The Royal Mews are the stables of the royal family where the world's finest collection of coaches can be found. Still in operation, they are regularly used for ceremonies, by the Queen and members of her family.
A visit to the stables is the unique opportunity to get up close and personal with a coach of the royal family and to discover a tradition of the British monarchy.
Presentation of Royal Mews
Originally based in Charing Cross during the reign of Richard II between the 1534th and XNUMXth centuries, Royal Mews were destroyed by fire in XNUMX and then rebuilt.
In 1762, King George III acquired Buckingham House and commissioned the architect Sir William Chambers to create a riding school there. However, the main royal stables housing the ceremonial carriages and their horses remain at the Charing Cross site.
It was from the reign of George IV that the royal stables were transferred to the gardens of the Buckingham Palace when the king commissioned architect John Nash to build the palace in 1825.
Even today, Queen Elizabeth II is very attached to this establishment. Indeed, she herself chooses the horses as of the ordering of the carriages during the ceremonies.
About thirty horses are boarders at Royal Mews. There are more particularly 2 breeds namely the Windsor Gray and the Cleveland Bay.
The former pull the carriage of the queen, members of the royal family and their guests. Gray in color and with a circumference of 1m, the Windsor Gray are chosen for their constant temperament and endurance.
The second, the Cleveland Bay are the oldest English breed of horses. Bay-brown in color, they pull the coaches of the High Commissioners and Ambassadors who present their credentials to the Queen. These are also the same horses who participate in the ceremony Trooping the Colour, the celebration of the Queen's birthday.
Discover the coaches of the royal family at Royal Mews
Queen Alexandra's Coach
Built in 1865, this coach is currently used to transport the Crown Jewels to the Palace of Westminster for the annual opening of Parliament.
Queen Elisabeth II Diamond Jubilee Coach
Built in 1988 in Australia to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II's 80th birthday, The Diamond Jubilee State Coach was finally inaugurated for the official opening of the Parlement on June 4, 2014. It is currently Royal Mews' newest coach in use on State Visits.
This coach derives its originality from its atypical construction made from materials from historic buildings, ships and other British artefacts. Indeed, the handrails of the seats come from the Royal Yacht Britannia and the interior panels from the Welsh Castle of Caernarfon.
Observe the golden crown located above the car. It was carved from the oak of the ship HMS Victory, Lord Nelson's flagship. In addition, this sculpture contains a camera making it possible to film the movements.
Finally, beyond its traditional and historical aspect, this coach remains modern and comfortable. It is indeed equipped with electric windows, heating and hydraulic stabilizers.
Gold State Coach: the Golden State Coach
Completely covered with 22k gold leaf, Gold State Coach is Royal Mews most dazzling coach. Its spectacular dimensions - 7 meters long and 3,60 meters high and weighing more than 4 tons - require the presence of 8 horses to move ever faster than walking speed.
This coach was commissioned by George III in 1760, to celebrate his coronation and his marriage to Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz in 1761. However, faced with the complexity of the project, it was first used in 1762 at the occasion of the official opening of Parliament.
Since George IV, Gold State Coach has been used for the coronation of all British monarchs as well as for the Silver and Gold Jubilees of Queen Elisabeth II.
Royal Mews is also home to the official cars used by the Royal Family. Above is the 420 Jaguar Daimler DS1992, the official vehicle of the Queen Mother.
Visit of the stables
During the visit of the stables, you can also admire the magnificent horses which perform the official functions. The boxes are superb and spotlessly clean!
Royal Mews for children
The museum regularly organizes visits for children:
- On the first Friday of each month from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Royal Mews organizes a tour for children under 5 years old
- The last Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. to 00 p.m. Visit on the theme of art, horses and the history of Royal Mews.
- Every Saturday and Sunday at 13:30 p.m. from April to October: special family visits
In addition, during the visit children can try on valet costumes and learn to harness a horse.
A room is reserved for children where they can draw, color and answer puzzles.
All information on the museum website
- The entrance to the royal stables includes an audio guide in French retracing the history and traditions of the place.
- Average duration of the visit about 1 hour
- Free guided tours in English provided by guards. Departures every hour between 10 a.m. and 00 p.m. from March to October. Information at the entrance.
- Strollers allowed
Where to buy tickets to visit Royal Mews?
You can book the tour of the stables, on the website of the British Tourist Office or on the site GetYourGuide.
Royal Mews is free for children less than 5 years old.
This tour is also included with the London Pass
What are the opening hours of Royal Mews?
Open from February to November from 10 a.m. to 00 p.m.
Adjustable velcro closure :
From December 1, 2019 to January 31, 2020
Where is Royal Mews located?
Address : Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 0QH