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.
|Venue name:||Buckingham Palace|
Buckingham Palace Rd
|Opening hours:||Times vary|
|Transport:||Tube: Victoria/Green Park/Hyde Park Corner Rail: Victoria|
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Things to do
Buckingham Palace Summer Opening
This review is from 2017Every summer London’s most famous house opens for tours with an accompanying exhibition. Buckingham Palace has 775 rooms, but only 19 of them, the State Rooms, are open to the public. These are the grand spaces, where the Queen...Walks and tours Until Sunday September 29 2019
Queen Victoria's Palace
Buckingham Palace is now the focal point of the British monarchy and, of course, a major tourist destination for visitors to London. This wasn't always the case. In fact, Queen Victoria was the first ruler to live at the palace and transform it into a...Until Sunday September 29 2019
Average User Rating
4 / 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.
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!
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