Westminster Abbey Summer Combo: Westminster Abbey is one of the world’s great churches, and for 1,000 years has been the site of royal coronations. This incredible 700 year old building is a must-see for any visitor to London and a significant structure in British history. It has welcomed Kings, Queens and statesmen, royal weddings (most recently Prince William and Kate Middleton) and state funerals. You may not have been invited to the Royal Wedding, but you can feel like royalty as you enjoy a tour led by an expert local guide, who will point out the most important and fascinating aspects of this great monument.
Every British monarch since William the Conqueror in 1066 has been crowned in Westminster abbey, the most recent being Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. You’ll see the Coronation Chair, commissioned in 1296 by Edward the Confessor, as well as his shrine. It is also the burial place of 17 British monarchs, the Unknown Soldier (buried in French soil and covered by a slab of Belgian marble) and many of Britain’s greatest poets who lie in Poet’s Corner.
After your visit to the Abbey, your guide will lead you to the Changing of the Guards. This world-famous ceremony takes place either at Buckingham Palace or at Horse Guards Parade, depending on the day. Your guide will make sure you are in a prime position to enjoy the best views at this crowded event. Enjoy commentary regarding the history and pageantry behind the ceremony – see the Queen’s Foot Guards, with their red tunics and unmistakable bearskin hats, march to Buckingham Palace together with the military band or the Household Cavalry, complete with plumed silver helmets, ride in on their magnificent horses. (Please note that in heavy rain the guard’s parade will not take place).
End your tour at Buckingham Palace, the residence of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh. See the famous balcony where the royal family appears during major events, and hear stories of intruders and princes scaling the walls to get both inside and out! This will whet your appetite for your afternoon tour, when you'll partake in a series of quintessential London traditions: a traditional English afternoon tea and a glimpse into the lives of the Royal Family. Meet your local guide at the Palace, who will welcome you and provide background information about the palace and the royal family, after which you’ll have the rare chance to visit the inside of the royal residence: Buckingham Palace. The palace opens its doors to visitors for a limited time each year and it seems that just about everyone would like to get inside! Your experience rounds out with a traditional English afternoon tea in a luxurious setting near to the Palace.
The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh open the doors of Buckingham Palace to visitors just once a year for two months. This is a unique opportunity to catch a rare glimpse into the private residence of the Royals. Tickets are hard to come by but our entrance is pre-booked, which means access is guaranteed and there will be no lines to wait in. This is the real home of Queen Elizabeth II, boasting lavish apartments, sparkling chandeliers, and sumptuous furnishings. These rooms house some of the greatest treasures of the Royal Collection, such as exquisite pieces of Sèvres porcelain and some of the finest English and French furniture in the world. With the official Palace audio guide you’ll learn all about the palace residents, history, and traditions as well as the stories of the furnishings and ornaments. Many of these items were gifts from Heads of State spanning both the centuries and the globe.
After such an eventful start to our tour, it’s time to slow down the pace with a relaxing stroll to a local luxury hotel for traditional afternoon tea. Re-join your guide who will escort you to a nearby luxury hotel, and explain to you the origins and heritage of this very English tradition. Relax and reflect on your afternoon as you work your way through a selection of finger sandwiches, before enjoying the classic scone with thick clotted cream and homemade preserves. The highlight of the meal is the selection of freshly made cakes and pastries, elegantly displayed and, of course, delicious!
Immerse yourself in London’s traditions on our Royal Summer Full Day Tour!
Meeting/pick-up point: First part: Westminster Abbey tour - at Westminster Abbey. Look for the tall marble and stone column opposite the west entrance of Westminster Abbey. At the top is a figure of St George slaying a dragon. Your guide will be waiting at this column. Buckingham Palace tour - at the entrance to Buckingham Palace.
Second part: Buckingham Palace tour - directly in front of the Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace, Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1A 1AA. The Gallery is on the side of the Palace.
Duration: 8 hours.
Meeting time: Westminster Abbey tour: at 9am. Buckingham Palace tour: at 1:45pm.
Start/opening time: Westminster Abbey tour: at 9:15am. Buckingham Palace tour: at 2pm.
Others: Please note that Westminster Abbey is subject to last minute, unforeseen closures .
Changing of the Guard will not operate in heavy rain and will be replaced with an extended walking tour.