A journalist for more than 30 years, Robert Hardman is one of the UK's leading authors and commentators on the Royal Family. His books include Monarchy, Queen Of The World and Our Queen and he has written and produced documentaries including Prince Philip - The Royal Family Remembers, Anne - The Princess Royal At 70, George III - The Genius of the Mad King, Charles at 60 and The Queen's Castle on both the BBC and ITV. He now writes the How I See It column in the Daily Mail. A Cambridge Classics graduate, he is married with three children and lives in London.
Explore Britain's finest palaces and hear from a royal expert
Glimpse into the lavish homes and dramatic lives of the Royal Family on this exclusive two-night tour of their spectacular palaces.
You'll be immersed in London's royal history with visits to St George's Chapel, where the late Queen Elizabeth II was laid to rest***, Hampton Court Palace, the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey, and at Windsor Castle you'll peek behind-the-scenes during a private tour of the State Apartments, before enjoying a glass of Champagne in elegant surroundings. It's a fitting way to celebrate the incredible 70 year reign of the late Queen Elizabeth II.
From Henry VIII to Queen Elizabeth II, the British monarchy is full of tales of romance, betrayal and adventure - and these iconic palaces on the Thames have been at the centre of the action for centuries.
And who better to give you a dramatic insight into this tale than Royal biographer Robert Hardman? As commentator and film-maker, he has had privileged access to the Royal Family and the Royal Household for more than 25 years and can tell you the inside story of their lives, loves and losses.
Now a much-loved columnist for the Daily Mail, Robert will join you for an exclusive talk and Q&A. You will also receive a copy** of Robert's book Queen of Our Times - The Life of Elizabeth II (one per booking) which he will happily sign for you.
Exclusive talk by Robert Hardman
As one of the UK's most respected Royal reporters, Robert Hardman will give you an extraordinary insight into the workings of the modern British Royal family in a private talk and Q&A session. He has covered more than 60 international tours, been granted special access to and interviewed members of the Royal Family including King Charles III, and written the acclaimed recent biography, Queen of Our Times - The Life of Elizabeth II.
St George's Chapel***
On the first day of your trip you will have the opportunity to visit St George's Chapel in Windsor, where the late Queen Elizabeth II was laid to rest before being transferred to the King George VI Memorial Chapel where she is buried next to her husband and parents.
Royal castles and palaces
The walls may not be able to talk, but you will hear more astonishing true tales of the monarchy in the most important Royal houses across the city: Westminster Abbey, which has witnessed the coronation of every monarch since William the Conqueror; the Tower of London, the mighty fortress that is now the permanent home of the Crown Jewels; and Buckingham Palace (exterior view only), the official Royal residence in London since Queen Victoria's accession in 1837.
Hampton Court Tour
You'll enjoy a fascinating guided tour of Hampton Court, forever associated with Henry VIII and the Tudor court. Admire the magnificent Great Hall, the huge Tudor kitchens and walk down the infamous Haunted Gallery to the State Apartments.
Behind the scenes at Windsor Castle
Another highlight will be Windsor Castle, a Royal stronghold since just after the Norman Conquest, where you will journey through 1,000 years of Royal history on a private tour of the State Apartments - you'll also enjoy a glass of Champagne at the tour's close.
Historic hotel stay
You'll be based at The Talbot, a charming former coaching inn in the historic Surrey village of Ripley. It has many period features from its 500-year history and was also reputedly used as a hitching post by Lord Nelson. It is said his love affair with Lady Hamilton blossomed here.
"We loved all of it, but Windsor Castle blew me away."
- October 2022 Guest
Reasons to book
Inside Windsor Castle
The Tower of London
Hampton Court Palace
Exclusive talk by Robert Hardman
Your expert guide
- Two nights' bed and breakfast at the four-star Talbot Ripley Hotel in Surrey.
- Set menu dinner at the hotel restaurant on your second night.
- Exclusive talk and Q&A with Robert Hardman.
- Visit St George's Chapel***.
- Private, after-hours tour of Windsor Castle and a glass of Champagne.
- London palaces tour including Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace exterior and the Tower of London and all admission fees.
- Coach transfers.
- Services of a tour manager throughout.
This short three-day tour gives you a great overview of the most important Royal palaces across London. There is a lot to see and do in three days, so be prepared for a busy schedule! Day one of this trip is particularly fast paced and we would recommend to those coming from further afield to arrive the night before. Our reservations team can assist you with booking this pre-night.
Day1Windsor and St George's ChapelWindsor, United Kingdom
Arrive at the Talbot Hotel, Ripley at lunchtime and drop your bags off, ready to leave the hotel at 1:30 pm for your transfer to Windsor. You will have the opportunity to visit St George's Chapel (subject to the chapel being open), where the late Queen was laid to rest before being transferred to the King George VI Memorial Chapel. Spend the afternoon exploring Windsor and enjoy an early dinner (not included). In the evening, you'll enjoy a private tour of the State apartments and a Champagne reception before returning to the hotel.
Day2Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, National Gallery and exclusive talk with Robert HardmanCity of Westminster, United Kingdom
Today you'll enjoy a day in London starting with a tour of Westminster Abbey (including entrance fee), a World Heritage Site with over 1,000 years of history. Traditionally the place for Royal coronations, weddings and burials, every British monarch since King Harold and William the Conqueror in 1066 has been crowned here and it has been the location for 17 Royal weddings, including Prince William and Kate Middleton's in 2011. From Westminster you'll enjoy a guided walk to Buckingham Palace for an exterior view and along The Mall to Trafalgar Square before enjoying lunch at your leisure (not included). Afternoon visit to the wonderful National Gallery before returning to your hotel in time to freshen up for this evening's dinner and talk. This evening enjoy a welcome drink before Robert Hardman joins you for an exclusive talk and Q&A and dinner at the hotel.
Day3The Tower of London and Hampton Court PalaceHampton Court Palace, United Kingdom
This morning you'll visit the Tower of London, established by William Conqueror in 1066 and still one of the UK's most iconic buildings. In the afternoon you'll visit Hampton Court Palace. Dating back to 1515, it was commissioned by Cardinal Wolsey, who later gifted it to Henry VIII and is one of only two of his palaces still in existence. After time for lunch at the palace (not included) you'll then be transferred back to the hotel to check-out and return home.
The Talbot Inn
Historic pub, hotel and restaurant on the high street in Ripley
It is said that this 500-year-old coaching inn on Ripley's historic high street is where Lord Nelson's relationship with Lady Hamilton "blossomed". Rooms are spread across four buildings, some overlooking the old coach courtyard. Originally a stop-off point between London and Portsmouth, this puropse remains today, although many punters drop by for the history lesson, ordering a pint and some 'Nelson's nuts'.
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* From price is per person, based on two people sharing a room, subject to availability. Price and itinerary correct at time of print but may be subject to change. Single supplement £90pp. Deposit £75pp. Local charges such as tourist tax may apply. **One copy per booking. ***Subject to the chapel being open. In the case of unforeseen circumstances, expert(s) may be substituted, and any expert-led events may be subject to change. Expert(s) will not join you for your full trip duration unless otherwise stated. Travel insurance is not included and should be taken out at time of booking. Images used may not reflect your actual tour experience. This holiday may be sold through other selected brands. Tour is operated by and subject to the booking conditions of Travel Editions Group Ltd, ABTA V3120 and TS Travel Limited (ATOL bonded).