BUCKINGHAM PALACE ULTIMATE GUIDE
July 23rd to August 31st: 9:15AM to 7:45PM
Time Needed: 2,5 hours
September 1st to October 2nd: 9:15AM to 6:45PM
From the outside, Buckingham Palace may look like a dismal, grey building that doesn’t have much to offer. But in a classic case of “don’t judge a book by its cover,” this grey building is essentially the epicentre of royal London which serves as the official royal residence of the Queen, as well as the administrative headquarters for the British monarchy.
Dating back to 1703, Buckingham Palace was originally built for the Duke of Buckingham (hence the name), but was eventually transformed into an official residence for several notable royals such as George IV, Queen Victoria, Edward VII, William IV, and many more.
Both Edward VII and William IV were born at Buckingham Palace, and Queen Elizabeth II gave birth to both her sons (Prince Charles and Prince Andrew) inside the palace as well. Queen Victoria was the first member of the British royal family to rule from Buckingham Palace, and held countless lavish costume balls, concerts and events inside the palace throughout her reign.
Buckingham Palace has around 775 rooms including 19 state rooms, 52 royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 78 bathrooms, 92 offices, and even a cinema, swimming pool, post office and police station. (It even has its own postal code!)
Out of the hundreds of rooms inside the palace, the most famous are The Grand Hall, The State Dining Room (which is used by presidents and prime ministers from all over the world), The White Drawing Room (which is used as a Royal reception room) and The Bow Room (which is used to entertain guests during the Royal Garden Parties). The Throne Room is also the setting for various formal royal family photographs (such as the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge).
The Buckingham Palace gardens are also famous in their own right, and are often described as “a walled oasis in the middle of London.” The gardens boast more than 350 different types of wildflowers, over 200 trees, a three-acre lake, and even tennis courts (where King George VI and Fred Perry used to play during the 1930s).
The eastern front of the palace (the side which is the most visible to the public), is perhaps the most famous as it is where members of the royal family step out onto the balcony to wave to the crowds; (however, this only occurs during royal weddings, events and celebrations). The street which leads to Buckingham Palace (also known as “The Mall”), is also famous as it serves as a “ceremonial approach” route to the palace.
If you purchase your tickets directly from the Royal Collection Trust, you will automatically be given a 12 months' complimentary admission to return to the palace. To get the annual pass, make sure you sign and print your name on your ticket before you leave the palace, and get a member of staff to stamp and validate it.
If you don't feel like taking a tour of the inside of the palace, you can always enjoy spectacular views of the palace from the outside – but make sure you correlate your visit The Changing of the Guard ceremony, which takes place at 11:30 a.m. everyday. The ceremony leads to Buckingham Palace as well as St. James's Palace and Wellington Barracks, however the best spot for watching the ceremony is said to be at the eastern side of Buckingham Palace near the gates.
London SW1A 1AA, United Kingdom (See map).
The nearest stations are Green Park and St. James's Park stations, which are both about an eight-minute walk away from the palace
London Victoria Station which is a ten-minute walk away.
You can also get to the palace by bus via routes 11, 211, C1 and C10 to Buckingham Palace Road.
The nearest station is Victoria Coach Station which is a 13-minute walk away
Tours of Buckingham Palace are only offered during the summer months, and the majority of the rooms are closed to the public. However, The State Rooms, The Queen’s Gallery and the Royal Mews are open to visitors.
The tours last for approximately two and a half hours, and photography and video recording is strictly forbidden inside the Palace (you can however, take photographs and videos of the gardens).
Eating and drinking is strictly forbidden inside the State Rooms, but you will be able to buy refreshments at a café at the end of your tour. The café offers tea, coffee, juice, cakes and sandwiches, and closes at 5:45 p.m.
Buckingham Palace is open from:
In order to see the inside of the Palace, you will need to book a tour beforehand, and there are three different tours available:
Children under the age of five can get in for free for any of the tours.
If you are checking out Buckingham Palace you might also want to join any of the free tours that are available on offer.
You can make it with a professional guide
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