Five royal palaces

  • 8 August 2011

Whether in a Jacobean mansion or an oriental pavilion, one thing's for sure - the royals know how to live in style!

We've chosen our favourite royal palaces to give you a day out fit for a king. The best thing about our top five is that entry to any of them is free with your National Art Pass.

1. Kensington Palace, London
Free entry with National Art Pass

Kensington Palace has been transformed into the Enchanted Palace for a temporary exhibition while the building undergoes renovation. Step into a fantasy world to experience an eclectic mix of art, fashion and live performance.

2. Royal Pavilion, East Sussex
Free entry with National Art Pass

Looking at the elaborate oriental design of the Royal Pavilion, it's hard to believe it started life as a humble farmhouse. Discover some of Britain's finest examples of chinoiserie - decorations inspired by Chinese art - or enjoy lunch on the tearoom's sun-bathed balcony.

3. Eltham Palace, London
Free entry with National Art Pass

The childhood home of Henry VIII, Eltham Palace's medieval grandeur fell into disrepair as other locations became more fashionable. In 1936, textile magnates Stephen and Virginia Courtauld picked Eltham as the site for their Art Deco home, creating the entrancing blend of old and new which still exists today.

4. Falkland Palace, Fife
Free entry with National Art Pass

A former home of Scottish kings, Falkland Palace sits at the base of the scenic Lomond Hills. Set at the heart of a medieval town, this stunning Renaissance building boasts beautiful gardens and the world's oldest functional Real Tennis court.

5. Kew Palace, London
Free entry with National Art Pass

A favourite retreat of the royal family in the late 18th century, today Kew Palace tells the story of George III - the king who went 'mad'. The smallest and most private of the royal palaces, the second-floor bedrooms have been untouched for 200 years.