Where else does Queen Elizabeth II live besides Buckingham Palace?

Holyrood Palace in Scotland, one of the Queen's official residences

HRH Queen Elizabeth II has so many residences besides Buckingham Palace, even she may forget where they all are at times! The Queen in fact has seven official royal residences throughout the UK, some of which she spends months of a time living in - Windsor Castle is perhaps the next best-known. If you’re looking to catch a glimpse of the Queen on your royalty-themed break, we’ve got the full details on where she lives and when you may see her.

Whilst HRH Queen Elizabeth II is one of the few people on the planet that has the front door keys to a number of luxurious properties, we hold the keys to even more properties that are nearby. If a visit to a royal residence is in your holiday itinerary, read on and you’ll also find a selection of great places to stay close by.

Windsor Castle, Windsor, Berkshire

Windsor Castle in Berkshire, one of the Queen's official residences

Windsor Castle is the world’s largest inhabited castle. This famous residence is located on a gigantic hill next to the River Thames, 20 miles west of London, and parts of the structure date back before the days of William the Conqueror. Windsor locals can tell if she’s at home by which flag has been hoisted – if it’s the Union Jack, she’s away, and if it's the Royal Standard, she’s there.

Most of the castle’s grounds and inner walls are open to the public, and certain parts like the State Rooms and Queen Mary’s Dolls House can be visited. A full visit to the castle will take you about half a day, but why not discover the wonderful streets of Windsor or The Great Park and Eton College too? There’s always plenty to do in Windsor.

When is the Queen there?

Most weekends, during Easter, during Royal Ascot and the Order of the Garter in June, and during Christmas.

Where to stay near Windsor Castle

Buckingham Palace, London

Buckingham Palace in London, one of the Queen's official residences

Buckingham Palace is the Queen’s residence in the nation’s capital, London, and has served as the base for British sovereignty since 1837. It’s also the administrative centre and residence of many of the royal staff. The Queen receives her subjects at a series of annual garden parties at Buckingham Palace, so you may be on her hit list, who knows? Most of the palace is off-limits to the public, however the State Rooms are open all year round, so you may spot her through a window on a tour.

When is the Queen there?

Monday-Friday most weeks of the year.

Where to stay near Buckingham Palace

Sandringham House, Norfolk

Sandringham House in Norfolk, one of the Queen's official residences

Deep in the land of Norfolk lavender farming is the Queen’s winter and Christmas residence, Sandringham House, which has been the private home to four generations of sovereigns since 1862. Parts of the grounds and house are open to the public with its museum, lavish gardens and visitor centre. Sandringham House also hosts a large garden show each July ensuring that this royal residence is well worth a visit, even if it’s just to see where Her Majesty pulls her crackers every year.

When is the Queen there?

From Christmas until February.

Where to stay near Sandringham House

The Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh

The Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, one of the Queen's official residences

The Palace of Holyroodhouse dominates the end of the Royal Mile at the heart of Edinburgh. It’s been home to a succession of Scottish kings and queens, namely Mary Queen of Scots, and central to Scotland’s interesting history.

8,000 people from all walks of Scottish life are invited to Holyrood Day by the Queen, so one way of spotting her would be to see if you’re on the guest list. It’s unlikely if you don’t live in Scotland though - you probably would have more chance of seeing Her Majesty here because of the proximity.

When is the Queen there?

When the Royal Family undertake official duties in Scotland – Holyrood Week in July is the main time.

Where to stay near the Palace of Holyroodhouse

Balmoral Castle, The Cairngorms National Park, Scotland

Balmoral Castle in the Cairngorms in Scotland, one of the Queen's official residences

Balmoral Castle is close to the River Dee on the south side of The Cairngorms National Park. This is probably the most secluded and private of the five Royal residences. The Queen has described it as her "dear Highland paradise” in her journals. Be sure to book one of the safaris, on which you can see the Royal Estate from the comfort of a 4x4, not unlike one of the Queen’s. So perhaps Balmoral Castle is the place to feel most like a royal! Don’t forget to buy a headscarf for the experience.

When is the Queen there?

August and September.

Where to stay near Balmoral Castle

Hillsborough Castle, County Down, Northern Ireland

Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland, one of the Queen's official residences

Surrounded by 100 acres of gardens, Hillsborough Castle in County Down, a short distance from Belfast, is the Queen’s official residence while she is in Northern Ireland. The castle is a splendid late Georgian house, and you can take a tour of the castle’s State Rooms, including the elegant State Dining Room, State Drawing Room and Throne Room. Before this became her royal residence, Princess Elizabeth, as she was back then, would often enjoy family holidays here in her childhood, alongside her sister Princess Margaret.

When is the Queen there?

When the Royal Family undertake official duties in Northern Ireland.

If you’re looking to not only visit one of the Queen’s residences but live like royalty too, take a look at our selection of luxury cottages fit for a queen – perfect for a right royal holiday!

Posted by Ed on 28th February 2018