this home and its extensive gardens are open to the public for viewing and tours.
Holyrood House, Edinburgh
Holyrood House is officially called Holyrood Palace and is the Scottish residence of the Queen. This British Royal Palace is located in Edinburgh at the other end of the city from the site of Edinburgh castle. The Queen stays at Holyrood for 1 week at the start of summer to carry out official duties and engagements. The public can visit the palace any time during the year when the monarchy is not in residence.
This large estate is one of the favorite British Royal Palaces of Queen Elizabeth and is used as a holiday home for the monarchy. It was purchased in the mid-1800s by Prince Albert and Queen Victoria and is currently the private property of the royal family and not part of the Crowns estate. The castle gardens are open for public viewing for just a few months between April and July with the castle ballroom also being accessible.
A residence of the Prince of Wales this stately home is located in Wales close to the Brecon Beacons in Carmarthenshire. This was a recent acquisition purchased by the Duchy of Cornwall in 2006. Originally a farmhouse it has seen extensive renovations and building work to convert into a residence for Prince Charles and Camilla.
Hillsborough Castle, Northern Ireland
This castle serves multiple functions as an official government residence, a guest house for official visitors and the home of Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the Royal family when they visit Northern Ireland. This is one of the British Royal Palaces that are open to members of the public on specific days of the year.