Group visits inspired by royal baby births
Date Posted: 29/04/2015
Brits love to hear about the private lives of the royal family. And with the arrival of the second royal baby pending, we’ve never been so keen to find out more about the monarchy. Fortunately a bit of snooping around royal residences makes for a great group trip.
While the public cannot descend on the private wing of St. Mary’s hospital to get a glimpse of the new royal baby when it arrives, they can explore plenty of royal birthplaces and childhood haunts which should satiate their love for all things HRH.
Hever Castle in Kent is known for being the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII and mother of Elizabeth I, and also is thought to have been the birthplace of at least one of Henry VII’s seven children.
Groups are able to book private tours for the castle interior and gardens. Throughout the tour they will learn about the castle’s 700 year history and soak up facts about its furniture, tapestries, antiques and rooms like King Henry VIII’s bed chamber and the ornate drawing room.
Guests visiting the Long Gallery meanwhile, will not only get to see an exhibition dedicated to Anne Boleyn’s life, but also, until 22nd November, Henry VII and Elizabeth of York’s Paradise State Bed - the only Tudor royal bed in existence, will be on display.
Additionally, groups can stroll through the 125 acres of castle grounds and take in the vastness of the English rose garden before admiring the classical statuary and the giant topiary chess set. Garden tours are available in the summer.
Hever Castle provides a range of benefits for groups including discounted admission rates, a free meal voucher for the coach driver and a free visit for group leader.
Kensington Palace in London currently houses Prince William, the Duchess of Cambridge and the future heir to the throne Prince George. The palace was also the birthplace and residence for another famous monarch, Queen Victoria.
Whilst the royal family’s living area is closed to the public, guests can visit the King’s State Rooms, the Queen’s State Apartments, the King’s Staircase and the King’s Gallery.
Additionally, group trips will be able to visit the Fashion Rules exhibition, showcasing of previous royal wardrobes reflecting the style and trends of the past. The display will include desses from Queen Elizabeth II in the 1950s, Princess Margaret in the 1960s and 1970s and Diana Princess of Wales in the 1980s. There is also the Victoria Revealed exhibition which features displays of personal objects and personal journals which reveal an insight into Queen Victoria's life
Hampton Court Palace in Surrey was seized from Cardinal Wolsey by King Henry VIII in 1529 and became one of his favourite residences. Significantly, it was the birthplace of his only son and heir Edward VI.
Groups can pre-book private guided tours for Hampton Court Palace or alternatively listen to an audio guide which will show you around Henry VIII's Apartments, William III's Apartments and the Tudor Kitchens, designed to feed at least 600 people twice a day.
Also, guests can venture into the palace’s 60 acre gardens which contain the Privy Garden, a reconstruction of the original 1702 garden complete with the Tijou screen and the Hampton Court Maze, a labyrinth renowned for luring and disorientating visitors with its complex network of twists, turns and dead ends.
Hampton Court Palace accommodates group visits and provides discounted entry for parties of 15 or more.
Glamis Castle in Scotland isn’t just the location where it is thought Duncan was murdered by Shakespearian anti-hero Macbeth, it also has close ties with the royal family.
Guests visiting this attraction will receive a guided tour and discover the history behind the castle’s inception and evolution. They will also learn about the royal family members who lived there such as Princess Margaret.
Also visitors will be able to look at a collection of royal memorabilia which includes Princess Margaret’s birth certificate.
Glamis Castle offers all drivers and group leaders free entry and guided group tours are included at no extra charge.
Windsor Castle in Berkshire has been a royal birthplace of 39 monarchs including Henry VI and Edward III, but it is best known for being the current Queen Elizabeth II’s weekend home.
Groups of between 15 and 60 are eligible for a variety of guided tours including a private after-hours tour of Windsor Castle’s State Apartments. Guests will learn about the structural transformation of the castle – from William the Conqueror’s wooden building to Edward III’s stone fortress. Parties attending this tour will receive a complementary glass of Champagne and a copy of the castle’s official guidebook.
Until 13th January 2016, Windsor Castle will be hosting temporary exhibition Waterloo at Windsor: 1815–2015 in the State Apartments. The display is a 200 year anniversary tribute to the Battle of Waterloo and will feature a number of prints, drawings and archival material that explores the battle and its aftermath.
Photo Credit: VisitEngland/ Historic Royal Palaces