A Guide to Visiting Buckingham Palace

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For anyone visiting London for the first time, Buckingham Palace is a top London attraction to visit. This iconic London landmark, situated in the heart of the city, stands as a testament to centuries of tradition and power and has served as the official residence of the British Royal Family since the reign of Queen Victoria. Its magnificent facade and impressive architecture hold a rich tapestry of history, and culture that captivates visitors from around the globe.

Usually, the Palace gates are as close as visitors can get, however for avid Royal enthusiasts Buckingham Palace opens its doors every summer and you can book tickets to visit the splendid State Rooms. In this guide, we share with you visiting tips for Buckingham Palace and take you on a journey where royalty meets history.

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Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is located in London in the central zone 1 area of the city. It is located close to Green Park tube station and has served as the official London Royal residence since 1837. This grand Palace was built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1703 and has 775 rooms including 19 State Rooms and 52 bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices, and 78 bathrooms.

Every summer Buckingham Palace opens its doors to the prestigious State Rooms, usually used by the reigning King for State Banquets, events, and receptions during the rest of the year.

Where is Buckingham Palace and which is the best way to arrive at it?

Buckingham Palace is in the heart of Westminster, Central London. The best way to get there depends on your starting point and preferred mode of transportation, but here are some general recommendations:

The nearest tube stations are Victoria, Green Park, St. James’s Park, and Hyde Park Corner. From any of these stations, Buckingham Palace is just a short walk away. Green Park station is particularly convenient for a scenic walk through the park to the palace.

If you’re staying in central London, walking could be a great option as you’ll see more of the city’s sights along the way. The palace is within walking distance from many central areas.

Is possible to visit the interior of Buckingham Palace?

Buckingham Palace opens its State Rooms to the public each summer, usually from July to September, while the King is away. During this period, visitors can explore the palace’s opulent rooms and view the Royal Collection’s treasures, including art, furniture, and more. It’s essential to book tickets in advance due to high demand.

This year, Buckingham Palace will be open from 11 July until 29 September

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Must-See Highlights of Buckingham Palace

1. Changing the Guard

The Household Troops have guarded the Royal Palaces since 1660 and the Changing of the Guard ceremony takes place over three locations including Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace and Wellington Barracks. The ceremony takes place every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and begins at 10.45. Visitors will see the current soldiers on duty, the Old Guard, relieved by a new detachment of troops, the New Guard.

The Changing of the Guard takes place with a full military band playing traditional march songs and is an opportunity to see the famous Foot Guard uniforms, which feature the iconic red tunics and black bear-skin hats.

Changing The Guard

2. Buckingham Palace State Rooms

If you ever wondered what Buckingham Palace looks like inside then the Buckingham Palace State Room Tour will not disappoint you. Visitors work their way through the Palace tour viewing rooms adorned with ornate ceilings and sparkling chandeliers during the tour.

As part of the tour, you can see some of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection, including Sèvres porcelain, and exquisite English and French furniture. The complimentary multi-media guide provides additional information about Palace history, adding to the experience as you walk around the rooms.

Highlights of the Buckingham Palace tour included the luxurious throne room featuring the monogrammed thrones of King Charles III and Queen Camilla. The Picture Gallery, featuring impressive paintings of previous monarchs including Queen Victoria is also a wonderful sight. The tour takes you through many magnificently decorated rooms including the exquisite White Drawing Room and the expansive and splendid Ballroom, which often has interesting Royal exhibits such as King Charles and Queen Camilla’s Coronation gowns on display.

The tour ends at the entrance to the Gardens of Buckingham Palace where there is a children’s activity room and a garden cafe where you can enjoy refreshments. As you leave you can also pick up souvenirs from the gift shop before leaving the Palace grounds.

Buckingham Palace Tickets

A Guide to Visiting Buckingham Palace

3. The Royal Mews

Located just behind the Palace, the Royal Mews is responsible for organizing any travel needed by The King and other members of the Royal Family. As visitors, you can enter the Royal Mews and see a variety of Royal carriages and cars used by Royalty. You can expect to see the carriage Princess Diana took to her wedding to King Charles in 1981 and the Diamond Jubilee State Coach, which was built for Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee.

The highlight of the Royal Mews is the stunning 260-year-old Gold State Coach used for King Charles III’s Coronation in 2023. You can also experience sitting in a replica Semi-State Landau carriage and children can practice tacking up a wooden pony.

Royal Mews Tickets

Royal Mews London

4. The Kings Gallery (former Queen’s Gallery)

The King’s Gallery (formerly The Queen’s Gallery) at Buckingham Palace is a premier space for art exhibitions from the Royal Collection, featuring works by masters like Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt. Opened in 1962, it showcases a rotating selection of paintings, drawings, and sculptures collected by the monarchy over centuries. Located on the palace’s south side, the gallery occupies the site of a chapel destroyed in World War II. It offers a unique glimpse into royal artistic tastes and history through its exhibitions. A visit here is essential for art enthusiasts and those interested in the cultural heritage of the British monarchy.

King’s Gallery Tickets

A Guide to Visiting Buckingham Palace

Tickets & Tours for Buckingham Palace

Exploring the Buckingham Palace is a dream for many. Fortunately, with various tickets and tours available, visitors can experience the palace’s historic state rooms, the Royal Mews, and the Queen’s Gallery, each offering a unique glimpse into royal life and art.

Explore Buckingham Palace: Tickets for Every Section

Buckindham Palace Summer Opening

Royal Mews Tickets

A Guide to Visiting Buckingham Palace

Season

Season

Summer

Open year-round

Open year-round

What is it?

