Buckingham Palace is the official residence of the British monarch in London. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, attracting millions of visitors every year. Here are some information and tips to help you plan your visit to this iconic landmark.
- Tickets: You can buy tickets online or at the ticket office on the day of your visit. However, tickets are limited and may sell out quickly, especially during peak season (July to October). Therefore, it is advisable to book your tickets in advance to avoid disappointment. You can also buy a combined ticket that includes admission to the Royal Mews and the Queen’s Gallery, which are located near the palace.
- Opening hours: The palace is open to the public from late July to early October, when the Queen is away on her summer holiday. The opening hours are from 9:30 am to 7:30 pm (last admission at 5:15 pm). The palace is also open on selected dates in December, January and April, when some of the state rooms are available for viewing. The opening hours for these dates are from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm (last admission at 2:45 pm).
- Days: The palace is open every day except December 25 and 26. However, some parts of the palace may be closed or restricted due to official events or security reasons. You can check the official website for the latest updates and announcements before your visit.
- How to get there: The palace is located in central London, within walking distance from several tube stations. The nearest ones are Victoria, Green Park and Hyde Park Corner. You can also take a bus or a taxi to get there. Alternatively, you can rent a bike from one of the many docking stations around the city and cycle to the palace.
- Tours: You can explore the palace on your own with an audio guide, which is included in your ticket price. The audio guide provides commentary and stories about the history and significance of the palace and its rooms. You can also join a guided tour, which is led by an expert guide who will share more insights and anecdotes about the palace and its inhabitants. Guided tours are available in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian and Mandarin. They last for about two hours and cost an extra £10 per person.
- List of prohibitions: For security and conservation reasons, you are not allowed to bring any large bags, backpacks, suitcases or umbrellas into the palace. You can leave them at the cloakroom near the ticket office for a small fee. You are also not allowed to take photos or videos inside the palace, except in designated areas such as the garden. You must turn off your mobile phones and other electronic devices while inside the palace. Smoking, eating and drinking are also prohibited inside the palace.
- List of what to see: The palace has 19 state rooms that are open to the public during the summer opening. These rooms are lavishly decorated and furnished with priceless artworks and treasures from the royal collection. Some of the highlights include:
- The Grand Staircase: This is where you enter the palace after passing through security. It is a magnificent staircase with a red carpet and a gilded balustrade. It leads to the Guard Room, where you can see some of the uniforms and weapons used by the royal guards.
- The Throne Room: This is where official ceremonies and receptions take place, such as investitures and royal weddings. It has two thrones for the Queen and her consort, which are covered with crimson velvet and gold embroidery. It also has a large painting of Queen Victoria’s coronation above the fireplace.
- The White Drawing Room: This is one of the most elegant rooms in the palace, where the Queen receives her guests before state banquets. It has a white and gold colour scheme and features a secret door behind a mirror that leads to the Queen’s private apartments.
- The Ballroom: This is the largest room in the palace, measuring 36 metres long and 18 metres high. It is used for state banquets, concerts and dances. It has a wooden floor, a vaulted ceiling and six crystal chandeliers. It also has a large organ that was installed for Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887.
- The Picture Gallery: This is where some of the finest paintings from the royal collection are displayed, including works by Rembrandt, Rubens, Van Dyck and Canaletto. The paintings are changed regularly according to different themes and seasons.
- The Garden: This is where you exit the palace after your tour. It is a beautiful oasis of greenery and flowers in the heart of London. It covers 39 acres and has more than 350 types of wildflowers, as well as a lake, a rose garden and a tennis court. You can also see some of the wildlife that lives in the garden, such as birds, squirrels and bees.
Number: There are many numbers associated with Buckingham Palace, such as:
- The number of rooms in total: 775
- The number of bedrooms: 52
- The number of bathrooms: 78
- The number of staff members: about 800
- The number of visitors per year: about 2.5 million