Royal Wedding: Top 8 London Sights

A Very British Wedding: The Couple

With all the excitement of the engagement and upcoming Royal Wedding of H.R.H. Prince William and Kate Middleton, there is no better time to plan your own "Royal Engagement" in London.

According to Visit London, the official visitor organization, the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana 30 years ago brought an additional 600,000 visitors to the capital. With the popularity of Prince William and Kate, they predict significantly more interest.

So start planning now, as London and the surrounding areas offer many options for enjoying the incredibly rich history of England's Royal Family.

From the torture chambers of the Tower of London to the elegance of Hampton Court and natural beauty of Kew Gardens, has put together a list of top eight royal sites:

Buckingham Palace: Grandeur in the Heart of London

Buckingham Palace was built in 1702 and has been a home to various members of the Royal Family ever since. Queen Victoria was the first monarch to take up residence in Buckingham Palace in 1837. Today the palace serves as the London residence of Queen Elizabeth II, as well as the administrative headquarters of the Royal Household. It is one of the few working royal palaces remaining in the world today.

There are many opportunities to enjoy Buckingham Palace without even going inside. You can watch the spectacular Changing of the Guard that happens each morning at 11:30 a.m.

For most of the year, you can tour The Queen's Gallery, a permanent space dedicated to changing exhibitions of items from the Royal Collection. Shaped by the personal tastes of kings and queens over more than 500 years, the Royal Collection includes paintings, drawings and watercolors, furniture, ceramics, clocks, silver, sculpture, jewelry, books, manuscripts, prints and maps, arms and armor, fans, and textiles.

During August and September, Buckingham Palace is open to the public for viewings of the State Rooms, the heart of the working palace. They are lavishly furnished with some of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection -- paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, Poussin and Canaletto; sculpture by Canova; exquisite examples of Sevres porcelain; and some of the finest English and French furniture in the world.

The Royal Mews: See the Carriage for the Wedding Day

For a preview of the Royal Carriage, check out the Royal Mews, which is also part of Buckingham Palace. The Royal Mews houses the state vehicles, both horse-drawn carriages and motor cars, used for coronations, state visits, royal weddings, the State Opening of Parliament and official engagements.

You can see the gold state coach which was last used during the queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002 – will this be what takes Prince William and Kate to their wedding?

For most of the year you can also see the working horses that play an important role in the queen's official and ceremonial duties.

Windsor Castle: The Country House

Windsor Castle, the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world, encapsulates 900 years of British history. It covers an area of 26 acres and contains, as well as a royal palace, the magnificent St. George's chapel and much more.

Highlights include Queen Mary's Dolls' House, the most famous dollhouse in the world. It took three years to complete and involved 1,500 craftsmen, artists and authors. The dollhouse has electric lighting, hot and cold running water, and even flushing lavatories.

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