I have little to no expectations of being discovered to be royalty, a la Princess Diaries. However, I was fortunate enough to visit some castles in previous travels and I have generated a brand new life-long resolution: to visit and explore the insides of more castles.

I was able to visit Brighton Pavilion (pictured above) and Buckingham Palace while I ventured around England. Both experiences were uniquely different, but what the experiences did have in common was that I was not able to venture inside. I aim to visit the interiors of more royal residences in the future.

Buckingham Palace exceeded all expectations, and what really surprised me, was how normal it was to have a giant palace in the middle of the street. Really. The roads that lead up to Buckingham Palace surround it, so all I saw was a series of giant gates before the Palace towered in front of me. There's a feeling that you anticipate you will feel when you walk towards a structure that is as photographed and well-known as the Buckingham Palace. I definitely felt it.

The second palace I was able to visit was the Brighton Pavilion, built after a member of the royal family was inspired by the Taj Mahal for his summer residence. The building was under the process of restoration, which could have been primarily due to its very close proximity to the ocean. Brighton Beach was one of the last places one could expect to find an Indian-inspired palace. The influence was obvious in the design, but in a smaller-sized building than the Taj.

Both castles were incredibly interesting to look at, but I would love to explore more castles and palaces internally. I'm not sure yet when's the next chance that I will have to travel. However, I can possibly even start right here in California. Maybe I'll head to the Hearst Castle first.