Buckingham Palace: Visiting the Queen's Apartments

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Buckingham Palace: Visiting the Queen's Apartments

Buckingham Palace is one of the most famous buildings in the world where thousands of tourists come to witness the famous Changing of the Guard.

From July to October, Buckingham Palace opens its doors to the public who can visit the State Rooms which are the apartments where the royal family receives its guests during official ceremonies. The unique opportunity to discover the living environment of the royal family and the history of the palace.

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History of Buckingham Palace

The Palace owes its name to the Duke of Buckingham who built a mansion in 1703, known as Buckingham House.

Around 1826, George IV asks the architect John Nash to make Buckingham the palace in which he will receive his court and give his official ceremonies.

In 1837, Buckingham Palace became the official residence of the British monarchy upon the accession to the throne of Queen Victoria

Today the queen resides and works in the palace in which the state apartments used by other members of the royal family are located for official functions, ceremonies or other receptions.

Since the fire of Windsor Castle in 1992, the queen decided to open Buckingham Palace to the public in order to finance the reconstruction of the castle. It is during the summer, when the Queen stays in Scotland that the palace is open to the public.

In all, the palace has 775 rooms, including 19 State Rooms, 52 Royal Family and guest rooms, 188 staff rooms and 78 bathrooms.

The visit of the 19 State Rooms or the Queen's apartment

The visit to the official residence of the Queen is the unique opportunity to admire the most beautiful English and French furniture, a remarkable collection of Sèvres porcelain as well as works of art by great masters such as Rembrandt, Poussin or Rubens.

I will not present the 19 State Rooms because it will be tedious and alter the effect of surprise. Rather, here are the highlights of the visit not to be missed!

The visit begins with The Grand Staircaise which is a double staircase in bronze and Carrara marble designed in the XNUMXth century by the architect John Nash.

The ballroom or ballroom is used for official state dinners. It was here that US President Barrack Obama was received in May 2011.

White Drawing Room: Royal reception room for the Queen and members of the Royal Family on official occasions

Symbol of the monarchy, the throne room is the room most awaited by visitors. It is here that the Queen receives during the investiture ceremonies.

It was in this room that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge posed on April 29, 2011 for their official wedding photos.

Temporary exhibitions

Each year Buckingham Palace presents a temporary exhibition with a different theme. In 2016, The Queen's Wardrobe's Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style exhibition featured the Queen's wardrobe worn throughout her reign and crafted by British designers.

For 2017, Royal Gifts presents the official gifts given to Her Majesty over the past 65 years.

Buckingham Palace Gardens

The visit to the palace ends with a stroll through the queen's private gardens, which contain remarkable flora and fauna. 350 species of wild flowers, and many species of birds and butterflies inhabit this 160 hectare habitat.

Useful information

When you arrive, look at the flag above the palace that is not at half mast. If it floats, then the Queen is present!

For security reasons, access to the palace is subject to a security check similar to that of airports.

Tours start every day at fixed times. It is recommended to arrive at the palace 15 minutes before the time indicated on the ticket.

Visiting time of the Palace varies between 2h and 2h30, where photographs inside the State Rooms are strictly prohibited.

Audio guides in French are available free of charge at reception. Unfortunately, only audio guides in English are available for children.

The tour is accessible to people with disabilities using a wheelchair.

Should you book your visit to Buckingham Palace?

Booking the visit is essential and even compulsory. As the palace is only open a few months a year, visitors from all over the world come to discover the Queen's apartments.

A little advice, anticipate and book your visit several days in advance directly on the website of the tourist office of Great Britain or on the GetYourGuide website.

You will be able to choose the day and time of your visit.

If you wish, you can extend your visit with an afternoon tea (tasting of British tea and pastries) in the famous Grosvenor Hotel located next to the palace.

Dates and opening times to visit Buckingham Palace in 2020

For 2020 Buckingham Palace will be open to the public from Saturday July 18, 2020 to Sunday September 27, 2020

Buckingham Palace tour price

The price of the ticket includes a visit to the 19 State Rooms, the temporary exhibition and the gardens.

Adult : 31.50 €
Child (5-16 years): € 17
Student / Senior : 28 €

Buckingham Palace is free for children less than 5 years old.

Where is Buckingham Palace located?

Metro bus Green Park, Hyde Park Corner, Victoria11, 211, 239, C1, C10


Just like the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace is one of the emblematic sites of London whose visit reveals the history and traditions of the British monarchy.
The Queen's Apartments are only open to the public for a few weeks a year, during which thousands of tourists from all over the world come to discover the living environment of the royal family.

  Book on Visit Britain BOOK ON GETYOURGUIDE  

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