Regent's Park, London

#3 in MyCityMyTown-Appreciating London Series-Royal Palaces and Royal Parks (Oct 2019 Update)

MyCityMyTown-Appreciating London Series

The 3rd instalment is Here! To my fellow Adventurers who have been with me since January 2019, you are no stranger to this Series and thank you for your patience. For the Adventurers who are here for the first time, Hello and Welcome to my page. My 3rd instalment on MyCityMyTown-Appreciating London Series is on Royal Palaces and Royal Parks.

Appreciating London Series is a series of blogs designed to offer suggestions and travel tips with the aim to inspire mature travellers to visit London. This Series of blogs will be on my personal experiences and memories of each of the places I had visited with my kids and now, revisiting.

Taking a close look at my journey in life at the end of 2018 was an opportunity to take a trip down memory lane, to re-trace my footsteps and to reflect upon the best of “yesterday,” in this beautiful City which is My Town. I am thankful for much. You can read the full article by clicking MyCityMyTown London Series here. You can also find out What made the #1 and #2 on the Series and Why by clicking #1 and #2 .

As for my 3rd instalment on the Series, I decided to retrace my footsteps on the Royal Palaces and the Royal Parks. The Royal Palaces and the Royal Parks hold special places for me as I used to frequent these with my kids and there are many beautiful treasured memories. These days, as I walk through Kensington Gardens and the Statute of Peter Pan, I remember the fun, the laughter and their theatrics…and realise how time has flown by 😊

Appreciating London 

Besides the memories with my kids, another reason for Appreciating London is because I love summer in London – the Not too hot summer when the temperature is around 24 or 25 degrees max. As a Londoner, I am very fortunate to have so much to see, witness, experience and lots of green spaces to getaway to if and when I wished. Almost everything happens here, right here in London! Moreover, London has, for the most times, pretty cool weather, except for a few weeks or so when the temperature soars and the heatwave sets-in. I don’t like it when it is too hot but I know many of you can’t have enough of it 🙂 

As the summer weather sets in , Retracing my Footsteps in London has led me to discover many new things that I had not previously. I am seeing My City both as a Londoner and as a tourist. This has gently reminded me of many experiences throughout the years and the many visits where my kids and I would just hop onto the train for a half-hour ride to the heart of the City. These were mostly unplanned or involved overnight planning of a visit to a Royal Palace or a Castle, a picnic in the park, and games or read a book until sundown etc. 

Looking back, these were unplanned visits. Although there is fun in doing things impromptu, I believe there must be a general plan of what one intends to do, and you can save money as a result. Therefore, this time I have incorporated planning into my visits, because Planning is Important. I have written a blog on the 5 Reasons Why  Travel Planning Is Important which you may want to read and share your thoughts with me in comments below. What planning has helped me do this time was to think about researching for deals that would suit my plans – more on this below.

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I hope you will enjoy reading about the Royal Palaces and the Royal Parks as much as I enjoy writing about them.

The Royal Palaces – MyCityMyTown-Appreciating London Series

On the Royal Palaces, the following are the ones which are included in this Series. I will write on each of the palaces as I visit them.

If you are planning a visit to London or you are a Londoner looking for something to do, and wish to visit any of the Royal Palaces, here are my pick of the top 8 palaces and castles to visit in London or within a short trip of London, in no particular order:

1. Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is the most favourite among visitors to London. Buckingham Palace Tours start 20th July 2019 and runs throughout August and close 29th September 2019.  You can skip the line and purchase your tickets here.

October 2019 Update: Buckingham Palace is now closed to the public and re-opens in summer of 2020

However, you can still visit the Royal Mews. The Royal Mews is one of the finest working stables in existence and is responsible for all road travel arrangements for The Queen and the Royal Family. You will also see the spectacular new Diamond Jubilee State Coach, some of the Queen’s horses and meet the famous Windsor Greys or Cleveland Bays. You can puchase your tickets to the Royal Mews here.

You can still watch the Changing of the Guard Ceremony outside Buckingham Palace as this is a FREE event. This is a popular event, so ensure you are there early to secure a a good viewing point. The ceremony takes places from 10:45 a.m. and lasts for 45 minutes.

The Changing of the Guards Ceremony is where the Buckingham Palace Old Guard arrives and forms up in the forecourt of the Palace from 10:30 a.m. onwards and they are joined by the Old Guard from St James’ Palace at 10:45 a.m. The New Guard then arrives from the Wellington Barracks to take over the responsibilities from the Old Guard. This formal ceremony is accompanied by music. There will be no ceremonies in poor weather conditions or when there are other ceremonial events taking place. You can check the Changing of the Guard Ceremony schedule with the Household Division here

2. Windsor Castle

A trip to the UK or London is never complete without a trip to Windsor, the home of the historic Windsor Castle.

