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Activities full of historical facts, insights and fun learning opportunities

Discover the official royal residences

The King's Bedchamber at the Palace of Holyroodhouse

The King's Bedchamber at the Palace of Holyroodhouse ©

Her Majesty The Queen has three official residences: Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. These magnificent buildings are not only royal family homes but also where The Queen undertakes official work has Head of State. Today, the official residences are used for meetings, holding audiences with government ministers and ambassadors, hosting Garden Parties and State Visits and more.

The residences are also open to the public – millions of people visit the Palaces each year to see treasures from the Royal Collection, and to learn about the history of the buildings and how they are used today.

Buckingham Palace has served as the official London residence of the monarch since 1837, and today the State Rooms are used by The Queen to receive and entertain guests. Many national occasions have been marked by the Royal Family standing on the balcony at the front of the Palace. Windsor Castle is the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world, and it has been a royal home and a fortress for nine hundred years. The annual ceremony for the Order of the Garter, the oldest order of chivalry, takes place at St George’s Chapel in the grounds of the Castle each year. The Palace of Holyroodhouse is the official residence of The Queen in Scotland. Founded more than 500 years ago, the Palace stands next to the ruins of Holyrood Abbey, which was once the site of coronations, parliaments and royal weddings.

Discover more about the official royal residences and the monarchs who have shaped their history. These resources will enable you to explore royal life through the ages by looking at objects, paintings, drawings, photographs and works of art from the Royal Collection.

Activity

Design your own State Room

The rooms in the State Apartments are beautifully decorated with magnificent art and furniture, which has impressed visitors both past and present. Why not have a go at designing your own special room? You could even create a suite of rooms. Use the various interactive images and videos for some inspiration.

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Activity

Design your own royal garden.

Every royal residence needs a beautiful outdoor space! Royal gardens have historically been used to entertain guests or as a private place to sit and enjoy the peaceful surroundings of a palace. Have a go at designing a garden fit for a Queen (and don’t forget a place for the corgis to run!)

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Virtual reality tour

Virtual reality tour of Buckingham Palace

Royal Collection Trust has developed a virtual reality tour with Google, creating expeditions for schools to some of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace.

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The view of the Long Walk from the State Entrance
Activity

A royal home

Almost 40 Kings and Queens have lived at Windsor Castle. Find out more about some of the grand rooms found in the State Apartments at the Castle.

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The Royal Mews

Explore royal stables and garages

The Royal Mews sits behind Buckingham Palace in central London. This is where royal horses, carriages and cars are kept. Find out what happens at the Royal Mews.

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Inside Windsor Castle

Take an interactive tour inside the State Apartments of one of The Queen’s grandest residences, Windsor Castle. Visit the impressive portraits in the Waterloo Chamber and the spectacular Crimson Drawing Room, which was restored after the disastrous fire of 1992.

Image credit: Will Pearson | Eye Revolution

Image credit: Will Pearson | Eye Revolution

A room for special meetings

The Privy Chamber at the Palace of Holyroodhouse was designed for private meetings with the monarch. Her Majesty The Queen has used this room throughout her reign for important meetings with Heads of State and government ministers.

Image credit: Will Pearson | Eye Revolution