We shine a spotlight on some regal hidden gems in SW1
A feast fit for a Queen at The Rubens at The Palace
Not only does The Rubens practically share the same postcode as Buckingham Palace but the five-star hotel also happens to use the same butcher – Coventry-based Royal Warrant holders Aubrey Allen. So that means the next time you order a steak or lamb chop at the hotel's English Grill restaurant, it could very well be the same dish enjoyed by Her Majesty. Book your table pronto.
The Rubens at the Palace, 39 Buckingham Palace Road, SW1W 0PS; rubenshotel.com
A V-VIP stay at The Goring
This five-star, family-run hotel has been a favourite of the royal household for decades, but it wasn't until April 2011 that The Goring was put firmly on the map when Kate Middleton emerged from the hotel on her way to wed Prince William. The spectacular Royal Suite is described as a 'true homage to British history', lined with the same silk that graced the first-class dining room of the Titanic. Best start saving now though – rates start at £8,400. Check out other suites here.
The Goring, 15 Beeston Pl, SW1W 0JW; thegoring.com
St James's wild past
St James's is the oldest of London's Royal Parks and has the strongest regal connections, surrounded as it is by no fewer than three palaces. King James I introduced a menagerie of wild animals to the park, including camels, crocodiles and an elephant. You may not spot any crocs these days but you can find pelicans, who have called St James's home for the past 300 years. Find out more with a walking tour.
Behind closed doors at Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace was built in 1703 and Queen Victoria was the first sovereign to use it as her official residence in 1837. Not only is the palace home to the Royal family but also some 800 members of staff, including a flagman, a fendersmith and a clockmaker. The latter looks after the palace's 350 timepieces. Want to try to count them all? Pre-book your visit to the State Rooms here.
What's in a name?
It's no secret that Victoria (both the location and train station) is named after Queen Vic, but did you know that Britain's second-longest reigning monarch is namechecked in more than 100 countries around the world? Victoria's name lives on in everything from the famous Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe to Toronto's Victoria University, and even a prison in Hong Kong.
Image by ©Royal Collection Trust