Windsor is a historic market town in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in Berkshire, Southeast England. It has a lively atmosphere with great shopping and restaurants. It sits on River Thames, just west of London, and is under an hour’s journey from London 

I have visited Windsor Castle a number of times over the years and the highlights in my article of this iconic and historical castle will help you plan your itinerary. I have also included travel tips and practical information to aid your planning. Read more on How to make the Best of Windsor Castle in I day here.

Windsor Castle, Berkshire: View from the Cambridge Gate
Windsor Castle, Berkshire: View from the Cambridge Gate
The Inner Courtyard of the Upper Ward_Private Apartments of Windsor Castle, Berkshire (2)
The Inner Courtyard, Upper Ward_Private Apartments of Windsor Castle, Berkshire
Windsor Castle. One of the 8 Royal Castles in #3 MyCityMyTown-Appreciating London Series - Royal Palaces and Royal Parks
Windsor Castle. One of the 8 Royal Castles in #3 MyCityMyTown-Windsor Castle: Appreciating London Series – Royal Palaces and Royal Parks

3. Kensington Palace London

These days, Kensington Palace is the royal residence for the young royals, who are the direct descendants of Queen Victoria. The Palace is the official London residence for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. It was the former home of late Princess Diana. The Palace has a long history of being a residence for the British Royal Family since the 17th century when King William III and Queen Mary II took residence just before Christmas of 1689.

What drew me to the Palace this time was the Exhibition held in honour of 200th year of Queen Victoria’s birth, and learnt much about the Real Victoria. My visit to Kensington Palace coincided with my current 3rd instalment of MyCityMyTown Retracing my footsteps Series

Kensington Palace: Kings Grand Staircase - The first link to the King's State Apartments. The walls surrounding the staircase was painted by William Kent in 1720, depicting George I's court.
Kensington Palace: Kings Grand Staircase – The first link to the King’s State Apartments. The walls surrounding the staircase was painted by William Kent in 1720, depicting George I’s court.
Kensington Palace: Cupola Room - Roman inspired four-sided dome with a steeply curved ceiling and Garter Star in the centre.
Kensington Palace: Cupola Room – Roman inspired four-sided dome with a steeply curved ceiling and Garter Star in the centre.
Kensington Palace. One of the Royal Palaces visited in #3 MyCityMyTown Appreciating London Series - Royal Palaces and Royal Parks
Kensington Palace. One of the Royal Palaces visited in #3 MyCityMyTown Appreciating London Series – Royal Palaces and Royal Parks

Kensington Palace is one of the Royal Palaces I enjoyed visiting and the architecture in some of these rooms were mind-blowing. Read the full article on KENSINGTON PALACE: WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT THIS 18TH CENTURY HISTORICAL GEM

Other Palaces on the list are:

4. Tower of London

5. Kew Palace

6. Clarence House

7. Banqueting House

8. Hampton Court Palace

Best-deals: All the Royal Palaces and Castles offer individual or combined tickets. As you know, it is cheaper to buy combined tickets. Also, it is cheaper to skip the line and buy the tickets online. As for me, I discovered that the Historic Royal Palaces offer of an Annual Membership to be beneficial. You can read about Why the Historic Royal Palaces Annual Membership is good for me here

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Alongside the Royal Palaces in the City of London, there are also several parks  and large green spaces where one can escape to from the norm of sightseeing and crowded streets. Below, you will find a list of Royal Parks which I hope you will enjoy.

The Royal Parks – MyCityMyTown-Appreciating London Series

There are 8 Royal Parks, together they offer 5000 acres of green spaces which provides a natural habitat for many wildlife. The Parks are open to everyone throughout the year, where you can have a gentle stroll, exercise, have a bike-ride, have a picnic or just grab a seat at a bench and watch the world go by…

The 8 Parks are:

1. The Regents Park and Primrose Hill, London

Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill is a large green space that offers a sanctuary for people who are constantly on the go with City’s hum-drum. Regent’s Park is different, from the other Parks in London because of its tranquil settings, beautiful landscape and the opportunity to catch either the sunset or the sunrise at Primrose Hill. There are flowers of all colours, roses especially, 12,000 of them, all named and planted in neat rows (more on this below). This is a place where you can spend hours admiring the sea of colours and enjoy the amazing fragrances.  A total paradise.

Regent's Park: This tree-lined path welcomes you to Avenue Gardens.
Regent’s Park: This tree-lined path welcomes you to Avenue Gardens.
Queen Mary's Garden, Regent's Park
Queen Mary’s Garden, Regent’s Park

For me, every visit to Regent’s Park had been a journey of new experiences and discovery, even more so on my recent visits which was part of MyCityMyTown – London Series.

You can read more on The Regents Park and Primrose Hill here.

