Time Out says
A chance to see world famous art, glimpse regal opulence and get inside HRH’s HQ
Many a tourist and local alike know the iconic façade of Buckingham Palace, standing grandly at the end of The Mall. But it was only in 1913 that this epic addition was made, by King George V and Queen Mary. Before that, in 1633, the palace wasn’t even royal – it belonged to Lord Goring, who was forced to hand over ownership to the Royal Family (under King George III) due to a flaw in his contract. Whoops!
Still, if it weren’t for Lord Goring’s poor knowledge of residential law in seventeenth-century Britain, who knows where the Queen and co would reside. And as for greeting great hordes of onlookers from that renowned balcony, they have Queen Victoria to thank for that. She requested a large balcony from which she could send off and welcome back her troops. To this day, this is where the Monarch and Royal Family appear for a wave on big occasions.
However, it’s not just major events that’ll see the Royal Family at work here. Buckingham Palace is the genuine HQ for the Monarchy and meetings take place daily here, as well as ceremonial occasions with international heads of state. Plus, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh actually live here, but they’re on a very private side of the Palace, so don’t count on a a chance encounter.
That’s not to say there isn’t plenty for us norms to have a ganders at. All year long you can get a nosey round The Queen’s Gallery, where you’ll find pieces from the Royal Collection. Plus, from February to November the Royal Mews is open for strolling along, and the State Rooms are open throughout August and September (as well as for one-off tours during the year when the Queen isn’t home).
Read our full guide to visiting Buckingham Palace.
Buckingham Palace Rd
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Users say (21)
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3.9 / 5
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Long live the Queen! The palace is a staple tourist destination when visiting London. You’ll get a chance to see the home of the queen as well as the old school changing guards if you’re lucky. Sometimes they’ll just march back and forth.
This building is the equivalent of the White House for the U.S. but way more detail and gold ornamentation is put on it. You’ll also have a great place to people watch.
What a magnificent palace, no wonder it's the most expensive property in the world!
I absolutely loved the tour of the state rooms, with the magnificent gifts the Queen has received from Heads of State from all across the globe, neatly presented by continent and region. So funny how Kennedy's gift for Her Majesty was a signed portrait of himself (in nothing less but a silver Tiffany frame!). There is a free audio guide and a lot of additional information on the Royal Collection Trust's website, so be sure to check it out.
I've been to several other palaces in Europe, but their beauty pales when compared to that of the Royal British abode, its abundance of crystal chandeliers, gold friezes on every wall and every ceiling, the ornate ball rooms, the majestically theatrical throne room, and the art gallery containing over 1 million works of art (the maintenance of which apparently does not cost the taxpayers a penny, as it is entirely funded by the ticket sales). The gift shop has a wide range of trinkets and home-ware, from key-chains and leather pouches to fine bone china and cookbooks. The only unimpressive bit is the garden, just a green lawn with threes, no manicured mazes or rose gardens (as far as I could see).
My favourite part? The fact that if you ask them to treat your ticket as a donation, you get free re-entry for a year. I'll definitely be back!
If you are in London during the summer months don't waste the opportunity to step inside the palace. The state rooms tour is a must where you get to explore many working rooms of the royal family. You'll finish in the palace gardens where you can enjoy an afternoon tea to top of the visit.
I was pleased to get tickets to visit Buckingham Palace, in the only two months of the year opens.
The entry system was very efficient, we only had to wait approx 10 minutes for security. I was visiting with a family and we were disappointed with the baby carriers they provided, even though we had our own, they insisted we check it in and use theirs, which was annoying.
The palace itself was stunning, the decor and exhibits were beautiful. The audio tour was informative and the family version was a huge hit with the children. The marquee for children was very well set up and unusually empty for the summer holidays.
I was pleased and surprised that the tour ended with a walk around the gardens, which were stunning. A great few hours and a visit I'd recommend.
Fascinating but slightly underwhelming at the same time. The state rooms are as grand and opulent as you would expect, but it all got a bit same-y after a while. The gardens at the back are beautiful, although you're not allowed to step on the grass. The exhibition area was packed! Buckingham Palace is worth a visit as it's such an iconic building but it didn't blow me away.
