Visit Buckingham Palace

Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0
Buckingham Palace map location

Buckingham Palace address and telephone

Address:
Buckingham Palace is located at: The Mall,
London SW1A 1AA
England
Telephone:
You can contact Buckingham Palace on Work +44 (0)303 123 7300
Website:
The Buckingham Palace website can be visited at www.royalcollection.org.uk

Buckingham Palace opening times and ticket price

Opening hours:
Buckingham Palace is open to the public from: 9.30 AM to 7.30 PM (Mon-Sun, Aug); 9.30 AM to 6.30 PM (Mon-Sun, Sep); Last entry 2¼ hours before closing
Time required:
A typical visit to Buckingham Palace lasts 2-2½ hours (approx)
Ticket cost:
The entry price for Buckingham Palace is: Adult price £23.00; Child cost £13.00 (5-16); Infants free entry (under-5); Family ticket £59.00
Visiting hours and admission charges are subject to change, and may not apply on public holidays. Always reconfirm entrance fees and whether it’s open to visitors before booking tickets and making plans to visit Buckingham Palace

How to get to Buckingham Palace

When visiting Buckingham Palace you can use the following:
Minicabs:
Find minicab and taxi firms near Buckingham Palace
Buses:
11, 211, C1, C10
London bus fares
Trains:
Green Park JUB PCL VIC, St. James’s Park CRC DSC, Victoria CRC DSC VIC
If you want to visit Buckingham Palace by train then the nearest underground station to Buckingham Palace is St Jamess Park
London underground fares

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

 Buckingham PalaceLondon

 Buckingham PalaceLondon

See all events at Buckingham Palace

 

History of 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 then George III purchased it in 1762, and later embellishments by George IV and John Nash turned it into a royal home.

Buckingham Palace forecourt

Most of what you see today is relatively new. The front facade was only built in the 1850s, and Queen Victoria added the famous balcony where the British Royal Family wave at the crowds.

Summer Opening tours at Buckingham Palace

Tourists can see inside Buckingham Palace during the Summer Opening. The Summer Opening is usually held from late-July to September, when the public can buy a ticket and see inside Buckingham Palace on a sightseeing tour. During the winter they sometimes hold guided tours of the palace in the evening, but the tickets are very expensive.

Royal Family on the balcony at Buckingham Palace

The State Rooms (including the famous Throne Room, Ballroom, State Dining Room and Music Room) are used on official occasions like State visits by foreign leaders, and most of them are open to the public during the Summer Opening. The Queen’s private rooms are in the north wing, overlooking the 40-acre gardens, and are not open to visits by the public.

Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace

The famous Changing of the Guard ceremony takes place at 11.30 AM on the Buckingham Palace forecourt, and lasts for approximately 40 minutes.

Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace

Read our review of Changing the Guard if you would like to visit.

Craig’s review of the Buckingham Palace Tour

This review originally appeared in his London blog

It’s that time of year again… the Buckingham Palace Summer Opening. I upgraded my ticket this year to include a tour of the Buckingham Palace gardens as well. So I have seen the entire palace now, and I can confirm that is a) posh and b) very nice.

After you’ve been through the airport-style security and picked up your audio guide, the whole thing starts round the lefthand side at the Ambassador’s Entrance. This is basically the non-posh entrance for all the total nobodies (ie. politicians). It’s got a few paintings and busts but nothing special. Then you come out to your first view of the Quadrangle (the interior courtyard). This is the bit where the Queen’s carriage disappears too once she’s passed through the central arch.

Then it’s up the little stairs and into what I reckon is my favourite room of all – the Grand Entrance and Grand Hall. It’s the first room that everyone sees when they enter the Palace, and it’s a blinder. Unfortunately they don’t allow you to take any pictures of the inside, so you’ll just have to take my word for it (you can trust me though, I’m not lying). I don’t know how much the rent is, but I would be happy living in this one room alone.

After that you wind your way up the Grand Staircase with the golden ballustrade, which is just as impressive, and into the tiny Guard Chamber and Green Drawing Room. Then it’s the Throne Room, which you’ve probably already seen on the telly (it’s the red room where they always take the wedding photos and family snaps).

While all of this is going on you are listening to your audio guide, which is explaining the history of each room, what it’s used for, and a bit about the architect and Queen who commissioned it. It whips along at quite a pace I thought, the guide, because they are trying to stop people dawdling and holding others up. The whole thing only took me an hour this time, which was pretty speedy.

After the Throne Room you come to the long Picture Gallery, which is hung with stuff by Rembrandt, Rubens, Vermeer and Canaletto. The you’re into the East Gallery and the Ball Supper Room.

The Ball Supper Room is where they hold a little exhibition. Last year it was all about Faberge Eggs. This year it was all about diamonds, in honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. It was pretty boring for a bloke (I’m a bloke), but I’m sure the ladies would love it. They like looking at all those sparkly rings and things.

After that you come to the Ballroom. This is where the do all the investitures… giving out the knighthoods and gongs. It’s also where they host all the State Banquets. Then you move onto the West Gallery, the State Dining Room (which is not where they hold the State Banquets, confusingly), Blue Drawing Room and Music Room. The Music Room is one of the stand-out rooms of the tour, because it bows out and overlooks the gardens.

