The Sanctuary House Hotel, Westminster: A Royal Visit
Closest tube stop: St. James’s Park
If you’re keen to enjoy a mini-break that’s steeped in Royal history, The Sanctuary House Hotel is perfectly positioned for you to explore a host of regal sights. The hotel itself combines comfort with traditional elegance, and is located inside a grand Fuller’s Ale & Pie pub on the most ancient street in Westminster.
No Royal trip would be complete without taking in the grandeur of the Tower of London, so be sure to pay a visit during your stay. Hop on the underground at nearby St James’s Park, and you’re just eight tube stops from Tower Hill, where you’ll find the historic palace and prison, built in the 1070s. Home to some renowned ravens, the Crown Jewels, and the spot where Anne Boleyn was executed, it simply mustn’t be missed. Book your tickets in advance, and you can enjoy a whole day at the Tower.
You can also explore some of London’s top Royal attractions on foot from the hotel by following our walking tour. Take a short stroll eastwards towards the river, and you’ll reach the Palace of Westminster, which overlooks the River Thames and is majestically reflected in its ripples. While taking in the Palace’s impressive architecture is a must, you should also take time to seek out the Jewel Tower on Abingdon Street, which was built in around 1365 to hold King Edward III’s treasures.
The medieval Palace of Westminster was mostly lost in a fire in 1834, and the Palace also suffered heavy bombing during World War II – but the ancient Jewel Tower survived. Tickets can be bought for a tour that includes a history of weights and measures, and a replica of an 18th-century clerk’s office.
From the tower, head north up Abingdon Street towards Big Ben for an unmissable photo opportunity with its world-famous clock, then turn left onto Birdcage Walk, which takes you along the south edge of St James’s Park towards the highlight of any Royal tour of London: Buckingham Palace. It’s possible to spend a whole day enjoying the palace, its surrounding parks, and Buckingham Palace Garden, which this summer offers visitors the unique chance to enjoy a picnic with views of the palace.
Features of the palace’s 39-acre garden include plane trees planted by Queen Victoria, a 156-metre herbaceous border, the Victoria Memorial and the palace lake, offering visitors a tranquil oasis of calm in the heart of the city to wander at their leisure. The palace grounds are also home to The Queen’s Gallery, which exhibits art from the Royal Collection, and The Royal Mews, where you can see the Queen’s horses and her historic royal carriages.
Buckingham Palace is also home to the famous Changing the Guard ceremony, which takes place at 10.45am on certain days of the week. Although currently on pause, it’s hoped that the ceremony will resume again soon, along with tours of the palace’s opulent State Rooms, which are due to reopen this spring.
Green Park and St James’s Park, which surround the palace, also hold several other points of interest for fans of the Royal Family, including the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk, St James’s Palace, and Clarence House, which is the official London residence of Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
Extend your walk all the way to the peaceful environs of Hyde Park, and you can take in landmarks including the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain, Rose Garden, Albert Memorial and Serpentine Gallery. Hiring a BlueBird Boat to drift lazily around The Serpentine lake is also a lovely way to spend an hour.
Once you’ve enjoyed all the regal sights that the palace and its parks have to offer, finish your walk by heading towards Green Park tube station and taking a stroll down Piccadilly. This wide, sweeping road is lined with stately shops and grand buildings including The Ritz, The Wolseley, and Fortnum & Mason, which was founded in 1707 and holds a prestigious Royal Warrant.
If you fancy a spot of high-end window-shopping, turn left off Piccadilly onto Old Bond Street, home to fashion and jewellery designers that require a Royal-sized budget, including Tiffany & Co, Gucci and De Beers. At the end of Piccadilly make a small diversion to enjoy a drink at The Red Lion on Duke of York Street, before hopping on the tube home. Those with sturdy legs might choose instead to take a 20-minute stroll down Haymarket to The Mall and Horse Guards Road to reach the hotel.