Royal Wedding: Top 8 London Sights


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.

It is also possible to arrange a tour of the kitchen at Windsor Castle, which takes you to areas not normally open to the public and provides a fascinating insight into the behind-the-scenes life of the castle.

Clarence House: Will's Home (for Now)

If you are really planning ahead, you can book tours for August 2011 of Clarence House, the official residence of Princes William and Harry and home to the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.

Located on The Mall, just opposite St. James's Park in London, visitors to Clarence House are guided around the five ground-floor rooms where the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall (the former Camilla Parker Bowles) hold official engagements and receive guests from around the world.

Clarence House displays much of Queen Elizabeth's famous art collection, including outstanding 20th-century paintings John Piper, Graham Sutherland, W.S. Sickert and Augustus John. Superb examples of Faberge, English porcelain and silver are also on display.

The Tower of London: Home to the Jewels and the Cruel

Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, more commonly known as the Tower of London, is one of the world's most famous buildings and a must for those fascinated with the Royal Family.

Take a tour with one of the Yeoman Warders around the tower and learn about its 900-year history as a royal palace, prison and place of execution, arsenal, jewel house and even a zoo.

The Medieval Palace, the royal residence where 14th-century kings including Henry III and Edward I lived, has been restored with replica furniture, art and even infused with some medieval smells and sounds.

See where where famous prisoners, such as Guy Fawkes and Ann Boleyn, were held, and see where they were executed. Learn where the phrase "sent to the Tower" comes from. The Tower has a vast display of replicas of torture instruments known to have been used on traitors in centuries past.

You also can be dazzled by the over 23,000 gems that make up the Crown Jewels, including the glistening Imperial State Crown, which alone has 2,868 diamonds, 273 pearls, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds and five rubies. This astonishing collection of priceless Coronation regalia is definitely a highlight, and we can wonder what William will give to Kate to add to it.

Hampton Court: Henry VIII Slept Here

Originally built in 1525 by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, Hampton Court Palace was given to King Henry VIII, who greatly expanded the property. The Palace is a mixture of Tudor and English Baroque architecture set amid 60 acres of spectacular gardens, including the famous Hampton Court Maze.

You can see the King's apartments and the Tudor kitchens, and depending on when you go you can even try an authentic Tudor meal.

There are several exhibitions of note, including one that explains the history of the palace, and one on the history of the gardens. A permanent audio installation uses sounds to showcase the idea of mazes as places for conversation and flirtation.

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