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If you're thinking about visiting the Buckingham Palace Summer Opening, then you might like to stump up a bit more money and include a tour of the Buckingham Palace gardens as well.
The Summer Opening allows you to see inside 19 of the State Rooms where all of the official functions are held. The self-guided tour begins in the Quadrangle and then enters the Grand Entrance and up the Grand Staircase to the Ball Supper Room and Ballroom (where they hold the investitures).
After that comes the State Dining Room, Blue Drawing Room, Music Room, White Drawing Room, and into the Picture Gallery with paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, Vermeer and Canaletto.
Then you get to see Her Majesty's Throne Room, before descending the stairs into the Marble Hall and Bow Room, before stepping out onto the veranda overlooking the vast lawn.
At this point we would normally recommend enjoying a cup of Earl Grey tea in their tented cafe, before strolling to the exit via the western path of the garden (which is very bland and boring). But if you pay for a Garden Highlights Tour then you will be able to explore the eastern half of the garden instead, which is where all the landscaped grounds and flowerbeds can be found. This path runs roughly parallel with Constitution Hill towards Wellington Arch, and the guide will explain the history of all the plants and the garden buildings as you walk along.
Craig has been to the Summer Opening on numerous occasions (read his most recent review) and has also tried the Garden Highlights tour as well. You can read his review of the Garden Tour on our Buckingham Palace page.
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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”
Read Craig’s review of this event
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