Official and Private British Royal Residences

British royal residences consist of palaces, castles, and houses occupied by the Crown and the other members of the royal family. Currently, Buckingham Palace is the main building where the Crown resides and conducts his official duties. There are official royal residences in other parts of the kingdom as well, except for Wales where the only royal residence is the privately owned Llwynywermod Estate.

Here are the official and private residences of the British royal family.

Official Residences

Buckingham Palace in London

Since 1837, Buckingham Palace has served as the official residence of the royal family as well as the administrative headquarters of the Crown. The palace contains 775 rooms, including 19 staterooms, 52 royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices, and 78 bathrooms.

Buckingham Palace- British Royal Residences
SAC Matthew ‘Gerry’ Gerrard RAF/© MoD Crown Copyright 2016

Kensington Palace in London

Between 1689 and 1760, Kensington Palace was the main London residence of the Monarch. Today it holds the offices as well as the London residences of the Prince and Princess of Wales, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke and Duchess of Kent, and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent. The palace is also where Queen Victoria was born and lived until her accession to the throne in 1837.

Kensington Palace- British Royal Residences
Kensington Palace
Kensington Palace

Windsor Castle in Berkshire

Having served as a royal residence since the 11th century, Windsor Castle holds the record of being the largest occupied castle in the world. Originally built by William the Conqueror, it is also the longest-occupied palace in Europe. The castle’s architecture features Gothic, Georgian, Victorian, and Picturesque designs.


St James’s Palace in London

Built between 1531 and 1536 by Henry VIII, St James’s Palace served as the Monarch’s residence for more than 300 years until the reign of Queen Victoria. Currently, the palace contains the offices of Royal Collection Trust, the Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps, the Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood, the Chapel Royal, the Gentlemen at Arms, and the Yeomen of the Guard and the King’s Watermen. St James’s Palace is also the setting for a significant ceremony. That is, the Accession Council gathers here after the death of a king or a queen, and the Garter King of Arms from the Proclamation Gallery, overlooking the historic Friary Court, proclaims the new Monarch. 

St James's Palace
St James's Palace

Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, Scotland

The Palace of Holyroodhouse is the official royal residence in Scotland. It was originally founded as an Augustinian monastery in 1128. A famous figure in British history, Mary, Queen of Scots spent her life and married her two husbands in this palace. Later in history, the troops of Oliver Cromwell were also quartered in this palace. In 1651, the coronation ceremony of Charles II took place here as well.

Palace of Holyroodhouse
Palace of Holyroodhouse

Clarence House in London

Built between 1825 and 1827, Clarence House was the London residence of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother from 1953 until 2002, and then of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip after their marriage in 1947. Today, the house is occupied by King Charles III and Queen Camilla.

Clarence House

Hillsborough Castle in County Down, Northern Ireland

Hillsborough Castle is the official residence of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland as well as the royal family when they visit Northern Ireland. Although called a castle, it is actually an 18th-century Georgian country house. Besides from being a royal residence, the castle is also notable for its fascinating gardensç

Hillsborough Castle
Hillsborough Castle- British Royal Residences

Private Residences

Thatched House Lodge in Richmond, London

Thatched House Lodge in Richmond, London- British Royal Residences

Adelaide Cottage in Windsor Estate, Berkshire

Adelaide Cottage in Windsor Estate, Berkshire
Painted by Caleb Robert Stanley (1795-1868). Image Credit: Royal Collection Trust