Top Ten Essential Architecture top ten London Palaces  
     
  London is famous for its magnificent palaces whose history is intimately intertwined with the history of Great Britain. This section gives brief details about London's famous palaces.  
  For a more complete list, see the main list  
1 Tower of London  
044-Tower_of_London2C_Traitors_Gate.jpg (93369 bytes)

architect

unknown 

location

east London

date

1070 to 1090

style

Gothic Elizabethan

construction

masonry 

type

castle, fortress, prison
The Tower of London is a landmark in central London—in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets—just outside the City of London.

The White Tower, the square building with turrets on each corner that gave it its name, is actually in the middle of a complex of several buildings along the River Thames in London, which have served as fortresses, armories, treasuries, zoos/menageries, mints, palaces, places of execution, public records offices, observatories, shelters, and prisons (particularly for upper class prisoners). This last use has led to the phrase "sent to the Tower" meaning "imprisoned". One widely known example was that Elizabeth I was imprisoned for a time in the Tower during her sister Mary's reign.
 
     
2 Buckingham Palace  
073A.jpg (87875 bytes)

architect

principal façade of 1850 by Edward Blore, the East Front, was redesigned in 1913 by Sir Aston Webb.

location

on the Mall, central London

date

1703-1913

style

NeoClassical

construction

Portland Stone

type

Palace

Buckingham Palace and the Victoria Memorial. This principal façade of 1850 by Edward Blore, the East Front, was redesigned in 1913 by Sir Aston Webb.
Buckingham Palace is the official London residence of the British monarch. The Palace is a setting for state occasions and royal entertaining, a base for all officially visiting Heads of State, and a major tourist attraction. It has been a rallying point for British people at times of national rejoicing, crisis or grief. "Buckingham Palace" or simply "The Palace" is a common metonym used when referring to the source of Press statements issued by the offices of the Royal Household.
 
     
3 Windsor Castle  

architect

Jeffry Wyatville

location

Windsor

date

1820

style

Romanesque (Norman)

construction

Stone

type

Palace

A thousand year old fortress transformed to a royal palace. This well known silhouette of a seemingly medieval castle was not created, however, until the 1820s by Jeffry Wyatville
Windsor Castle, at Windsor in the English county of Berkshire, is the largest inhabited castle in the world and, dating back to the time of William the Conqueror, it is the oldest in continuous occupation.
 
     
4 Kensington Palace  

architect

Sir Christopher Wren

location

Kensington Nearest Tube: Queensway, Bayswater, High Street Kensington, or (slightly further) Gloucester Road.

date

1689-1718

style

NeoClassical

construction

brick, stone

type

Palace

Kensington Palace is a royal residence set in Kensington Gardens in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London, England. It has been a residence of the British Royal Family since the 17th century. Today it is the official residence of the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester; the Duke and Duchess of Kent; and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.

At the moment, Kensington Palace hosts the exhibition "Diana, Princess of Wales by Mario Testino", open to the public since late November 2005.
 
     
5 Hampton Court  

architect

Thomas Wolsey and Sir Christopher Wren

location

in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, south west London

date

1616-1694

style

an interesting mix between mediaeval Tudor and neoclassical Elizabethan

construction

brick, stone

type

Palace

Hampton Court Palace is a former royal palace in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, south west London, United Kingdom. The palace is located 11.7 miles (18.9 km) south west of Charing Cross and upstream of Central London on the River Thames. It is currently open to the public as a major tourist attraction. The palace's Home Park is the site of the annual Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.
 
     
6 Chiswick House  
004a.jpg (67396 bytes)

architect

Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington, better known as Lord Burlington

location

Chiswick, west London

date

1729

style

Palladian, Late English Renaissance

construction

masonry

type

Palace

Chiswick House is a Palladian villa in Burlington Lane, Chiswick, London W4, England.

The house belonged to Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington, better known as Lord Burlington, whose taste and skill as an architect have been frequently recorded. The "architect earl" designed it in 1729, with garden design input from William Kent. Burlington's daughter Charlotte married William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire, and the house and gardens passed to that family after her early death.
 
     
7 Lambeth Palace  
085-LambethPalacebyLambethBridge.jpg (83627 bytes)

architect

unknown

location

by Lambeth Bridge

date

1440

style

Tudor

construction

stone

type

Palace

Lambeth Palace is the official London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, located in Lambeth, on the south bank of the River Thames a short distance upstream of the Palace of Westminster. It was acquired by the archbishop around 1200. It is perhaps best known today as the site of the decennial Lambeth Conferences of top Anglican bishops.
 
     
8 Banqueting House  

architect

Inigo Jones

location

Whitehall, directly across from the Horse Guards, telephone: 930-4179.

date

1619 to 1622

style

Palladian, Late English Renaissance

construction

masonry

type

House

In Tudor and Early Stuart English architecture a banqueting house is a separate building reached through pleasure gardens from the main residence, whose use is purely for entertaining. It may be raised, for additional air or a vista, and it may be richly decorated, but it contains no bedrooms or kitchens. Its contemporary Italian equivalent was a casina.

The Banqueting House at Whitehall, the grandest and most familiar survival of the genre, is a famous London building that was formerly part of the Palace of Whitehall. It was designed by Inigo Jones in 1619 and completed in 1622 with assistance from John Webb. It is located close to the Houses of Parliament. In 1649 King Charles I of England was executed on a scaffold in front of the building.
 
