Visiting Buckingham Palace is an integral part of any sightseeing tour of London, whether you are able to visit the State Rooms or you simply stand in awe at the gates gazing at this incredible property. I’ve toured the State Rooms many times, including three of the special private tours that are occasionally available, and there is always something new to see. 2016 sees an exhibition of 90 Years of Style from The Queen’s Wardrobe called Fashioning A Reign. The State Rooms at Buckingham Palace are open 23 July until 2 October 2016. Be sure to book in advance so you don’t miss out.
Buckingham Palace Gardens
Buckingham Palace has over 35 acres of gardens, highlights of which can be seen on a tour available as part of a combination ticket with a visit to The State Rooms.
If you won’t be in London when the State Rooms are open, don’t worry, there’s more to Buckingham Palace than you might think, even when the State Rooms are closed.
The Queen Victoria Memorial
Located in front of Buckingham Palace, The Queen Victoria Memorial includes the Canada Gate (bottom left), the Australia Gate and the South and West Africa Gates as well as the Memorial Gardens and a huge central monument (top right). The central monument includes sculptures of Queen Victoria as well as the virtues attributed to her: constancy, courage, victory, charity, truth and motherhood.
The Royal Mews
Step inside the working world of Buckingham Palace with a visit to the Royal Mews. Many of the Palace staff have homes in the Mews; this is also where the horses used in State Ceremonies are stabled. The beautiful state coaches, including the Glass Coach and the 1902 State Landau are on display here. The latter was used in the most recent Royal Wedding. You can also see the historic livery worn by The Queen’s Coachmen. There’s more information and opening times here.
Changing of the Guard
The music and sheer spectacle of this traditional ceremony is something both kids and adults will love! Watch the Changing of the Guard daily at 11.30am from May to July and on alternate days throughout the rest of the year. Check out the Changing of the Guard website for more information. If the Changing of the Guard isn’t happening at Buckingham Palace on the day of your visit, you can walk down the Mall to Horseguards Parade (site of the Trooping of the Colour and other important ceremonies) to watch their Changing of the Guard daily at 11.00am Monday to Saturday and at 10.00am on Sundays.
The Queen’s Gallery
The Queen’s Gallery showcases the art and treasures held in trust for the nation by The Queen. Offering a changing programme of exhibitions throughout the year, the Queen’s Gallery is kid friendly, with family activity bags and The Millar Learning Room where families can relax and explore exhibitions in more detail. Free audio guides are also available.
Don’t miss visiting Buckingham Palace on your next visit to London. Tickets for Tours of the State Rooms, The Royal Mews and The Queen’s Gallery are all available from The Royal Collection Trust. Family tickets are available, as are combined tickets for all three locations. Tickets purchased from the Trust can be converted to an annual pass on the day of your visit to give you 12 months complimentary admission to the site(s) you have visited, should you wish to return. (Return visits should be booked in advance.)
Buckingham Palace is located at the top of The Mall on Buckingham Palace Road. The closest underground (London’s subway) station is Green Park on the Victoria Line. Walk out of the station, across Green Park and through the Canada Gates to the Palace. Or take the longer walk up The Mall from Trafalgar Square, through Admiralty Arch and up to Buckingham Palace.
The Royal Mews, The Queen’s Gallery and the entrance to the State Rooms are all located around the corner from Buckingham Palace in Buckingham Palace Road (to the left as you face the Palace).
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