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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”
Exclusive evening tour of Buckingham Palace – 21 Dec 2018 to 3 Feb 2019 – Enjoy a glass of champagne and a tour of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace in the company of an expert guide.
Princess Diana — Her Fashion Story – 24 Feb 2017 to 17 Feb 2019 – Diana's Fashion Story at Kensington Palace is an exhibition of iconic dresses that show the evolution of her style
Victoria Revealed, at Kensington Palace – 24 May 2018 to 6 Jan 2019 – Kensington Palace will be exploring the life of Queen Victoria, using objects and excerpts from her journals and letters
The Last Tsar — Blood And Revolution – 21 Sep 2018 to 24 Mar 2019 – The Science Museum will be exploring the life and death of the Romanovs — the last imperial monarchs of Russia
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
Exclusive Evening Tour of Windsor Castle – 20, 23, 30 Oct, 7, 20, 21, 22, 27 Nov, 4, 13, 18, 19 and 28 Dec 2018 – This after hours tour will give you a chance to see the State Apartments at Windsor Castle away from all the crowds.
Visit the State Rooms at Windsor Castle – Every day – Visit the State Apartments at Windsor Castle - the world's oldest inhabited castle, which has been home to the Royal Family for a thousand 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 Queensway), 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