This is Regent's Park, London - one of the Royal Parks which I frequently visit and is #3 in MyCityMyTown-Appreciating London Series
This is Regent’s Park, London – one of the Royal Parks which I frequently visit and is #3 in MyCityMyTown-Appreciating London Series

The green space at Regent’sPark offers tranquillity and space to watch these guys having fun in the sun! 😊

Regent's Park, London - one of the 8 Royal Parks in London. #3 in MyCityMyTown Appreciating London Series - Royal Palaces and Royal Parks.
Regent’s Park, London – one of the 8 Royal Parks in London. #3 in MyCityMyTown Appreciating London Series – Royal Palaces and Royal Parks.

   

2. Kensington Palace Gardens, London

Kensington Palace Gardens is made up of beautiful landscaped grounds. Trees here are planted in straight lines, there are some unique looking ones near the round pond and colourful flowering shrubs which makes a visit here more than inviting.

The Round Pond at Kensington Palace Gardens - one of the 8 Royal Parks in London. #3 in MyCityMyTown Appreciating London Series - Royal Palaces and Royal Parks.
The Round Pond at Kensington Palace Gardens. – one of the 8 Royal Parks in London. #3 in MyCityMyTown Appreciating London Series – Royal Palaces and Royal Parks.
Kensington Palace Gardens - An idyllic getaway from chaos of the City (1)
Kensington Palace Gardens: The Cradle Walk

The Sunken Garden is my favourite part of the Palace grounds. I am sure it is the case for many visitors to this idyllic location.

It was planted in 1908 and resembles classical gardens of the 18th century in the UK. A secluded oasis of peaceful haven with ornamental flower beds, an ornamental pond with fountains and a variety of vibrant, exotic and colourful plants like roses, geraniums, cannas and begonias.

Kensington Palace: The Sunken Garden
Kensington Palace: The Sunken Garden
Kensington Palace Gardens: Fresh, new blooms at the sunken garden, summer 2019
Kensington Palace Gardens: Fresh, new blooms at the sunken garden, summer 2019
Kensington Palace Gardens: The sunken garden, summer 2019
Kensington Palace Gardens: The sunken garden, summer 2019
Kensington Palace: Flowers in the Sunken Garden
Kensington Palace Gardens: The Sunken Garden, a secluded oasis of peaceful haven
Kensington Palace Gardens: The Sunken Garden, a secluded oasis of peaceful haven

For the full article on Kensington Palace Gardens, read KENSINGTON PALACE GARDENS – AN IDYLLIC GETAWAY FROM CHAOS OF THE CITY here.

3. Greenwich Park, London

Greenwich, London is a nice little town just a stone’s throw away from London, in the south-east which sits on the banks of River Thames, accessible with a 20-minute journey from London (Bank Station). It is a popular destination for tourists because of its maritime and astronomy history.

The area, Royal Greenwich Park is host to the Royal Museum Greenwich (RMG) which is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and consists of four top attractions.

1. Royal Observatory,

2. Queen’s House

3. National Maritime Museum

4. Cutty Sark.

All of these attractions are within walking distance of each other and would typically fill a full-day itinerary.

This quaint little town is definitely a Must-Do for families with kids, grand-kids, solo travellers and couples – not only for the over 50’s but at any age! You will experience history, lots of free exhibits and guided tours. You will also save money  Read the full article on 45 Experiences and More in 1 Day at Greenwich.

Other Parks in London

4. Hyde Park

5. St James’ Park

6. Hyde Park

7. Richmond Park

8. Bushy Park

  Information on the rest of the the Royal Parks are available here.

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Originally a Malaysian, Georgina has lived in London for most of her adult life which is her home. This gives her an unparalleled advantage of London life as a local expert. Her adventures had given her the opportunity to live in Japan and the USA also. Georgina is the owner and business strategist behind MyTimelessFootsteps.com. Her goal is to encourage mature adventurers to be happy at home and abroad. Her travel guides and inspiring travel articles are aimed at encouraging you to embrace this beautiful world and to live life on your  terms.  

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35 Comments

  1. Georgina

    Absolutely! “Travel with a local” is definitely different – you get to experience the everyday life and see places not really in a guide book. Just a totally unique perspective. Thank you so much for appreciating my approach and for your lovely comments. Much appreciated.

  2. Ann

    The only time I have been to London, I had a fever and a large one at that. I really tried to enjoy the city, but I really didnt.
    Maybe another time 🙂

  3. Karthika

    I absolutely love learning about places from locals. This gives such a great perspective on what to see and what to do that you often don’t find in guide books all the time.

  4. Georgina

    So glad you have visited these two places as well. Have been to Hampton Court Palace many times, just haven’t got around to writing on it yet. Visited some part of Great Windsor Park but did not see a deer. Perhaps I should visit it again soon…Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. Much appreciated.

