In and around Buckingham Palace

March 31, 2014 9:00 am

Since 1703, Buckingham Palace has represented one of the most important buildings in the British monarchy. Stretching over an impressive 100m in length, containing 775 rooms and 78 bathrooms – it is quite a sight to behold. With over 800 staff who help run the building, from clockmakers to caterers, it’s not surprising it has become one of the most quintessentially English buildings that everyone comes to see.

Beyond Buckingham Palace, there’s plenty more to see and do from discovering London’s rich heritage to exploring the latest in contemporary art. You can spend all day exploring the great places in Westminster, each within walking distance of the palace, so here are some of the most noteworthy attractions in the vicinity of Buckingham Palace.

Green Park and St James’s Park

The palace is flanked by some of the finest open spaces in London; Green Park to the north and St James’s Park to the east. A peaceful refuge looking directly onto the palace, Green Park comprises 40 acres of trees and grassland, extending to Piccadilly and Constitution Hill, and is the perfect spot for a quiet picnic in the summer, or a morning jog if you’re staying locally.

St James’s Park provides the backdrop to the finest examples of royal pageantry, including the annual Trooping of the Colour. Here, you’ll also find famous sites including Horse Guards Parade and The Mall, which runs from Buckingham Palace to Trafalgar Square.

Both parks are great if you fancy a bit of time-out from the hustle and bustle of London, so camp out with a picnic or sit on a quiet bench to read your book for a bit of ‘me time’.

Westminster Cathedral

Less than a ten minute walk from the palace, Westminster Cathedral – not to be confused with Westminster Abbey – is the mother church of the catholic faith in England and Wales.

Overlooked by most tourists walking along Victoria Road, it’s one of the more famous attractions that’s worth a look-in. With undeniable Byzantine influence this 17th century building is quite a sight to behold, and thanks to John Francis Bentley,  it’s worth a photo or two. As one of the few examples of neo-Byzantine architecture in London and stands out for its size and unique design.

Churchill War Rooms

Part of the Imperial War Museum, the Churchill War Rooms are located just ten minutes away from Buckingham Palace and hold the Cabinet War Rooms, a famous underground complex from which the British government commanded its troops in the Second World War.

Here, you will also find the Churchill Museum, dedicated to exploring the life of one of Britain’s finest statesmen and leader of the war effort, Winston Churchill. Explore the secret rooms and walk the corridors of this underground base – a real experience for history buffs and a great insight into WW2.

Institute of Contemporary Arts

If your tastes are a little more current and contemporary after the grandeur of Buckingham Palace, why not head down to the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) which can be reached on foot from the palace in less than 15 minutes. The ICA is home to radical art and culture, with exhibitions exploring the latest cutting edge ideas across the visual arts, events and talks. It also boasts two cinemas, a theatre and a bookshop should you wish to take home any inspirational souvenirs.

Explore London and save both time and money with the London Pass. With the option of a travelcard, you can get free entry into over 60 top attractions in London from museums to monuments, as well as fast track VIP entry. Find out more…

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