What is it?

This exclusive chance offers access to the State Rooms, typically reserved for official royal occasions.

Visit the historic stable and carriage house for the British Royal Family.

The King's Gallery in an Art gallery showcasing exquisite pieces from the royal collection.

Price

Price

£32

£17

£19

Tours of Buckingham Palace and Westminster

Changing The Guard

Westminster Tour

Royal London Tour

Royal London Tour

Review

Review

Duration

Duration

105 minutes

Open year-round

Open year-round

120 minutes

What is it?

What is it?

Get closer to the world-famous Changing of the Guard ceremony in London on a small-group tour led by a local.
Skip the lines to the iconic Westminster Abbey and see Big Ben and Buckingham Palace on a walking tour.
Walk around Westminster and learn about London's quintessential tradition. Then get a glimpse into the life of the Royal Family at Buckingham Palace.
Embark on a historic journey through London on a guided walking tour and pay tribute to the life of Her Majesty the Queen, Elizabeth II.

Price

Price

£20

£74

£69

£15

Good to know before you visit the Buckingham Palace State Rooms

  • If you are visiting London in the summer, buy your Buckingham Palace tickets in advance.
  • Photography is not permitted within the State Rooms.
  • Be prepared to stand during the Buckingham Palace tour, as there are limited seats during the tour. However, at the end of the tour, you can sit in the Palace Gardens and the garden cafe.
  • Prams and pushchairs are not permitted on the Buckingham Palace State Room Tour. Children are welcome however you have to check your pushchair in at the entrance.
  • Arrive 30 minutes before your time slot and expect airport-style bag checks at the entrance.
  • Food and drinks are not permitted inside except for bottled water.
  • Complimentary multimedia guides are offered as you enter and provide interesting information as you walk through the rooms. There is also a children’s audio guide that includes games and activities.
  • The toilets and baby change facilities are at the end of the tour.
  • There is no dress code to enter any of the Royal attractions and casual wear, including trainers is permitted.

Is the visit to Buckingham Palace worth it?

Absolutely! Catching the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace is a must-do in London, and it’s free all year round. Just seeing Buckingham Palace from the outside is an awesome experience because it’s such an iconic British site. We were also lucky enough to tour the inside. The State Rooms, used for big royal events, are breathtaking. We were amazed by the famous thrones and the gorgeous rooms.

Don’t miss the Royal Mews, too. It’s where the royal carriages are kept and is fascinating, especially for kids. It’s a great way to see a part of royal history up close. Our visit was incredibly memorable – we loved every moment of it!

Buckingham Palace Royal Mews, London
Laura at the Royal Mews

Other things to visit around Buckingham Palace

  • St James Park: Located opposite Buckingham Palace, this beautiful Royal Park is the ideal place to stroll in summer. It is also home to a flock of pelicans and has a great children’s playground.
  • Trafalgar Square: Located at the end of The Mall, Trafalgar Square is a short walk away.
  • The National Gallery: Iconic London museum located in Trafalgar Square, housing an extensive collection of European paintings spanning from the Middle Ages to 1900.
  • Downing Street: While Downing Street itself is not open to the public due to security reasons, visiting its vicinity offers a unique glimpse into the heart of UK political life.
  • Westminster Abbey and Big Ben: Located a short walk away from the Palace you can visit the iconic Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, and the Houses of Parliament.

FAQ about The Buckingham Palace

What can I do at Buckingham Palace?

In the summer (usually from mid-July to the end of September), when the King is on holiday, you can tour the inside of Buckingham Palace. Otherwise, you can admire the paintings in the King’s Gallery, visit the Royal Mews (royal stables), or watch the Changing the Guard ceremony.

Is the Changing of the Guard every day?

The Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace has a varying schedule, usually taking place on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. However, during the summer months, it occurs daily, weather permitting. The ceremony does not take place in the rain, so it’s advisable to check the official schedule or the Royal Family’s official website for the most current information before planning a visit.

How do I know if the King is in Buckingham Palace??

You can often tell if the King is in Buckingham Palace by looking for the Royal Standard flag. When the King is present, the Royal Standard, a flag that represents the sovereignty of the monarch of the United Kingdom, is flown above Buckingham Palace.

Buckingham Palace serves as the official London residence and administrative headquarters of the monarch, so it’s used for many official events and receptions throughout the year.

However, it’s known that the Royal Family traditionally spends the summer at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, which is why Buckingham Palace is typically open to the public for tours during the summer months. This tradition suggests that the King, like previous monarchs, would likely be away from Buckingham Palace during this period.

How many people work in Buckingham Palace?

The exact number of people working in Buckingham Palace can vary, but it’s reported to be around 800 staff members. This includes a wide range of roles such as administrative staff, domestic workers, kitchen staff, and maintenance personnel, among others, all contributing to the day-to-day operations and upkeep of the palace. This number can fluctuate based on the season, events, and specific needs of the Royal Family.

Profilbild Laura Haig
About the author

I love traveling in Europe and I am passionate about writing about my travels. The cultural peculiarities of each region always fascinate me. I enjoy exploring and discovering the best-kept secrets of each town or village. I love road trips as much as city breaks; I love visiting an art gallery and also the magic of musicals or discovering new delicacies in a street market. In this blog, I write about all my travel adventures and my best tips and tricks! Auf Loving Travel schreibe ich über alle meine Reiseerlebnisse und gebe euch meine besten Tipps und Tricks!

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