The centerpiece of United Kingdom’s constitutional monarchy is the iconic Buckingham Palace. Currently serving as the official residence of Her Majesty The Queen; the entirety of Buckingham Palace is nothing short of any regal opulence. This significantly architectural beauty, located in the Heart of London is a must visit for any visitor. From enjoying the famous Change of Guards ceremony, to touring the palatial complex and enormous gardens, from getting a peek at the opulent Royal Collection, to exploring the splendour and grandeur of the Royal lineage; visiting the Buckingham Palace and taking a tour inside the Buckingham Palace is a quintessential experience while in London. Here's all you need to know about visiting the Buckingham Palace, taking a Buckingham Palace tour and the highlights of all that is inside the Buckingham Palace.
Buckingham Palace History
Buckingham Palace is one of the world's few remaining working royal palaces today. But it wasn’t always this majestic. The Buckingham Palace history dates back to (1603-25) when the site was originally a mulberry garden planted by King James I to rear silkworms. Unfortunately, he chose the wrong kind of mulberry bush, and silk production never took off. The Buckingham House was then built by him on the same site. It became a royal residence though not an official palace, in 1761 for King George III and his family.
Multiple renovations over generations took place at the Buckingham House. In 1825 as directed by George IV it was transformed into a grand palace. It is said that the house was so unloved that it was offered to the nation as a temporary House of Parliament. It wasn’t until 1837 when Queen Victoria decided to move in and call the house her Official Royal Residence. She hired a parade of architects who refurbished the house and constructed the East Wing as well as the most familiar central balcony on her request. The Buckingham Palace Tour will take you through 315 years of British Royal history through a series of rooms, pictures, documents are more.
Buckingham Palace Tickets
Take a tour inside Buckingham Palace on a guided tour or a self audio-guided tour and experience the opulence for yourself. The history seeped walls, the lavish rooms, the Royal Mews and every other nook of Buckingham Palace deserves a sedate visit.
Before you buy your Buckingham Palace tickets, know that access to the State rooms, Queen's Gallery and Royal Mews requires a seperate ticket, over and above the entry ticket. If you hope to visit these special rooms during your Buckingham Palace Tour, make sure you buy the combo tickets online which give you better savings and cash back offers.
Inside Buckingham Palace : Tour Highlights
Buckingham Palace's inside is opulent, grand and all things royal. Taking a guided tour of the Buckingham Palace is highly recommended and during your Buckingham Palace visit you will be able to walk through an array of rooms that will take you through years of British Royal history. A few Buckingham Palace rooms you ought to watch out for are listed below. Make sure you don't miss out the famous Change of Guards at the Buckingham Palace.
White drawing room
Do you fancy a look inside the State Rooms? Well, the White Drawing Room is considered to be the grandest of all State Rooms. It is strikingly elegant and elaborately designed. Roll-top desks by Riesener, as well as the magnificent gilded piano by Erard, are something that can’t be overlooked.
The palace's largest multi-purpose room is the Ballroom. It is widely used for state banquets and investiture ceremonies. Highlighting the peak of Victorian design the rooms most striking features are the Throne Canopy, designed by Lutyens and the triumphal arch, with winged statues.
Throne Room is often seen as the backdrop in some famous royal wedding photos. Therefore it is a leading favourite with visitors. The room houses a number of thrones used for investitures and ceremonial receptions. Queen Victoria's throne and chairs used by George VI and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother are something to look out for. It also features a plaster frieze showing scenes from the Wars of the Roses.
Occupying the heart of Buckingham Palace is its 19 staterooms. Lavishly furnished by some of the finest English and French furniture in the world; these rooms house an exotic collection of paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, Vermeer, Poussin, Canaletto and Claude. These are the very rooms used by the Queen and members of the Royal Family to receive guests on State, ceremonial and official occasions.
Formerly known as the Saloon State Room, this is the place where all royal christenings take place. It is dominantly large, ornate and at times hosts larger lunch parties. The room is surrounded by the white and blue drawing room and also connects visitors to the picture Gallery.
Blue Drawing Room
Made to resemble the stone Onex is the Blue Drawing Room. It has been decorated with blue flock wallpaper and pairs of scagliola columns. Having beautifully lit windows on the right, the room has a stunning full-length portrait of Queen Victoria. Five cut-glass chandeliers hanging from the ceiling are not to be missed.
State Dining Room
Dinner not just fit for the queen but for up to sixty guests. Sumptuous Royal Banquets for the large annual diplomatic reception are held at the State Dining Room. This magnanimous room houses a magnificent display of gold plate, and other enormous collectable items, acquired over generations by monarchs themselves.
Housing the Queens phenomenal collection is the Picture Gallery. Fortunately this year, a new selection of some of the most famous paintings in the Royal Collection will be re-hung in the gallery. The new hang includes paintings by Canaletto, self-portraits by Rembrandt and Rubens, and a selection of Italian Baroque masterpieces usually on display at Hampton Court Palace.
The Royal Residence’s garden is fondly known as a “walled oasis in the middle of London”. Buckingham Palace’s garden is as stunning as the building and particularly pleasant during summers. This 16-hectare garden with over 350 different species of wild flowers is a remarkable feature that one simply can’t miss.
