The Royal Family may not enjoy quite the same standing as in days gone by — these days the monarch is a ceremonial figure with almost no real power — but they still perform a vital service to the tourist industry. Visitors from all over the world come to marvel at the capital's chocolate-box assortment of royal palaces and homes. Here's a route taking in the highlights.
Start: Tube to High Street Kensington.
1. Hyde Park & Kensington Gardens
From the Tube, turn right and head along Kensington High Street until you reach Kensington Gardens. Seek out some of the royal-related sights, including the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain and the fabulously kitsch Albert Memorial. The Royal Albert Hall, the main venue for the BBC Proms, stands opposite.
2. Kensington Palace
Tour the royal apartments and the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection.
3. Take a Break — Orangery
Enjoy an elegant lunch in Kensington Palace's 18th-century Orangery (an arcade-shaped outhouse originally used for growing citrus fruit). If the weather is fine, sit on the terrace.
Stroll east through the park to Hyde Park Corner, and then past Wellington Arch and through Green Park to:
4. Buckingham Palace
If visiting during the summer opening period, you can tour the state rooms.
Head a short way east up the Mall to Stableyard Road, site of:
5. Clarence House
The official home of the Prince of Wales, and the former home of the Queen Mother, is filled with royal knick-knacks. Again, it's only open for a short period in summer.
Head back to the Mall, stroll south across St. James's Park, and then south down Storey's Gate to:
6. Westminster Abbey
Site of numerous royal tombs and the coronation chair.
In the evening catch the Tube to Green Park. Head east along Piccadilly until you reach:
7. Fortnum & Mason
Finish the day with a high-class meal in the Fountain restaurant, set inside the grocer to the Queen.