History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: Original design by John Nash, architect of Buckingham Palace
HistoryIn 1825 the Duke of Clarence, later to become King William IV, commissioned architect John Nas to create a new residence connected to St James Palace, because he found the palace too cramped for his liking. Nash, architect of nearby Buckingham Palace, created a 4 storey building in gleaming off-white stucco. The house exterior that we see today resembles very little the original design, for it has been remodelled and updated numerous times over the last century, especially after the Second world War.
William passed the residence to his sister Princess Augusta Sophia, and from her it passed to Princess Victoria (Mary Louise Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld), mother of Queen Victoria. In 1866 it became the official residence of Queen Victoria's second son, Prince Alfred, and when he died in 1900 it passed to his younger brother Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn.
During WWII the house was used as a Red Cross base and by the St John Ambulance as their war headquarters. The building suffered heavy bomb damage and it took several years to repair the house. Princess Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip, moved in after the War, and it was at Clarence House that Princess Anne was born in 1950. When Elizabeth took the throne as Elizabeth II in 1953 Clarence house became the residence of Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. And when the 'Queen Mum' died the house passed to Prince Charles, Prince of Wales.
The main rooms of Clarence House are used for official receptions and welcoming official visitors to Britain. The rooms display woks of art from the Royal Collection and from the Prince of Wales' own collections. Despite this recent 'personal touch', much of the interior has been restored to the way it looked when the Queen Mother lived here. The arrangement of roms is the same, and many of the personal objects and artwork are placed as the Queen Mum left them.
VisitingThe house is open for 1-2 months each summer. Visitors can book tickets for guided tours through the Royal Collection website. The tours take visitors through 5 rooms on the ground floor and include a formal front garden designed by HRH the Prince of Wales in memory of the queen Mother. Tours last 45-60 minutes and take vistors through the Lancaster Room, Morning Room, Library, Dining Room, and Garden Room.
Among the artwork on show to visitors are works by important 20th century artists like Augustus John, John Piper, and Graham Sutherland. Also on show are fie ceramics, silver, and English porcelain, with many pieces have a strong connection to the Bowes-Lyon family.
About Clarence House
Address: St James's Palace, London, Greater London, England, SW1 1BA
Attraction Type: Historic Building
Website: Clarence House
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
Nearest station: Green Park - 0.3 miles (straight line) - Zone: 1
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Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
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Royal Academy of the Arts - 0.4 miles (Museum)
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Churchill War Rooms - 0.4 miles (Museum)
Household Cavalry Museum - 0.5 miles (Museum)
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