Then you come to the White Drawing Room, which has got to be the most garish room in the Palace. It’s all white, yellow and gold, like you’re sitting inside a sunflower. Imagine having all your seats and furntiture painted bright yellow. That is what it is like.

The final bit of the tour takes you down the Minister’s Staircase, which is basically a poor man’s version of the Grand Staircase for the politicians, and through the Marble Hall. The Hall is a kind of like a twin to the Picture Gallery upstairs, but contains the Queen’s collection of fine white statues and marble sculptures. Then it’s past the Grand Hall again and out of the Bow Room, and into the garden.

Buckingham Palace gardens

Tour of the Buckingham Palace Gardens

Once you are into the garden it’s time for a rest, because they’ve set up a little cafe on the veranda selling very expensive tea and cakes. But how can you resist having a cup of tea on the Buckingham Palace veranda? I had a tuna roll too, which set me back about a million quid. If you’ve got any money left after that then you can have a look around the shop as well, and take some shots of the lawn. (This is the only part of the palace tour where they allow you to take photos.)

Tea in the cafe at Buckingham Palace

It was at this point of the Summer Opening tour that I went home last year, but I’d splashed out on a tour of the Buckingham Palace gardens as well this time, so I had to wait around for an hour for that to start.

You always get to see a little bit of the garden even if you don’t take the tour, because the exit route takes you down the lefthand-side of the grounds. Unfortunately you don’t see much, just the lawn and glimpses of the lake. When you do the tour you go down the righthand-side instead, past the Queen’s private apartments (although you can’t actually see into them, of course).

Tour of the Buckingham Palace Gardens

The guide then takes you all the way round (roughly parallel to Constitution Hill) and up past Wellington Arch. You then bend round the back to the same exit as before.

Our guide was a posh guy called Mr Wild, and he was exactly the kind of bloke that you would imagine working at the Palace.

He told us all about the flowers and shrubs, which Queen planted which tree, and who built the little buildings, etc. There was a lot of history to cover, and he kept it interesting. But I think it would mainly appeal to gardeners. If you like flowers then you will be well happy. You also get to see parts of the garden that no one else does, but you don’t quite get to see it all because you’re never allowed to leave the path. But there’s more than enough there to make it worthwhile.

Craig’s London blog> Read Craig’s latest review of Buckingham Palace  “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 big advantage over the hoi polloi because when we turn up she’s already halfway up the M1 for two months in Balmoral. If you’re hoping to see the Queen walking around… continued.”

Evening Tour of Buckingham Palace

Craig’s London blog> Read Craig’s review of an Evening Tour of Buckingham Palace  “I thought I’d pop in and see the Queen tonight because she’s putting on one of those Evening Tours of Buckingham Palace. It cost me £75 quid so it should be good. That’s quite a lot of money so hopefully the Queen will be leading us around herself. If we end up with Prince Edward then I want a refund. I’ve been to Buckingham Palace plenty of times before so I already know what… continued.”

Craig’s London blog> Read Craig’s review of Changing the Guard  “This is what the final five minutes of Armageddon is going to be like, with everyone crushed up against the Pearly Gates with their heads wedged between the metal bars trying to get a look inside. To say this place gets packed would be a massive understatement. This is the first thing that everybody wants to do when they come to London. You’d think that the Queen was about to make a balcony appearance, or something, judging by the number of them, but she’s not – it’s just a lot of soldiers tooting on their trumpets… continued.”

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If you enjoy visiting Buckingham Palace in London then there are several other Royal palaces in London. The best one is Windsor Castle, followed by Hampton Court Palace and Kensington Palace. You might also like the Queen’s Gallery, Royal Mews and Clarence House. And check out our guide to Royal events and exhibitions in London.


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> How do you rate it?  Talk about Buckingham Palace in the forum

 
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  • 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 terrace, and look out over the gardens where they hold the famous garden parties.”
  • 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 that visiting foreign heads of state must get when they meet the queen. Everything is designed to impress, from the scale, to the views, to the service (each guest gets their own personal butler!) Being a bit of a dimbo, a lot of the history on the audio guide went over my head, but I can see that it would be very interesting if you're into that kind of thing. But even if you're not, you can still look at the palace and dream”

> Events at Buckingham Palace

   to Buckingham PalaceLondonThe 'Changing the Guard' ceremony at Buckingham Palace is one of the must-see events for every tourist's itinerary.

   to Buckingham PalaceLondonStep inside Buckingham Palace and see the State Rooms, lavishly decorated with treasures from the Royal Collection.

   to Buckingham PalaceLondonWhy not combine a visit to the Buckingham Palace Summer Opening with a tour of the Queen's gardens as well?

If you enjoy your tour of Buckingham Palace, then you might also like these other Royal attractions in London…

> Windsor Castle Windsor Castle is the largest inhabited castle in the world, and is the Queen’s favourite weekend home.
> Hampton Court Palace Hampton Court Palace was home to Henry VIII and William III, and was partly built by Christopher Wren.
> Royal Mews The Royal Mews are working horse stables, and house the Royal Family’s State coaches.
> Clarence House Clarence House was built in the early 19th-century for the Duke of Clarence – later King William IV.
 

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