Buckingham Palace

Attractions, Sightseeing St James's Park
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Photo © Lee Nichols, taken from the Time Out London Flickr group


White drawing room, Derry Moore / Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2013


The throne room, Derry Moore / Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2013


The palace gates, Andrew Holt / Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2013


Photo © Prad Patel, taken from the Time Out London Flickr group


The grand staircase, Derry Moore / Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2013

A chance to see world famous art, glimpse regal opulence and get inside HRH’s HQ

In its choice location, surrounded by parkland and close to the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace has been a high-class address for centuries, though much of the magnificence dates back only as far as John Nash’s extravagant upgrade during George IV’s reign, and it was in the twentieth century that George V and Queen Mary had the famous grand façade in Portland stone added to the front. 

Still, give Queen Victoria her due – 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 or three on big occasions.

As anyone knows who saw The Queen being collected by James Bond before her helicopter drop into the Olympic Stadium for the London 2012 opening ceremony, Buckingham Palace is the working headquarters of the Monarchy. From daily meetings to huge ceremonial occasions with heads of state from all over the world, this is where it all happens.

However, The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh live in private apartments on just one side of the Palace, leaving plenty for us non-royals to see elsewhere – The Queen’s Gallery which is open all year round, the Royal Mews open from February to November, and the State Rooms which are accessible to visitors in August and September and for special tours on certain dates throughout the year (when the Queen isn’t home).

By: Laura Lee Davies


Venue name: Buckingham Palace
Address: Buckingham Palace Rd
Opening hours: State Rooms: Jul 23-Aug 31 daily 9.15am-7.45pm; Sep 1-Oct 2 daily 9.15am-6.45pm. Royal Mews: Feb 1-Mar 24 Mon-Sat 10am-4pm; Mar 26-Oct 31 daily 10am-5pm; Nov 1-30 Mon-Sat 10am-4pm. 2016 closures May 18, 28, Jun 4, 11, Nov 12. Queen’s Gallery Jan 1-Jul 29 daily 10am-5.30pm; Jul 30-Sep 25 daily 9.30am-5.30pm; Sep 26-Dec 31 daily 10am-5.30pm.
Transport: Tube: Victoria/Green Park/Hyde Park Corner Rail: Victoria
Price: £21.50, £19.60 student/over 60s, £12.30 disabled/under 17s, free under-fives, £55.30 family (up to two adults, three under-17s). State Rooms and Garden Highlights tour: £30.50, £27.50 student/over 60s, £18.20 disabled/under 17s, free under-fives, £79.20 family (up to two adults, three under-17s). Royal Day Out (incl State Rooms, Queen’s Gallery and Royal Mews): £37, £33.80 student/over 60s, £20.80 disabled/under 17s, free under-fives, £94.80 family (up to two adults, three under-17s).
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Laura G

I ventured onto the State Rooms visit while entertaining people in town and must say I wasn't disappointed. There's something a little magical in having a peak inside the royal rooms, although there are slim to none chances of some cheeky royalty spotting. This visit takes you to the social side of the palace, where you can have a glimpse of the endless rooms used to entertain state chiefs and the likings. Extra points for the banquet room, and for a little peak on how HRM dresses herself. As it's not open year round, it's important to keep an eye open for dates and travel light - security IS tight. At the end of the visit there's a little entertainment room for the little ones, as well an exit route through the rear garden of the palace.

Kateryna V

Buckingham Palace has surpassed my expectations. I was born in ex-USSR. We do grandeur well (all too well, perhaps, judging by the turbulent history), so it takes quite a palace to impress me. Buckingham Palace starts low (the entrance hall is almost unassuming given it's a working palace of the most famous monarch in the world) but John Nash, credited with the major design improvements in the 19th century, brings it to a swooping crescendo by the time you reach the Throne Room at the end of the tour. His theatrical credentials served him well. I entered unimpressed. I exited in a state of awe. It's a tasteful and well preserved affair throughout. The gilded work is mesmerising. It's also slightly surreal how many of those interiors look familiar thanks to all the public displays of the royal family life in the past years what with all the weddings, births and jubilees. Weather permitting, get yourself a scoop of royal ice cream and devour it watching the sun ripple the surface of the lake in the magnificent palace gardens. There's an excellent audio guide to accompany your visit, full of interesting commentary. Apparently, the Palace is run by an 800 strong staff and has over 700 rooms and 78 bathrooms. Which brings me to the two areas where the Royal Collection Trust, managing the property and overseeing visitor experience, miserably fails: the only visitor bathrooms are out in the park, reachable at the end of the tour, and there's no backtracking through the palace in case you were thinking to make a quick run for it and then back. I mean, really, we the mere mortals, are not worthy to take a poop in the palace? And the second bit is the lack of directions as you approach. Sure, there are a couple of obscure signs gracing the rails around the palace, but they are far in between and it's difficult to get an unobstructed view of them any way what with all the tourists in the Horse Guards Parade area. Surely they could spare a couple of members of staff to provide some guidance to desperate tourists out there? And may I just mention it costs £21 pound to enter the State Rooms. As magnificent as they are, surely the cost of admission is a factor in a city, that boasts some of the best free tourist experiences to be had.


This palace is one of the most visited places among the tourists in London. Many people though don't know that this is the official residence of her Majest the Queen so if you are standing outside of the metal fence trying to take a nice selfie, she might also be looking at you hiding behind a curtain. Not only is Queen's official home but also is the place where are her offices and hundreds of people work inside. If you want a tour inside you will have to wait till mid July, when the Buckingham Palace State Rooms' opening take places and ticketed tours are available.

Daniel L

One of the most famous attractions in London (not just because it is free) and also a site for many a celebration involving the royal family. The changing of the guard is probably the most busy time you can be here so if you want to get a photo that would not be the time to go. It is well located amongst other nearby attractions such as St James Park or even Trafalgar Square. A must-visit for all tourists and even locals (on the queen's birthday) alike.

Luisa G

Nie to visit, but make sure you heck it's 1) open to te public and 2) not a school holiday!


If you’re in London in August, you should go and try to get yourself some tickets. It’s quite enjoyable to be able to actually get in the palace instead of simply looking at the façade from the road. Cheeky pleasure in a way.

Do not expect to see the whole place though. You’ll only visit the State rooms. But that’s enough really. The décor is magnificent and you’ll discover where the Queen does all of her Queen stuff. Very interesting indeed.

And hopefully the weather will be good enough for you to enjoy the private gardens...


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!

Alison Bond

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.

Pedro Agrochao

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.

Rebecca Wilson

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!