As Prince William and Kate Middleton count down the days to their wedding on April 29, the rest of the nation will look forward to sharing their joy, or at the very least to enjoying a national holiday. A Royal Wedding is always a big occasion and these grand events, which evoke all the regal heritage and culture for which the country is so renowned, are something the UK does very well indeed. The impending nuptials have seen a rising interest in the bride to be, with country tours now available taking in her home town and other landmark sites associated with the couple and their blossoming relationship.
Recent press reports indicate a greater interest too in all the national treasures, houses and palaces so synonymous with the history and enduring appeal of the British royal family. With the exception of the Balmoral Estate in Scotland, which is privately owned by the Queen, all the other official royal residences are open to the public. London has of course Buckingham Palace, where the changing of the guard is the main attraction for visitors at this time of the year and the Tower of London is worth a visit at any time, for the incredible history it tells and for the crown jewels it has on display. Kensington Palace is another favourite in the capital, with its state rooms open to the public every day.
Outside London there is Windsor Castle, a royal residence for nearly 1000 years and in Norfolk, Sandringham House, popular for the house itself and also its gardens and museum. While much of Balmoral is off limits, Scotland still has its own royal attraction in Holyrood House, Edinburgh, open all year round for those looking to explore its considerable charms. As the wedding continues to dominate the news headlines, it is a good time to take a special tour into the history and heritage of the people involved.
Image: Pintando a la Monarquía by americanistadechiapas via Flickr