From historic castles and majestic palaces to stately homes and country cottages – there’s a broad mix of styles, sizes and stature of properties that the British royal family call home.
Centred mainly around London and Windsor, plus a few further afield in Norfolk and Scotland, many of these grand buildings have been residences for the monarch and members of the royal family for generations.
To add a bit of fun, we’ve ranked the top 16 royal residences in a Top Trumps style based on an overall score derived from the prominence and stature of the properties.
Methodology: To award top trump scores, we assessed essential information about 16 properties where significant members of the royal family reside. The factors we used to arrive at an overall score were the status of the resident, size of the building, age of the property, whether it is open to visitors, the number of Google searches it receives each month, and the number of Instagram hashtags it has attracted up to when the research occurred.
Notes: Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, there may be some changes in the actual residents at some of the properties. But we don’t expect this to change the overall score or the ranking order of the residences, as the main properties are likely to remain the official home of the British monarch.
|Ranking||Residence||Status Score||Size Score||Age Score||Visitor Score||Search Score||Hashtag Score||Total Score (out of 60)|
|4||Palace of Holyroodhouse||10||7||6||9||3||3||37|
|8||St James’s Palace||3||4||8||3||5||3||26|
While many of the castles, palaces and mansions are usually open to the public or have areas or rooms that people can visit, we have been informed that some of the residences will remain closed during this period of mourning but are expected to re-open in early 2023.
So, without further ado, here are the top 16 royal residences ranked in order of their ‘Top Trumps’ score.
1. Windsor Castle (1070)
Top Trumps Score: 58
As an official residence of the British monarch and one of the queen’s favourite homes, Windsor Castle tops the list of royal residences. At 852 years old, this impressive fortress has been a base for many successive kings and queens. It’s said to have over 1,000 rooms, many of which are open to visitors all year round. As well as being a much-loved residence of the royal family, it’s extremely popular with members of the public too. Windsor Castle generates an average of 110,000 searches on Google each month and has attracted 438,194 Instagram hashtags. It’s a colossus of a castle and deserving of its number one position at the top of the list of royal residences.
2. Buckingham Palace (1703)
Top Trumps Score: 52
Buckingham Palace is recognised around the world as the home of the British royal family. It was the Queen’s and now the King’s official London residence, a working royal palace and the main venue for national and royal celebrations. At 319 years old, the building with 775 rooms has been a major London landmark for three centuries and a key attraction on the British sightseeing list. The magnificent State Rooms are open to visitors for ten weeks each summer. With an average of 110,000 Google searches each month and a whopping 1,479,757 Instagram hashtags, Buckingham Palace is by far the most popular royal residence online.
3. Kensington Palace (1605)
Top Trumps Score: 38
Thanks to its location in central London and its association with the late Princess Diana, Kensington Palace has risen in rank in recent decades as a cherished royal residence. Now the home of various royals, including the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and the Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, the palace is famous as the birthplace of Queen Victoria, with a history stretching back over 400 years.
Visitors can walk in the footsteps of royalty in Victoria’s re-imagined childhood rooms and the magnificent King’s State Apartments and in the beautiful gardens where the statue of Princess Diana is situated. The palace also scores well with digital visitors, with 60,500 monthly Google searches and a huge number of 442,339 Instagram hashtags.
4. Palace of Holyroodhouse (1671)
Top Trumps Score: 37
Taking the number four spot on our list is the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Located at the end of the Royal Mile, the palace is the official Edinburgh residence of the British monarch and a prominent sightseeing attraction for visitors. With over 280 rooms, this beautiful 344-year-old property is packed with treasures from Scotland’s colourful past.
Many parts of the Holyroodhouse and gardens are usually open to visitors at least five days a week throughout the year. This grand palace is also famous online, with an average of 6,600 monthly Google searches and 7,450 Instagram hashtags.
5. Sandringham House (1870)
Top Trumps Score: 37
This iconic house is part of the vast Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, which people can visit all year round. Sandringham is famous as the home the Queen chose to spend her festive holidays with her family and has been the venue for the broadcast of her Christmas Day speech on many occasions.
The British monarch owns the 20,000-acre estate, which is home to around 300 properties, many of which are rented out to local families. The house itself is one of the youngest on our list at only 152 years old. Sandringham House gets searched on Google an average of 8,100 times per month and has been tagged in 145,924 Instagram posts.
6. Balmoral Castle (1856)
Top Trumps Score: 36
Balmoral was one of Queen Elizabeth’s favourite residences, and she was often pictured hiking through the grounds of this large country estate in Scotland. King Charles is now the official owner of the castle and has been rumoured to say that the property may partially become a museum.
This will be good news for visitors who could only previously see the castle on guided tours between April and July. It’s relatively young for a royal residence at 166 years old, but what it lacks in age, it makes up for in size with 52 rooms and 50,000 acres of moorland, forests and farms. It gets 27,100 Google searches monthly and has clocked up 18,842 Instagram hashtags.
