Dating from 1086, this palace in Greenwich ( www.english-heritage.org.uk ; above) was once home to the half-brother of William the Conqueror and King Edward II. In the 1930s, a millionaire couple, Stephen and Virginia Courtauld, took over the estate, which includes a moat and 19 acres of land. Don’t miss the new map room.
HAMPTON COURT PALACE
Henry VIII’s former home (p. 30) sits on the banks of the River Thames in Richmond. Highlights include a chapel, a gallery with paintings by Rembrandt, van Dyck and Canaletto, and kitchens, which once catered for 600 people. Once you’ve explored the house, get lost in the iconic hedge maze.
TOWER OF LONDON
Where else can you see an 800-year-old spoon? This magnificent medieval palace (p. 27) is known for housing the Queen’s crown, but a silver-gilt coronation spoon is part of the Crown Jewels’ collection, too. You can also get up close to armour in the White Tower and visit its basement – a former torture and interrogation room.