  5. Georgina

    Thank you so much Smita. Really appreciate that. Glad also that you found it useful. I hope you will return soon. There will be more on the series and hope that too will help you plan your itinerary for London. Ask me any questions you may have on London, happy to oblige.

  6. Georgina

    I am sure you will, Catherine. So long as it has made your list, it is a matter of time. It will be a vacation to enjoy and cherish. Thank you so much for your lovely comments.

  7. Georgina

    Thank you so much, Sheila. I am really happy to hear that you found this guide useful and you will be saving it for future use. Get in touch if I could help in any way at all on your trips.

  8. Georgina

    Those are the two most popular castles visited along with Tower of London – When you get to London, you will want to visit the Tower. There are great offers on tickets which you can purchase to get best value – London is not that expensive. The issue is time – so much to see and you don’t want to rush. Let me know if I can help at all. Tbh, my guides are pretty good 🙂

  9. Georgina

    You are welcome. I enjoy sharing my experiences and glad you found it useful. Hope you will visit London soon. Thank you so much for your lovely comments.

  10. Georgina

    Regent’s Park is my favourite too. I like the Rose Garden in the evening and the Japanese Garden at other times. I hope one day when you return, that you will visit the Palaces. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. Much appreciated.

  11. Georgina

    Haha Carol…now you have every reason to return to London! .I sincerely hope that you will and enjoy our gardens. Thank you so much for your lovely comments. Much appreciated.

  12. Georgina

    Hi Rudy, I will probably write something mini on Buckingham Palace as I did not get a chance to visit this year. It is now closed to the public until next year. As your planned visit is in 2021/22 – you will have my full review by then. Thank you so much for your support. Really appreciate it.

  13. Georgina

    There are a number of parks in London but still we could do with a few more, if only….Thank you so much for appreciating the guide/series. The round pond is at Kensington Palace where you will also be able to relax in the around the sunken garden.

  14. Smita

    We missed out on visiting Windsor Castle during our recent trip to London. Reading your description now makes me really want to go back for a visit! This is a lovely series of articles – London has so much to offer that a single post would hardly do it justice. Great idea with the series!

  15. Catherine

    It’s always been my dream to take my daughters to these Royal palaces and parks! Hopefully one day we’ll tick it off our bucket list. Thanks for sharing

  16. Sheila

    Thanks for all the detailed info. I would enjoy watching the changing of the guard ceremony. I’ve not been to London but will save this post for reference for when I do visit.

  17. Nitin Singhal

    Winsdor castle and Buckingham palace are something that I want to see once in my life. Hope to visit them soon.

  18. josypheen

    I loooove the Royal Parks. They are all really beautiful, but I think Regents Park and Primrose Hill is my favourite. We always seem to spend the most time there when we`re back in London.

    It`s funny, I liked to explore London when we lived there, but I have never visited the palaces. I guess i will need to if/when we move home.

  19. Joshua & Darby

    What a great parks guide! I love visiting parks more than other tourist sites, especially when there are so many beautiful ducks and swans 🙂 Round Pond looks amazing, will have to remember that when we get over to London!

  20. Carol Colborn

    Oh my. I have been to London 3 tunes and I have only seen Buckingham, Windsor, and Tower if London from the royal pakaces list and none of the royal gardens! What’s wrong with me?

  21. Georgina

    Glad you enjoyed the post and the photos Christy! So happy to know that you will be here next spring so we could finally meet, fingers crossed 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, really appreciate it.

  22. Christy La Barthe

    WE love London Georgina and hope to be there again next spring. Haven’t seen three of the palaces and two of the gardens so your post is getting me fired up! Beautiful photos!!! 😊

  23. Georgina

    I am so pleased that you will be visiting in 2020! Yes, London has so many and yet we could do with a few more. Regent’s Park appears to be a little different than the others and provides a peaceful area. Hope you will be able to visit Regent’s Park when you visit. Glad you found the tips useful. Thank you 🙂

  24. Estelle Anderson

    I too hope to visit some of the Royal Parks in 2020. I had no ides there were 8 Royal Parks. And thanks for the tips on how to get the best deals for the Royal Palaces and Castles. 🙂

  25. Georgina

    I am delighted that you enjoyed my post and found it helpful. The Parks in London, as you know, offer so much more than just green spaces. I look forward to your visit here. Many thanks for your lovely comments, Roz, I appreciate it.

  26. Roz Zito

    I loved reading about the Royal Parks of London, it brought back many a happy memory of time spent in various parks throughout our time living in London. They are always beautiful but the burgeoning of spring is very special, particularly when the daffodils appear. Many thanks for your extremely helpful links to organise trips – you’ve done so much work and I, for one, am extremely grateful!

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