7. Clarence House (1825)
Top Trumps Score: 29
Clarence House has been the home of Prince Charles and Camilla for years but it is unclear if we will remain here now he is the King. It’s a large, central London mansion dating back 195 years. Designed by renowned architect John Nash, parts of this impressive property are usually open for guided tours during the summer. With an average of 9,900 Google searches per month and 33,096 Instagram hashtags, it’s popular with the online crowd too.
8. St James’s Palace (1536)
Top Trumps Score: 26
Almost 500 years old, this palace has been at the heart of royal life since Tudor times. The palace was home to successive kings and queens until the reign of Queen Victoria and is now a collection of royal apartments, staterooms and offices. It was a London residence for Princess Anne, Princess Beatrice, and Princess Alexandra.
Its central London location, just off The Mall, makes it a popular stop on sightseeing walks around the capital, but there is no public access inside. St James’s Palace attracts 9,900 searches per month and has been tagged 9,058 times on Instagram.
9. Highgrove House (1798)
Top Trumps Score: 25
Highgrove House was the beloved country home of the now King Charles and his wife Camilla. However, ownership passed automatically to Prince William when he inherited the Duchy of Cornwall on his father’s succession. With only nine bedrooms and four reception rooms, this Georgian neo-classical house in the Gloucestershire countryside is relatively modest by royal standards.
But it’s surrounded by 900 acres of grounds and gardens, which have been tended to using organic and environmentally friendly methods. Public members are not allowed in the house, but garden tours are available. Highgrove House receives 6,600 each month and has generated 16,769 Instagram hashtags.
10. Frogmore House (1684)
Top Trumps Score: 18
This historic house is part of the royal estate, close to Windsor Castle. The large stately home in the Berkshire countryside has been a royal retreat for more than 300 years. Frogmore House does not currently have any permanent residents but is a popular venue for royal events and gatherings. The house and grounds are open to tour guests during the summer, which no doubt contributes to most of its 2,900 Google searches and 2,705 Instagram hashtags.
11. Gatcombe Park (1774)
Top Trumps Score: 18
Princess Anne’s official residence is a 16-room stately home with extensive grounds in Gloucestershire. It is the Princess Royal’s private family home, although Gatcombe Park is famed as a venue for regular equestrian events. As one of the less prominent properties in the royal portfolio, the residence only attracts 4,500 Google searches per month but is surprisingly high on hashtags with 1,341 in total.
12. Bagshot Park (1879)
Top Trumps Score: 18
Bagshot Park is the private family home of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex. It’s a palatial 120-room property on Bagshot Heath, near Windsor. It’s not open to the public although it is relatively popular online with 9,400 searches per month due to its 389-year history as a royal residence. However, the rarely visited Bagshot Park has only acquired 446 Instagram hashtags.
13. Royal Lodge (1662)
Top Trumps Score: 16
Royal Lodge is the official country residence of Prince Andrew, Duke of York and his family.
The 30-room Grade II listed house in Windsor Great Park in Berkshire is 360 years old. The grand building was extensively and expensively refurbished by Prince Andrew when he leased it from the Crown Estate in 2003. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to see or visit this historic building so Google searches and Instagram tags are very low at 2,400 and 631 respectively.
14. Anmer Hall (1802)
Top Trumps Score: 16
Part of the sprawling Sandringham Estate, Anmer Hall was given to William and Kate, now the Prince and Princess of Wales, as a wedding present by Queen Elizabeth II. The 220-year-old property served as their family home for many years but they have now moved to Adelaide Cottage in Windsor. It only has 10 rooms but it is a substantial residence surrounded by beautiful Norfolk countryside. Anmer Hall is searched for 4,400 times per month on Google and has attracted 2,935 Instagram hashtags.
15. Frogmore Cottage (1801)
Top Trumps Score: 14
Most famously the home of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, until they moved to California, Frogmore Cottage remains a base for the couple when they visit the UK. Although it has the charm of a country cottage, the property has 10 bedrooms and is part of Home Park in Windsor, a private park owned by the Crown Estate. Its expensive refurbishment in 2019 and the notoriety of the royal couple probably account for the property’s relative popularity online, with 6,600 Google searches per month and 4,570 Instagram hashtags.
16. Adelaide Cottage (1831)
Top Trumps Score: 14
Last but not least is Adelaide Cottage – the new family home of William and Kate, the Prince and Princess of Wales. With only four bedrooms, it’s tiny for a royal residence. But what it lacks in size it makes up for in charm and style. Initially built for Queen Adelaide, the wife of King William IV, in 1831, the rural retreat has been in royal hands ever since. The royal couple’s move to Adelaide Cottage means it is a relatively popular search term on Google, with an average of 6,600 searches each month. But its seclusion and minor royal role until very recently means it has only accumulated 518 hashtags on Instagram.
Although some of these royal properties are less known, at Evan Evans, we love it when our guests learn more about British history. For the most curious, we offer incredible London tours and day tours from London to see the royal heritage across the country.