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Hampton Court Palace is a magnificent blend of Tudor and Baroque architecture, sprawling over several acres on the banks of the River Thames. After taking over from Cardinal Wolsey, King Henry VIII lived here with some of his many wives. The palace is famed for its verdant gardens, where music and flower shows take place in the summer. The maze is a very popular attraction, with tours of the grounds offered regularly, complete with costumed guides. The expansive structure comprises numerous opulent apartments and rooms, including a vast Great Hall which offers a glimpse into the lavish court life during Henry's reign. Other attractions include Anne Boleyn's gate, the Chapel Royal and the Haunted Gallery.
Featuring an impressive visage, Pembroke looms over the eponymous traditional town. A spellbinding remnant of Medieval heritage, the castle is known not only for its architecture, cultural events and traditional fairs, but also for being the location of the birth of Henry VII, who went on to claim the crown of England and established the dynamic Tudor dynasty. For this very reason, it is thronged by Tudor history enthusiasts as well as history buffs mesmerized by the formidable fortress's intriguing past.
One of the royal residences of the reigning monarch, Windsor Castle is Europe's longest-occupied palace. The origins of Windsor Castle go back to the Norman conquest of England in the 11th Century by William the Conqueror and has been the abode of the royal family since the time of Henry I. The castle is home to a lavish collection of fine art, antique furniture and curiosities; a wealthy display of impressive architecture that spans the ages, a reflection of the varying tastes of successive generations of royals. The State Rooms are of special note, a series of opulent chambers bedecked with the work of artists like Rembrandt and richly furnished in the late-Georgian style. The final resting place of 10 monarchs and one of the nation's most splendid Gothic structures, the castle's St George's Chapel is a veritable jewel in its own right. Also of interest are the Semi-State Rooms, the Drawings Gallery, and Queen Mary's Dolls’ House. The Changing of the Guard, an age-old tradition, may still be witnessed at Windsor Castle each morning, a spectacle that draws visitors from all around.
Just a short drive outside London, this ancient castle stands as testament to the fact that a short day trip can leave one feeling truly transported to a far-off time and place. Basically a fortified pair of islands, the estate is known for its impeccably manicured grounds, impressive stone architecture, and beautiful country vistas. Stately rooms house intriguing exhibitions and opulent apartments offer visitors the chance to gain a deeper insight into their famous inhabitants. What's more, due to staunch conservation efforts, the facility's unique aviaries have become almost as well known as the castle itself.
900 years of history is enshrined within the thick, turreted walls of the Tower of London. Originally built as a stronghold by William the Conqueror in 1066, the Tower of London was expanded over the years by various monarchs. Its most distinctive feature is also its oldest, the White Tower which dates back to 1078 by William the Conqueror as a symbol of the Norman supremacy. Although variously used as a royal residence, armory and mint, the Tower of London is best known for its stint as a prison and the site of numerous executions, most notably of Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard. Elizabeth I, Sir Walter Raleigh and Prince Edward V are a few of the other famous personalities who were imprisoned here. Stories of treason, conspiracy and espionage are rife amid these historic walls, with countless secrets just waiting to be uncovered. Another curious feature is the ravens here, that are said to safeguard the British Crown. Today, the Tower of London is a museum and the home of the fabulous Crown Jewels. Tours of the castle are led by the Yeomen Warders, also famously dubbed as the Beefeaters.
This historic castle is an impressive remnant of the past, having served as a home to many nobles, including the Boleyn family. Anne Boleyn's childhood home is a mesmerizing mosaic of time-honored relics, stately rooms, opulent furnishings and immersive exhibitions where history comes alive. Spend the holiday with your family here at Hever Castle situated in Hever village. Go boating or take a walk through the award-winning scenic castle gardens. For children there are lots of activities, games and a fun filled water maze to walk through. The annual Jousting competition is yet another event that takes place on the castle grounds.
Nestled amid the beautiful Cotswolds, this castle was once the home of Katherine Parr, wife of Henry VIII; her body is buried in the castle church. Sudeley also played an important role in the Civil War. Today, the castle is the home of the Dent Brocklehurst family and houses many paintings by Turner, Constable, Van Dyck and Rubens as well as fine furniture. The expansive grounds comprise splendid gardens, an adventure playground, picnic area and a wildfowl sanctuary. An audio tour of the castle is available and there is an exhibition center and restaurant. Wheelchair access is applicable only in certain areas, so do inquire before vising the castle.
A grand and royal experience awaits visitors who decide to explore Penshurst Place, near Tonbridge in Kent. Belonging to the Sidney family, the mansion is endowed with a historic garden along with a rich history. Frequented by Henry VIII during his many hunting expeditions, this stately structure acquired the status of a hunting lodge, its elaborate walls and rooms having witnessed significant events. Partly open for public viewing, the house exhibits a marvelous mix of paintings, tapestries and furniture from the 15th, 16th and 17th Centuries and showcases impressive architecture. Additionally, a relaxing picnic within its expansive grounds makes for a delightful day out.