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It's that time of year again... when Buckingham Palace throws open its doors to the public.
As one of the few working palaces remaining in the world, Buckingham Palace serves as both the office and the official London residence of Her Majesty The Queen, as well as the administrative headquarters of the entire Royal Household.
The Summer Opening allows you to see inside 19 of the lavishly decorated State Rooms where the official functions are held, all furnished with treasures from the Royal Collection.
The self-guided tour will take you into the Quadrangle and through the Grand Entrance, then up the Grand Staircase to the Ball Supper Room and Ballroom (where they hold the investitures).
They always include a special exhibition every year in the Ballroom, and this year they've decided to celebrate Prince Charles' 70th birthday.
After that comes the State Dining Room, Blue Drawing Room, Music Room and White Drawing Room, followed by the Picture Gallery with its paintings by the likes of Rembrandt, Rubens, Vermeer and Canaletto.
Then it's into the spectacular Throne Room and down the Minister's Staircase to the Marble Hall, Bow Room, and out onto the veranda which overlooks a small part of the garden (where they hold the garden parties in the summer).
Craig has been to the Summer Opening numerous times (too many to count), and ranks it as one of his best things to do in London. You can read his most recent review of the Buckingham Palace Tour on his blog. One of the things that he enjoys the most is having a cup of tea (a very expensive cup of tea!) on the veranda at the end. How many people can say they've sipped a cup of Earl Grey tea at Buckingham Palace?
You can extend your visit with a tour of the Buckingham Palace gardens as well (for extra cost). And if you're lucky you might be able to time it with the Changing of the Guard ceremony as well (you have to book a timed ticket, so this isn't always possible). You could even go and visit Prince Charles' Clarence House.
Craig’s review – “There's an excited line of tourists outside Buckingham Palace. Half of us are dressed for a society ball and the other half the shops. There are people here who seem to believe you need to dress up to get inside. (Trust me, you don't.) The Queen must dread the Summer Opening. It's a bit like having a million in-laws come round your house at Christmas. But she's got a… continued”
Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace – 2 Sep to 31 Oct 2018 – The 'Changing the Guard' ceremony at Buckingham Palace is one of the must-see events for every tourist's itinerary.
Old Palace Tour at Somerset House – Every Tue – The Old Palace Tour will introduce you to three Stuart queens who had an association with the old buildings at Somerset House
Visit the State Rooms at Windsor Castle – Every day – Visit the State Rooms at Windsor Castle, the world's oldest inhabited castle, and the Royal Family's home for over 1000 years.
Look for more Royal events this month
If you enjoy Buckingham Palace then you might like to visit Clarence House (you can walk it in 6 mins), Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace (catch the train from St James’s Park to Kensington Palace), Royal Mews (you can walk it in 4 mins) and Windsor Castle
Disclaimer: Event details can change at short notice and you should reconfirm everything before making plans