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'll be celebrating the 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria's birth by showing how the young queen transformed the palace from a private house into a royal residence.
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).
> Craig’s review of this event – “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”
Buckingham Palace and Garden Highlights – 22 Jul to 29 Sep 2019 – Why not combine a visit to the Buckingham Palace Summer Opening with a tour of the Queen's gardens as well?
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 Apartments at the world's oldest inhabited castle, which has been home to the Royal Family for a thousand years.
Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace – 1 May to 30 Jun 2019 – Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace is one of the must-see sights in London for every tourist's itinerary.
Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall — Live – 14 Jul 2019 – Hear extracts from Hilary Mantel's award-winning novel Wolf Hall alongside a performance of the TV score by the Locrian Ensemble
Outdoor cinema: The Young Victoria – 30 Jul 2019 – Kensington Palace will be showing Emily Blunt's movie The Young Victoria on an outdoor cinema screen outside the palace
The Favourite, at Kensington Palace – 31 Jul 2019 – Kensington Palace will be showing Olivia Colman Oscar-winning movie The Favourite on an outdoor cinema screen
Look for more Royal events taking place next 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 Queensway), Royal Mews (you can walk it in 4 mins) and Windsor Castle
|Royal events in June|
|Royal events in July|
|Royal events in August|