Where to start
Royal locations to visit in London
Household Cavalry Museum
This museum within the historic Horse Guards building affords a behind-the-scenes look at the work that goes into the ceremonial duties and operational role of the Household Cavalry regiments which make up the Queen's official guards. Their story is told through a collection of ceremonial uniforms, royal standards, gallantry awards, musical instruments, horse furniture and silverware amassed over 350 years of serving the Royal family. Family activities take place during school holidays. Visitors to the Household Cavalry Museum can see troopers working with horses in the 18th-century stables of the horses which parade just outside every day; the stables are separated from the main museum by no more than a screen of glass. The museum's newest exhibit, created in response to visitor demans, is a video explaining where the horses come from, how they are chosen, why so many of them are black and how they are cared for and trained. The museum is closed between June 18 and September 6 2012 to accommodate the London 2012 Olympic Games Beach Volleyball competition.
Wander through London's Royal Parks
St James's Park
St James's Park was founded as a deer park for the royal occupants of St James's Palace, and remodelled by John Nash on the orders of George IV. The central lake is home to numerous species of wildfowl, including pelicans that have been kept here since the 17th century, when the Russian ambassador donated several of the bag-jawed birds to Charles II. The pelicans are fed at 3pm daily, though they have been known to supplement their diet at other times of the day with the occasional pigeon. The bridge over the lake offers very snappable views of Buckingham Palace. Along the north side of the park, the Mall connects Buckingham Palace with Trafalgar Square. It looks like a classic processional route, but the Mall was actually laid out as a pitch for Charles II to play 'paille-maille' (an early version of croquet imported from France) after the pitch at Pall Mall became too crowded. On the south side of the St James's Park, Wellington Barracks contains the Guards Museum; to the east, Horse Guards contains the Household Cavalry Museum.