Change of Guard
Changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace is a strikingly special event thronged by visitors. A picture of the march with musical accompaniments is a touristy essential. From August to May, the ceremony will take place on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays officially beginning at 11:00 am. However, Guards begin to leave the Royal Barracks and St. James Palace by 10:30.
Visit Buckingham Palace - Royal Mews, Queen's Gallery, Clarence House
As mentioned before, certain parts of the Buckingham Palace require an extra ticket for entry. The 3 most popular areas that are worth the extra money are the Royal Mews, Queen's Gallery and Clarence House. Read more about each and grab a discounted ticket for entry!
The Royal Mews
The Royal Mews London is the world’s finest working stables today. It has a royal collection of historic coaches, carriages and the Queen’s horses. Do check out the spectacular Diamond Jubilee State Coach, most dazzling of all, Gold State Coach and the Australian State Coach that are on display. It is still responsible for all the road travel arrangements that are to be made for The Queen and members of the Royal Family. It is open from February to November each year for public visits/tours.
Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace built has been built out of the bomb-damaged ruins of a former private chapel during the World War. It is now a permanent space dedicated to changing exhibitions from the Royal collection. A stellar assortment of paintings, sculpture, old masterpieces, rare furniture, as well as a glittering array of decorative and priceless treasure held in trust for the Nation by Her Majesty The Queen, are on display at the Queens Gallery.
Built between 1825 and 1827, Clarence House is the official London residence of The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall. The principal rooms of the house are used by The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall for receptions and other official entertaining and to receive official visitors to the United Kingdom. The room is hung with 22 of The Prince of Wales’s watercolours painted between 1998 and 2006.
Buckingham Palace Tour - Steal Combo Deals
While you're in London, pair up your Buckingham Palace visit with another tour around London to earn savings!. Discover London better while spending less with these Buckingham Palace tour tickets. Be it the Stonehenge, Windsor Castle or HOHO, save money while exploring!
Buckingham Palace Opening Hours
- From Saturday, 21 July 2018 to Friday, 31 August 2018 - Timing : 9:30 AM to 7:00 PM
- From Saturday, 1 September 2018 to Sunday, 30 September 2018 - Timing : 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM
Buckingham Palace Tour is open to the public from mid-July to the end of September and then for private tours on selected dates in the winter. A typical visit takes around 2 hours.
Buckingham Palace - How To Get There
- Getting to Buckingham Palace by Train
- Getting to Buckingham Palace by Tube
- Getting to Buckingham Palace by Train
Buckingham Palace Address
Find Buckingham Palace on the map
Victoria Station and Charing Cross are the nearest rail stations. Check for timings beforehand.
The nearest London Tube Stations are Victoria, Hyde Park Corner, and St James's Park Green Park and St James's Park.
Bus numbers 11, 211, C1 and C10 all stop on Buckingham Palace Road, a short walk from the Palace entrance and other attractions. Victoria Coach Station, for longer distance coach arrivals, is about a ten-minute walk.
Know Before You Visit Buckingham Palace
- The Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace in 2018 will include an exhibition that marks the 70th birthday of The Prince of Wales.
- There is a timed admission system, which is the time you select when purchasing your ticket.
- It is advisable to wear comfortable shoes, as the visitor route includes a half-mile walk through the garden to the exit.
- Reach a little ahead of time as there is security screening just like at any royal house.
- An audio descriptive tour is available for blind and partially sighted in English and in British Sign Language for the deaf in video format.
- As Buckingham Palace is a working royal palace, security and opening arrangements may be subject to change at short notice.
- After your tour of the 19 rooms, you can wander about in the gardens or have a light bite - tea and coffee, sandwiches and cakes in the Garden Cafe.
- Free multimedia tours are available in 9 languages - English, French, German Spanish Italian, Japanese, Brazilian, Portuguese, Russia and Chinese
- The family multimedia tour is available in English and is aimed at families with children under 12.
- Photography is strictly prohibited in certain rooms and all visitors are strictly required to adhere to this rule.
Buckingham Palace Social Media Handles
Though the Buckingham Palace is 315 years old, the British Royals have kept abreast with the changing times and are active members of the social media world. Should you want to check out their social media to know about the latest happenings, here are their official handles.
Buckingham Palace Tour Review
We did the State Room tours and it was amazing. The palace is beautiful and you learn so much history with the audio guides. There were lots of gifts that other nations gave the Queen on display. This year they also included a special Princess Di room that both the princes set up. It was touching and clearly the most popular room on the tour. The only downside is you aren't allowed to take photos inside but it's understandable. Afterwards, we had dessert on the patio, but only browsed the gift shop because it's expensive. You also get to take a path behind the castle and see ponds and flowers. It's very picturesque.
Genuinely didn't think we would get to see as much as we did. From the golden State Coach to the meandering way you make your way up through the various floors, it was way more than we expected. It was nice that you weren't forced to have an audio guide and were allowed to make your own way around - even so it still probably took us a good 2 hours.
Read more Buckingham Palace Tour Reviews on TripAdvisor.