Royal attractions across our network

Monday, 9 May 2022

Discover the history of royal attractions across our network ahead of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.

Even though Queen Elizabeth’s current reign has broken the record for the longest standing monarch in history, the history of the Royal Family spans a whole 37 generations and 1210 years. The royal history in the UK is vast, and can be seen far and wide across the whole of Great Britain, and even further afield.

As we gear up for the Queen’s 70th Jubilee celebrations, check out some of these royal destinations across our network, all of which are within walking distance from one of our stations or a short tube ride from London St Pancras.

King Richard III Visitor Centre

Image © King Richard III Visitor Centre

Richard III Centre, Leicester

It’s not often that one would expect to find a king buried underneath a car park in the middle of Leicester, but in 2012 - it happened. Now, the Richard III Centre in Leicester is here to tell the exact story of how the last King of the House of York reigned and eventually came to his death.

Take a short stroll from Leicester station and immerse yourself in the incredible story of the last king to die in battle and the first to be DNA tested. You can travel back through time and uncover the plot lines, birth rights and family connections that combined to create an intricate story of medieval murder, mystery and mayhem. Fast-forward to over 500 years later to a car park in Leicester city centre, where the long-lost remains of King Richard III were found.

Using great storytelling, beautiful design and 21st century technology, the centre tells the fascinating and moving story of the king’s life and death, and reveals one of the greatest archaeological detective stories ever told.

Nearest Station: Leicester (15 mins walk)

Book your ticket to Leicester

Tower of London

Tower of London

Perhaps one of the most prominent and apparent choices, the Tower of London has a royal history which goes back for centuries. Officially Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, this historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in Central London is fascinating beyond words.

Founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest, the castle was used as a prison from 1100, a grand palace and a royal residence. Learn about the history of the Tower, get up close to the Crown Jewels (all 23,578 of them), and meet the famous Tower of London ravens, who are known as guardians of the Tower.

Join an iconic Beefeater on a tour and hear their bloody tales, stand where famous heads have rolled and storm the battlements as you get to grips with swords and armour.

To celebrate the Platinum Jubilee, there are a number of events taking place at the Tower, including the Superbloom from June to September where the Tower’s moat will be filled with a spectacular and colourful field of flowers which will be planted in patterns to create a dramatic and engaging experience.

Nearest underground station: Tower Hill (5 mins walk)
Book your tickets to the Tower of London.

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Nottingham Castle

Image © Nottingham Castle

Nottingham Castle

The EMR network isn’t the only thing which connects Leicester to Nottingham…their royal histories are very much intertwined, too. Nottingham Castle was the place from which King Richard III departed for the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 - the very same ill-fated mission which cost him the crown and his life.

Prior to King Richard III’s fate, however - the castle was utilised by the Royal Family from as early as 1330, and saw many kings and queens pass through its gates. This was until the Industrial Revolution took hold and Nottingham was transformed into a darkening dystopia of poverty-ridden slums and factories, which saw the castle come to its smokey end in 1831 when it was torched in protest.

Fast-forward half a century and the castle was rebuilt in its current form and initially reopened as the first municipal art gallery outside of London. Today, just half a mile from the station, you can explore the caves which snake beneath the castle, experience the story of the famous Robin Hood or explore the galleries which tell the incredible stories of the city.

Nearest station: Nottingham (13 mins walk)

Book your ticket to Nottingham

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

Did you know that you can actually visit the Queen’s royal residence and the administrative headquarters of the monarch? The Palace has served as the official London residence of the UK’s sovereigns since 1837 and is used for many official events and receptions held by The Queen. It has a grand total of 775 rooms and is 108 metres long across the front, with a 16-hectare garden.

As the history goes, George III bought Buckingham House in 1761 for his wife Queen Charlotte to use as a comfortable family home close to St James's Palace, where many court functions were held. Queen Victoria was the first sovereign to take up residence in July 1837 and in June 1838 she was the first British sovereign to leave from Buckingham Palace for a Coronation

Now, you can explore the magnificent State Rooms on selected dates, or marvel at the grandeur of the palace as you watch the iconic Changing the Guard ceremony. The ceremony takes place every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, and daily in the summer. It’s quite the spectacle and encompasses British pageantry at its finest.

Nearest underground station: St James’ Park (9 mins walk)
Book tickets to Buckingham Palace State Rooms.

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Lincoln Castle

Image © Lincoln Castle

Lincoln Castle

Built almost 1000 years ago by William the Conqueror, Lincoln Castle has witnessed some of the most dramatic events in English history. In 1066, after his victory at the Battle of Hastings, William the Conqueror ordered the construction of a castle at Lincoln as part of his strategy to control the rebellious north of the kingdom.

Lincoln is the only place in the world where you can find original copies of both the 1215 Magna Carta and the 1217 Charter of the Forest, and Lincoln Castle is where you’ll find them. One of the most famous documents in the world, the Magna Carta is regarded as an international icon of liberty and freedom. It is on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register, which recognises important documentary heritage worldwide.

Just minutes from the station, venture up Steep Hill and discover the castle's 1000 year history as you scale the heights of the Medieval Wall Walk, follow in the footsteps of prisoners in the Victorian Prison, and immerse yourself in the story of the Magna Carta. You can even take a tour of parts of the castle, including the bailey within its walls.

Nearest station: Lincoln (14 mins walk)

Book your ticket to Lincoln

Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace

A royal residence set in Kensington Gardens, Kensington Palace has been a part of the lives of the Royal Family since the 17th Century and is currently the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Shortly after William III and Mary II assumed the throne as joint monarchs in 1689, they began searching for a residence better suited for the comfort of the asthmatic William, as Whitehall Palace was too close to the River Thames. It has since provided a home for a long line of royals, and was even the birthplace of Queen Victoria.

Here, you can visit the State Rooms, and walk in the footsteps of royalty in Victoria’s re-imagined childhood rooms, the magnificent King’s State Apartments and the Queen’s State Apartments.

Until October, ‘Life Through a Royal Lens’ is an exhibition at Kensington Palace which explores the Royal Family through photography and brings together some of the most iconic images of the Royal Family ever taken.

Nearest underground station: Kensington Palace (5 mins walk)

Book tickets to Kensington Palace (Peak).

Book tickets to Kensington Palace (Off-Peak).

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Win a royal treat

To celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, we're giving you the chance to win a royal treat of your own. We've teamed up with Searcys to offer you the opportunity to win a Jubilee-themed afternoon tea for two at their St Pancras Brasserie, as well as two First Class tickets on one of our services to get you there. Just head to our Instagram page to enter.

Enter our competition on Instagram.

The royal history of the United Kingdom can be discovered far and wide, and in light of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, there’s never been a better time to discover it. Don’t forget to share your adventures with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Don’t forget to tag us or use the hashtag #YesEMR to be featured.