Hotels in London city centre are situated near some of England’s most visited royal buildings. Buckingham Palace has been the official residence of British sovereigns since 1837 and is the administrative headquarters of Queen Elizabeth II. Visitors can tour State rooms hung with paintings by Rubens, Canaletto and Rembrandt and decorated with fine Sevres porcelain and English and French furniture. The Royal Mews house State vehicles including horse drawn carriages and automobiles used on special occasions. This includes the Gold State Coach last used in 2002 during the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Visiotrs can also tour the Palace’s gardens, home to 30 different bird species and 350 wild flowers as well as a lake.
William the Conqueror began building the Tower of London in 1080. Yeoman warders have guarded the fortress since the early 16th century. They are currently required to have served honorably in the armed forces for at least 22 years and are available to take guided tours. Tower Green is the site where many great historic personalities were executed including Anne Boleyn. The Crown Jewels featuring 23,578 gems are under armed guard along with the Coronation Regalia. There is also an exhibition of five centuries of royal armour.