Buckingham Palace Summer Opening

Things to do, Walks and tours
0 Love It
Save it
Buckingham Palace tube roundel (Royal Collection Trust)
1/8
Royal Collection Trust
Royal Gifts exhibition (Royal Collection Trust)
2/8
Royal Collection Trust
 (Royal Collection Trust)
3/8
Royal Collection Trust
 (Royal Collection Trust)
4/8
Royal Collection Trust
Queen coronation portrait (Royal Collection Trust)
5/8
Royal Collection Trust
The Diamond Diadem (Royal Collection Trust)
6/8
Royal Collection Trust
The gold state coach on show (Royal Collection Trust)
7/8
Royal Collection Trust
Royal family on the balcony (Royal Collection Trust)
8/8
Royal Collection Trust

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. 

Posted:

Average User Rating

4.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:6
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|9
1 person listening
tastemaker

I am glad I went but I really don't feel the need to go again. It was very interesting to see inside the state rooms and wander through all the rooms, and I had no idea what to expect, but this doesn't really hit me as a 'must-do'. We had the royal day out tickets which included being able to go into the Mews and the Queen's gallery. I am not a big art aficionado so this wasn't particularly up my alley, and whilst the carriages were stunning in the Mews, all of the horses were 'away on summer holidays' and so the stables were all empty as well. For £40 I didn't really feel that it was worth the expense. This ticket purchase as well also dictated what times we had to be at each section, and we ended up passing through everything much faster than their recommended times and so we arrived to the state rooms 1.5 hours earlier than our slot. Thankfully the staff were kind enough to let us in but I felt a lot of pressure to conform to their allotted times of how long you should be spending on each part. My parents did this exact same tour last month and mentioned they had tea and scones out in the palace gardens and that it was horrible - so we didn't bother with that either. Overall if you are thinking of going, I would recommend just seeing the state rooms and not bothering with the rest (unless you are really into your art in which case you will love the gallery). Still an enjoyable Sunday out, but I don't feel this was value for money or worth going back to see again - once was enough. 

tastemaker

A great place to visit and nose around one of the most famous palaces in the world. Very well done with the audio guide and the exhibitions with some of the queens clothes and the details around preparing for state banquets etc. It is sad to see past the glamour and see all the cracks in the walls and that it is really in need of a lot of work but fascinating none the less. The ticket is valid for a year so can come back the next season as well


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.

Tastemaker

If you have never been inside Buckingham Palace during its Summer Opening, then you should arrange to do so asap! This not only for tourists but also it's a great day out for locals.


When her Majesty the Queen leaves Buckingham Palace and stays in Windsor Castle, (that's roughly after 20th July and for 3 months every year), Buckingham Palace State rooms are open to the public. 1st question: Are Queen's rooms i.e. bedroom, kitchen etc. open to visit? Of course no you stupid. Only the State Rooms and the Palace Gardens are open. And what are the State Rooms? Are the ones that Queen meets people like ministers, diplomats etc. 


You will need about 2-3 hours to spend here and you will be given a really informative audio/video tour guide as you enter. The tickets worth every penny you pay and they are valid for one year as soon as you stamp them on the back on your way to exit. So you can come even next year or as many times as you like. 

This year 2016, they made a slight change in some of the rooms in order to celebrate the Queen's 90th birthday and thus hundrends of her dresses are displayed there.

No photography is allowed apart from the outside of the Palace, at the end of your tour in the Palace Gardens. 

Tastemaker

This is somewhere that I have always wanted to tick off my list of places to visit, but have been waiting for a 2 for 1 offer as it seemed far too pricey for me.  However, by sister suggested going for a visit as a 50th birthday treat for her, so off we went.

One important thing that you need to know before you go, is to 'go before you go' - there are only toilets at the end of the tour, so there is no opportunity to spend a Queen's penny once you get to the palace before joining the tour.


No photography is allowed until after you have completed the tour and are in the public park of the Palace gardens  (you can take a picture of the toilets!).


We were given an audio guide, which led us through various rooms of the palace.  It is all at the back part of the Palace, so you don't get to stand on the famous balcony.  The tour is incredibly informative and I was once again pleasantly surprised to find further confirmation of the historical accuracy of Blackadder in that a log of the artwork, sculptures etc were purchase by George IV, who seemed to be a bit of a spendthrift, as did the Prince Regent, played by Hugh Laurie in Blackadder the Third. 


We also got to see a special exhibition for the Queen's 90th birthday of her dresses over the years.  This too was interesting, but there were so many people at this part of the exhibition that it was hard to get near the exhibits, or to move between exhibits as quickly as we would have liked.


We spent two hours looking round the Palace and would have spent a bit longer, but we had a combined ticket which included a tour of the gardens and we needed to get to the end to join this tour.  This too turned out to be very interesting - I'm not normally into walking around gardens, but it was very informative.


There is a large gift shop at the end toilets (yeah!) and a café, all, as expected, with tourist prices,


We were even able to get our ticket stamped so that we could return any time we liked in the next year (although it is only open a couple of months).  Even though it is very expensive to visit (I think it was £30 per ticket), I think it is worth it, it is just a shame you can't take pictures inside, although I can understand why.




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 ...

However,

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.