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Buckingham Palace gardens
Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2021. Photograph: John CampbellSingle use only

Buckingham Palace is getting hammered by bad TripAdvisor reviews

Visitors are warning tourists of expensive tickets and limited access at the gardens of the Queen's official residence

Ed Cunningham
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Ed Cunningham
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There might once have been a time when you wouldn’t dare criticise Buckingham Palace. They’d have screamed ‘treason!’; maybe lopped your head off. Luckily, these days, that’s not the case – and a load of people on TripAdvisor are making the most of it.

Over the past few weeks, visitors to Buckingham Palace’s gardens have swarmed the site to point out that the gardens of the most iconic gaff in the country aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

Branding the gardens a ‘total rip-off’ and a ‘waste of money’, visitors are unimpressed across the board. The bulk of the complaints concern expensive tickets, overpriced food and drinks, long queues at security, lots of dead shrubbery and limited access to large parts of the gardens.

The 39 acres of Buckingham Palace’s gardens opened to the public for the first time on 8 July. The tickets are, admittedly, quite pricey – £16.50 for an adult or £42 for a family with up to three children – and a general entry ticket doesn’t get you access to all areas. To see more, you need a tour guide, which costs an extra fee. To add fuel to the fire, apparently you also can’t bring in glassware, cutlery and, crucially, alcohol. No wonder everyone’s so angry.

The TripAdvisor page is a goldmine of brilliant criticism, filled with killer one-liners. ‘It felt like our visit just added a few more pounds to the royals’ purse,’ reads one review; ‘go to Hampton Court Palace instead,’ advises another. One of my fave reviews finishes with: ‘And the big pond stinks,’ which is just potent, powerful, unassailable stuff.

To be fair to the Palace, it still holds an average four-and-a-half star rating on TripAdvisor, out of over 29,000 reviews. Positive reviews write of ‘super friendly and welcoming’ staff, ‘the most creamiest [sic] and rich ice cream’ and a ‘wonderful family day’. Those positive reviews are a minority in the past few weeks, but who ever goes on TripAdvisor to say they had a good time?

You can, of course, decide for yourself whether the Buckingham Palace gardens are worth it or not by visiting them. See the Buckingham Palace gardens website for ticket details.  

Time Out’s complete guide to Buckingham Palace.

The best parks and green spaces in London (that aren’t Buckingham Palace gardens).

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