Five British Royal Residences You Might Not Know

Ashley Chalmers

Senior Contributor

When it comes to royal residences, the UK has no shortage of palaces and castles that are still in use today. Hundreds of thousands of tourists flock to the gates of Buckingham Palace each year hoping for a peek of the Queen, and as many or more stroll past Kensington Palace in Hyde Park––home of Will, Kate, and their tiny regal brood, among other extended members of the Windsor clan. But while these two palaces rank high on the list of most notable, there are even more royal residences than most people realize. In fact, some are so humbly named, it’s easy to see how some might not realize they’re royal at all.

Highgrove House & Gardens in Gloucestershire

As a proud conservationist, it makes sense that Prince Charles would want a country retreat to share with his wife, Camilla Parker Bowles, the Duchess of Cornwall. Located in the village of Daughton and originally purchased by the Prince of Wales in 1980, Charles has dedicated the past forty years to designing and developing the Georgian estate’s gardens, which are opened to the public for tours and events. As a private residence, the house itself is not open for tours, but Charles and Camilla are known for hosting their own charitable events and parties, often benefiting The Prince’s Foundation. Doughton is situated just outside Tetbury in the county of Gloucestershire, which is about a two and a half hour drive from London.

Gatcombe Park in Gloucestershire

Six miles away from Prince Charles’ Highgrove House, his sister, Princess Anne, has her own country escape. Purchased for the Princess Royal by Queen Elizabeth II in 1976, Gatcombe Park is nestled in between the villages of Minchinhampton and Avening. Much like her brother’s estate, the house itself is not open for tours. However, the gardens and grounds are regularly used to host events ranging from craft fairs to horse trials. Most notably, top equestrians travel to Gatcombe each august for the Festival of British Eventing. Along with Princes Anne and her second husband, Sir Timothy Laurence, the Princess Royal’s daughter, Zara Tindall, also lives on the estate with her family.

Anmer Hall in Norfolk

While Prince William and Kate Middleton are most commonly associated with their London apartment inside Kensington Palace, they seem to prefer their country home called Anmer Hall in Norfolk. The Georgian Estate was reportedly a wedding gift from Queen Elizabeth II to her grandson and his new wife, and after an extensive renovation, the couple moved into the home full-time in 2015. Now, they use it mainly on the weekends and during school holidays, where they make the most of country living with their own chicken coops and honey-producing bees on-site. 

Bagshot Park near Windsor

Nestled in the village of Bagshot just eleven miles south of Windsor, Bagshot Park is home to Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip’s youngest child, Prince Edward, along with his wife, Sophie, Countess of Wessex. While the couple don’t technically own Bagshot Park, in 1998, they signed a fifty year lease, which Prince Edward later extended to a 150 year lease––only after carrying out a multi-million pound renovation. Bagshot Park cannot be visited by the public, though it can reportedly be seen from the road at certain angles.

Ivy Cottage in Kensington, London

Don’t let the quaint and charming name fool you. Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank’s home, Ivy Cottage, is actually a part of Kensington Palace’s larger estate. This is the princess’s first home with her husband, though the couple originally moved in together back in 2018, shortly after becoming engaged. Unlike the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Ivy Cottage is not an apartment within the palace, but is actually a private estate located on the palace’s sprawling Hyde Park grounds. While many of the homes on this list are privately owned, Ivy Cottage is a part of the Crown Estate. This means that it’s currently Queen Elizabeth’s property, and will be passed through the line of succession between monarchs.

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