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Get closer to the royals with London attractions

Published: Wednesday 31st of August 2011

London attractions surrounding the royal family are no doubt one of the first things many people want to visit when they reach the English capital.

With the recent excitement of the Royal Wedding stirring up interest in the English monarchy once again, many tourists will want to pay a visit to attractions that will give them an insight into the intriguing family.

The Household Cavalry Museum is one such attraction. The living museum is located in the heart of Horse Guards, Whitehall, London, and offers a behind-the-scenes look at how the Household Cavalry Regiment operates.

Spanning a number of centuries, the collection at the museum contains "rare and unique treasures" including ceremonial uniforms, royal standards and gallantry awards.

Musical instruments, horse furniture and silverware by Faberge are other highlights of the display, with each artefact telling its own intriguing story.

Visitors can see two silver kettledrums presented to the regiment in 1831 by William IV, the pistol ball that wounded Sir Robert Hill during the Battle of Waterloo and the cork leg belonging to the first Marquess of Anglesy, who lost his own at Waterloo.

However, not all the artefacts contained within the collection are from times long past, with modern additions including Jackie Charlton's football cap (he did his national service with the regiment) and the bridle of Sefton - the horse injured in the 1982 Hyde Park bombings.

According to the museum: "Much of the collection has resulted from the close association that has existed between the Household Cavalry and Royalty. We have, after all, protected successive kings and queens from rebels, rioters and assassins for nearly 350 years."

Visitors can glimpse the working stable block, with all the horses being brought in, groomed, fed and watered, having their hooves oiled, their shoes checked and their saddles adjusted ready to go on guard.

For a different way to see the museum, visitors can opt for the Early Evening Private Visit.

Guests will encounter dismounted sentries on their way into the Horse Guards, before enjoying an anecdotal introduction, learning about the history of the Household Cavalry.

Another royal activity tourists can enjoy in the capital is a visit to the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace.

A trip to the Mews allows guests a glimpse into the world of royal transport, with state vehicles including horse-drawn carriages and motor cars on display.

These vehicles can be recognised from coronations, state visits, royal weddings, the state opening of parliament and other official engagements.

One highlight is the Gold State Coach which was last seen in public during the Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002 to carry Her Majesty and Prince Philip to the Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral.

People with a genuine interest in the royals will not want to pass up on a visit to the Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace.

Currently showing at the gallery space is Dutch Landscapes, bringing together 42 works from the 'golden age' of Dutch painting, with highlights including landscapes by Jacob van Ruisdael, Aelbert Cuyp and Meyndert Hobbema.

Also on display are a selection of treasures from the Royal Collection. This exhibition shows some of the best works of art acquired by the kings and queens of the past 500 years.
 

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