     
9 Apsley House  
071-Apsley_House_1.jpg (96739 bytes)

architect

Benjamin Dean Wyatt

location

stands alone at Hyde Park Corner, on the south-east corner of Hyde Park, facing south towards the busy traffic circulation system

date

1818

style

Regency 

construction

golden Bath stone

type

English aristocratic town House

Apsley House, also known as Number One, London, was the London residence of the Dukes of Wellington and stands alone at Hyde Park Corner, on the south-east corner of Hyde Park, facing south towards the busy traffic circulation system.
 
     
10 Clarence House  
075-Clarence_house.jpg (107762 bytes)

architect

John Nash

location

The Mall

date

1825-27

style

Regency 

construction

stone

type

House

Clarence House is a royal home in London, situated in The Mall. It is adjacent to St. James's Palace and shares the palace's garden. For nearly 50 years from 1953 to 2002 it was home to HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, but is now the official residence of The Prince of Wales, his second wife, HRH the Duchess of Cornwall and his sons, the princes William and Harry of Wales. It is open to visitors for approximately two months each summer, but tickets must be booked in advance.
 
     
11  Mansion House  

architect

George Dance the Elder

location

London EC4N 8BH

date

1739-1752

style

Palladian Georgian

construction

The Mansion House has three main stories over a rusticated basement. The entrance facade features a six column portico. The building originally had two prominent and unusual attic structures, but these were removed in 1794 and 1843.

type

House

Mansion House is the official residence of the Lord Mayor of the City of London. It is used for some of the City of London's official functions, including the Chancellor of the Exchequer's annual "Mansion House Speech" about the state of the British economy. The Guildhall is another venue used for important City functions.

The Mansion House was built between 1739 and 1752, in the then fashionable Palladian style by the City of London surveyor and architect George Dance the Elder. The construction was prompted by a wish to put an end to the inconvenient practice of lodging the Lord Mayor in one of the City Halls. Dance won a design competition over solicited designs from James Gibbs and Giacomo Leoni, and uninvited submissions by Batty Langley and Isaac Ware.
 
     
12 St. James  
031-St_james_palace.jpg (90526 bytes)

architect

Sir Christopher Wren

location

Picadilly, London

date

1674 to 1687

style

late English Renaissance  

construction

masonry 

type

Church

St. James's Palace is one of London's oldest and most historic palaces. It is situated on The Mall in London, England, just north of St. James's Park.

The palace was commissioned by Henry VIII, on the site of a former leper hospital dedicated to Saint James the Less (from whom the Palace and its nearby Park take their names); the hospital was disbanded in 1532 (Pevsner). The new palace, secondary in interest to Henry's Whitehall Palace, was constructed in the red-brick Tudor style around four courtyards: its gatehouse survives on the north side, flanked by polygonal turrets. It became the principal residence of the monarch in London from 1698, when Whitehall Palace was destroyed by fire, and became the administrative centre of the monarchy (a role it still retains). Mary I died there, with her heart and bowels being buried in the palace's Chapel Royal. It was used as a barracks during the English Commonwealth period, before being renovated by Charles II, who also laid out St. James's Park.
 
     
13 Winchester Palace  
095-Winchester_palace_large.jpg (63975 bytes)

architect

unknown

location

south of the River Thames in Southwark, near the medieval priory which today has become Southwark Cathedral

date

13th century

style

Gothic

construction

stone

type

Palace

Winchester Palace was a 13th century palace, London residence of the Bishops of Winchester. It is located south of the River Thames in Southwark, near the medieval priory which today has become Southwark Cathedral. Southwark was the largest town in the old diocese of Winchester and the bishop was a major landowner in the area. He was also a power in the land (Winchester being the old Saxon capital), and regularly needed to be in London on royal or administrative state business. For that purpose, Henry of Blois built the palace as his comfortable and high-status London residence.
 
     
14 Eltham Palace  
078-Eltham_palace_exterior.jpg (96615 bytes)

architect

various

location

Nearest train station is Eltham railway station

date

1933 incorporating Edward IV's great hall (1470s)

style

Art Deco 

construction

stone

type

House

The original Palace was given to Edward II in 1305 and used as a royal residence from the 14th century to the 16th century. The current house was built in the 1930s on the site of the original. It incorporates Edward IV's great hall (1470s). According to one account the incident which inspired the foundation of the Order of the Garter took place here.
 
     
Medieval London is well known for having been full of rich monasteries, nunneries, colleges, and parish churches. So much so that it might be compared to the 'Ile Sonnante 'of Rabelais. If it could be called a 'City of Churches', it was, in fact, much more a 'City of Palaces'. For there were, in London, more palaces than in Verona and Florence and Venice and Genoa all put together. There was not, it is true, a line of marble 'palazzi 'along the banks of a Grande Canale; there was no Piazza della Signoria, no Piazza della Erbe to show these buildings. They were scattered about all over the City. They were built without regard to general effect and with no idea of decoration or picturesqueness. They lay hidden in narrow winding labyrinthine streets. The warehouses stood beside and between them. The common people dwelt in narrow courts around them. They faced each other on opposite sides of the lanes.