Visit Buckingham Palace

Facts and information

Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0
Address:
Buckingham Palace, The Mall,
London SW1A 1AA
England
Website:
www.royalcollection.org.uk
Opening times:
Closed to the public, except during the Summer Opening in Aug-Sep
Note: Opening times are subject to change, and may not apply on public holidays. Always reconfirm with the venue before making plans
Time required:
2-2½ hours (approx)
Telephone:
Work +44 (0)207 766 7300
Parking:
Find car parks near Buckingham Palace
Minicabs:
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Buses:
11, 211, C1, C10
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Trains:
Green Park JUB PCL VIC, St. James’s Park CRC DSC, Victoria CRC DSC VIC
Note: The nearest train station to Buckingham Palace is St Jamess Park
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Buckingham PalaceBuckingham Palace facade Photo: Panhard / WikipediaBuckingham Palace balcony The rear view of Buckingham PalaceBuckingham Palace, from the rear

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Buckingham Palace Easy to get to? Good for kids? Value for money? Worth a visit?303

Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace   

Buckingham Palace Summer Opening   

Buckingham Palace Tour, with Garden Highlights   

> See all events at Buckingham Palace

 

Buckingham Palace was built by the 1st Duke of Buckingham in 1702. It was originally intended as a country mansion at the edge of St. James’s Park, but the rapidly-expanding city meant it settled into a central position.

George III purchased it in 1762, and embellishments by King George IV turned it into an imposing royal home.

Inside Buckingham Palace

George IV secured £200,000 from Parliament and hired Britain’s leading light – John Nash – to make the alterations. Unfortunately, the King’s incessant demands pushed the price up threefold, and Nash was replaced by Edward Blore.

Most of what you see today is relatively new. The large wing facing The Mall for example, was only added in the 1850s, when Marble Arch was moved to its present location near Hyde Park corner. Marble Arch originally served as the main entrance gate, but the new Queen added an entire front wing – creating the famous balcony where they wave at the crowds.

The last major piece of work occurred in 1913, when the front was replaced with Portland Stone. This was to complement the Queen Victoria Memorial nearby, which was built upon her death.

History of Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace was bombed no less than seven times by the Nazis, but escaped serious damage. The Germans intended it to be a demoralising blow – but it actually had the opposite effect. Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother) was quoted as saying, I’m glad we’ve been bombed – now I can look the East End in the face!

A famous newsreel from the 1940s shows a brave man ramming a bomber off-course as it descended on the Palace. The brave pilot miraculously survived, and his plane’s engine can still be seen in the Imperial War Museum.

The State Rooms, and Buckingham Palace Tour

Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh occupy twelve rooms in the north wing – opposite the 40-acre gardens. The State Apartments (including the Ballroom, Music Room and Throne Room) are reserved for official business. Most of these State Rooms can be visited during the Buckingham Palace Tour.

The tour visits just 19 of the Palace’s 661 rooms – but what rooms! It starts in the Ambassador’s Court and moves up the grand marble staircase. Walking past the Guard Room, you come to the Green Drawing Room, where Heads of State wait before greeting the Queen. These State Rooms – used for investitures, official banquets and meeting dignitaries – contain some of the richest decorations in Europe. The Throne Room will take your breath away. Imagine meeting the King and Queen in full regalia!

The Queen’s Gallery boasts one of the finest art collections in Europe – everything from Vermeer, Van Dyck and Rubens, to the Dutch master Rembrandt.

On from the Picture Gallery is the Silk Tapestry Room and Ballroom – where the Queen knights her worthy subjects. Then it’s on to the State Dining Room and Music Room.

Changing of the Guard

The famous Changing of the Guard ceremony takes place at 11.30 on the Buckingham Palace forecourt, and lasts approximately 40 minutes – but you’ll have to arrive by 10 to get a place at the front.

 
  • JRubin – “I've never been inside it but whenever i go past i think it;s a lousy looking palace. I want my Palaces to look like Hampton Court and Versailles, but this is just a box shape and its not even very big. If you look at the front then its got horrible tower blocks behind it. Maybe I should make the effort one day and go inside, but the outside doesnt exactly make you want to visit…”
  • donald – “Of all the tourist sites I've been too (and I'm not a tourist -- I've lived here for 20 years) the Palace is the most interesting by far. The place just impresses the moment you step through the door. The audio guide is superb and gives you an insight into everything from the events and state visist held here, to the formal dinners, investitures and awards etc. It probably takes a good 2 hours to enjoy the inside of the Palace to its full, and then you can have a rest with a cup of tea on the te…”
  • pearlyqueen – “Having already been to Windsor Castle and loved it, I was already knowing the kind of spendour to expect, but to say that Buckingham Palace took my breath away is an understatement! What an amazing palace. And it is even more impressive inside given that the outside is rather less than impressive. You walk in not really expecting to see the kind of riches that you do. Everything, from the furniture, ceilings (and even the wallpaper!) is sumptious. You really do appreciate the kind of impression…”

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If you like Buckingham Palace, then you might also like…

> Windsor Castle Windsor Castle is the largest inhabited castle in the world, and is the Queen’s favourite weekend home. Windsor Castle events
> Kensington Palace Kensington Palace has been used by British royalty for centuries, and was home to Princess Di. Kensington Palace events
> Clarence House Clarence House was built in the early 19th-century for the Duke of Clarence – later King William IV. Clarence House events
> Queen’s Gallery The Queen’s Gallery near Buckingham Palace houses the Royal Family’s art collection. Queen’s Gallery events
> Royal Mews The Royal Mews are working horse stables, and house the Royal Family’s State coaches. Royal Mews events
 

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