Last updated: 01/10/2019
Clarence House, the official residence of Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, is open to the public for a few days a year. In this post, I share what to expect from visiting the home of the first in line for Queen Elizabeth II.
THE CLARENCE HOUSE
Clarence House is a royal residence attached to St. James, sharing the same garden. The house was built between 1825 and 1827 due to a project commissioned by the Duke of Clarence which, in 1830, became King William IV. He preferred residence over St. James, who found it too tight. From William IV, the house passed to his sister, Princess Augusta Sophia, and after her death in 1840, to Queen Victoria's mother, Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. In 1866, it became the home of Queen Victoria's fourth son, Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, until his death in 1900. Alfred's younger brother, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, used the house. from 1900 until his death in 1942. During this period, the house suffered several damages due to bombing during the Second World War. Until the end of the war, the house ended up being used as a station for the Red Cross. The 4 storey house It has undergone extensive remodeling and reconstruction over the years, particularly after World War II, such that relatively little of the original structure remains.
With the end of the war, the residence was given as a gift to the then Princess Elizabeth (who became Queen Elizabeth II) and her husband, Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, who lived in the house between 1949 and 1952. the death of King George VI, father of Elizabeth II, the house became the official residence of Elizabeth, the Queen Mother (mother of Queen Elizabeth II and wife of the late King George VI). The Queen Mother lived at Clarence House for 49 years from 1953 to 2002, year of his death. Since 2003, she has become the official residence of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla, who married Charles, after his separation (and subsequent death) from Princess Diana. Prince William lived in the residence with his father until his marriage to Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, in 2011 and Prince Harry lived there until 2012.
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LONDON: VISIT TO CLARENCE HOUSE, HOME OF PRINCE CHARLES
To guarantee your ticket, it's worth buying in advance, to book the day and time of your visit (information at the end of the post). I ended up going with the courage and courage and got an appointment for half an hour after my arrival. You must go through a metal detector and x-ray before entering the house. At visits are all guided by a professional which gives relevant information about who lived in the residence and some details about the architectural changes over the decades. The first warning given before even starting the tour is that photos are prohibited both inside the house and in the garden of the property. To illustrate the post, several photos were selected with their respective sources.
The tour starts in the garden, with the guide giving an overview of the property. Then we were directed to the main entrance of the residence. Inside the house, the following rooms are visited: The Lancaster Room, The Morning Room, The Library, The Dining Room and The Garden Room, in this order. There are many works of art, paintings, lots of family photos, sculptures, beautiful tapestries and furniture.
The tour passes through the house's Library, where the Queen Mother used to have her 5am tea and which is now the place where, at the end of the year, a large Christmas tree is set up. In another room, the “The Garden Room”, filled with portraits of the royal family (including the Queen and Prince George), is a piano, which, according to our guide, was even played by Elton John on one of his visits to the residence.
In “The Dining Room” there is a dining table that expands to accommodate up to 22 people. In this room, the Duchess of Cornwall often hosts charity events. According to the guide, Prince Charles collaborates with more than 400 charities across the UK. The entire tour takes place only on the ground floor of the residence, the common rooms of Clarence House.
As it is a private residence in use, there are several people “on guard” at the house during the tour to ensure that no visitors “get lost” during the visit. It was interesting to recognize that some of the official photos of the royal family released to the press were taken in that environment.
At the end of the tour, the guide directs all visitors to the garden and shows the entrance to the small gift shop, where it is possible to purchase souvenirs from the royal family, plush toys, pens, ceramics in honor of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and other items. .
HOW TO GET
Getting there by subway is very easy, through the stations:
- Green Park: Victoria Line (light blue), Piccadilly Line (marine); Jubilee Line (Grey)
- St. James's Park: circle line (Yellow), District Line (green)
TIP: 1 YEAR PASS
At the end of the tours, you can ask an employee to stamp your ticket so that you can use it, free of charge, for a period of 1 year. Just write your name and sign on the back of the ticket for the employee to validate. There are some rules for using the 1-Year Pass and the content is worth reading from this link to find out how to use it.
ECONOMY IN LONDON: ACTIVITY CARDS
For those who want to do many things and visit many paid places in London, the suggestion is to purchase one of the cards that give you direct access to attractions and ride the tourist bus, saving a lot! O THE LONDON PASS is the most famous of them. The card can be purchased in versions of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 10 days. It entitles you to admission to over 60 of London's top attractions and 1 day tour on the hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus. In addition, the card offers more than 20 exclusive special offers at some of the city's shops and restaurants. See the full list of included attractions in this link. Price: from £69.
- Wear comfortable shoes for walking around the house.
- Take little things with you because you have to pass a metal detector/x-ray.
- Do not take sharp objects or objects that may raise questions about safety.
- There are no restrooms during the tour. Use restrooms at restaurants or the nearest subway stations
- It is not allowed to consume food or drinks during the tour.
- Address: Visitor entry is via The Mall, the avenue leading to Buckingham Palace, between Stables Yard and Marlborough Road.
- Schedules: only during the month of august Monday to Friday from 10 am to 4:30 pm; Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 5:30 pm
- guided tours depart every 15 minutes and last 45 minutes
- last tour leaves 1 hour before the stated time
- tours hold up to 14 people / for tours from 15 people, see the official site
- tours are offered in english
- Entrance: £11.30
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Read more about the UK:
- London: Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace
- London: The Millennium Bridge suspension bridge
- London: UK Parliament Tour
- London: The story of Big Ben
- London: Historic Westminster Abbey
- London: The amazing and free British Museum
- England: Tower of London and British Crown Jewels
- England: London Eye, London's Ferris wheel