The Buckingham Palace state rooms tour is only open for 2 months of the year so for this one you need to plan ahead. It's worth getting this one sorted though as obviously it's an iconic building and one of the only remaining working palaces in the world.
On the tour you get to see the ball rooms, the throne room for state events, the banqueting rooms and the rooms that are filled with some amazing collections of art. You obviously don't get to see the entire site as the royals have to maintain a bit of their homefor themselves but what you do see is worth seeing.
You get an audio guide and therefore are able to do the tour in your own time which is great. There were also plenty of seats in each room in case you want to sit down and just take on the spectacle of each room. For £23 I think it's def worth doing
Great place to visit if you get the chance, its not open all year round so check before making the trip. State rooms are amazing, even the kids loved the tour.
It was a great day out! Took a girlfriend and we walked through all of the state rooms and got to go at our leisure! it was great to see inside the palace and was a fun little treat to know the Queen was home while we were there!
We had a lovely visit from start to finish. There was some inevitable queueing to get in with the security check, however, there was plenty of seating in the waiting area so it wasn't really a problem. The optional commentary was well worth having and I actually preferred the individual headset than having a guide, as I could hear everything really well and could take things at my own pace on the way round. There were plenty of stewards around to ask additional questions if you wanted to. Inside the palace itself was immaculate and it was great to see some of the rooms that you see on the news or in photographs for yourself. The Coronation exhibition was fabulous. It was lovely to see the clothes, jewellery etc. actually worn by the Royal Family on Coronation Day - never realised the Queen was so small!! When we got to the end of the exhibition, we finished by a tearoom and the gardens. We were going to go into the tearooms but I was a little disappointed that the tea was served in a paper cup, so we didn't bother!! We would probably have hung around a little longer in the gardens but it wasn't very warm so we just wandered through. I think the only negatives are the fact that I needed to go to the loo before we started, as there are no facilities until the end of the tour. I was then sent on a route march up the road, around the corner and into some public loos near Marks and Spencer. Some temporary loos near the beginning would have been welcome! Also, I would have loved to have gone on the Barracks tour too but didn't want to do it all on the same day - I think it's a little disappointing that you can do the Palace without the Barracks but not the other way round. However, overall this was a brilliant experience and I have already recommended it to many friends on my return home.
Overall it was what I expected. A BIG minus for Buckingham organization for putting a Brazilian flag instead of a Portuguese flag when referring to the Portuguese language. There is no such thing as Brazilian language! It is the same as English language were represented by the US flag or Spanish by the Mexican flag!! It is a shame that so many years of history, and friendship between Portugal and England seemed to be forgotten. England and the English should never forget that was a Portuguese Queen that brought the 5pm tea, the orange jelly and cutlery habit to the island. Despite this enormous linguistic/historical error, the visit went pretty well.
It was very difficult to find the ticket booth. There were signs inside the fences of Buckingham Palace, but they were easy to miss because they were hidden by the crowds and there are no staff around to ask. You have to walk around the left hand side of the palace and eventually you will spot the signs. The ticket buying process is very inefficient. We had already pre-booked ours but we still had to queue with others who hadn't to collect them. Once that was done we had to go back out and join another queue elsewhere to enter the venue! We visited the Mews first and they are quite a long walk away from the ticket office. We thought maybe we'd missed the entrance but we kept going and eventually found it - the signage wasn't very good again. Once inside the Mews were excellent, although there weren't enough horses for my liking. The carriages are really impressive as you'd expect, and the layout is very good. We found 40 minutes was plenty of time. We then had to go back out and queue again to get into the Palace, but once inside we had a wonderful time. The exhibits (for the coronation) were excellent and beautifully displayed. Despite the crowd there was plenty of room to walk around and we were still able to view everything properly. The staggered entry times certainly work! The Palace rooms are magnificent and very worth the visit. At the end of our stroll through the Palace we were able to walk through part of the garden which was very pleasant. We decided to sit on one of the benches and enjoy the scenery and sunshine for a little while (and eat an ice team). Overall we had a really great time and would recommend it, but be prepared for the inefficient queuing!