Poke around Buckingham Palace while the royal family are on their hols.
Every 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 hosts receptions and entertains guests. You won’t bump into any royals – the palace opens for ten weeks only, when the Queen is away – but you will get to wander around the Throne Room and ogle the Ballroom’s glittery chandeliers.
Visitors in 2017 will see the new Royal Gifts exhibition, an extensive look at the presents the Queen has been given during her 65-year reign. Highlights include a Union Flag worn by Tim Peake during his spacewalk last year, a fossilised dinosaur bone, an honorary Bafta, an enamel TfL roundel for Buckingham Palace, a gold casket from Prince Rainier of Monaco, a sperm whale tooth necklace from Fiji and a silk prayer shawl blessed by the Dalai Lama.
This summer, Buckingham Palace is also home to a Princess Diana tribute. To mark the twentieth anniversary of her death on August 31, 1997, her sons the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry have selected personal possessions, from her writing desk to her cassette tape collection, to go on public display in the palace’s Music Room.
A visit to the State Rooms usually takes up to two and a half hours. Be prepared for airport-style security and don’t expect to get away with taking any selfies; cameras are banned inside the State Rooms. Food and drink is a no-no, too, but there is a café, so you’ll be able to tell people you’ve taken tea at Buckingham Palace. Ellie Walker-Arnott
Find out more about Buckingham Palace with our ultimate guide to the Queen's London residence.
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This never disappoints. I go most summers & I still look forward to my visit. The exhibition this summer is "Fashioning a Reign" a retrospective of the Queen's style over the decades. Some of the dresses are exquisite & without a doubt her coronation gown is the star of the show. For me the Norman Hartnell's designs are a real highlight & showcase her beautiful wardrobe of a glamorous bygone age.
Absolutely fabulous place to visit including the d Queens dresses _ my sister and I were quite picky about the quality of the clothes as we grew up with my Mum who was a court dressmaker _ only years later do we realise how lucky we were.
The only downside to the tour was the horrendous queuing to gain entry! _ so be prepared. Maybe it was a bad day but ...
Staff were extremely helpful when it seemed we were going to miss the garden tour due to the lateness of our earlier entry to the state apartments.
Look forward to another visit next year with the annual pass.
It's really worth it. It's awesome: very interesting and wow! beautiful! I spent about 3 hours visiting The Queen's gallery, The Royal Mews and The State Rooms, and I'm very happy about this visit.
just spent 1 week in London and booked the visit to Buckingham Palace in advance. The dress is really beautifully crafted and Fabergé objects were delightful & delicate works of art.