Enjoying an imposing location in the centre of London, opposite St James’s Park, Buckingham Palace, the London home of HM The Queen, requires little introduction and is hugely popular with tourists.
Work began on the existing building in 1702, although it was originally a large townhouse built for the Duke of Buckingham and known as Buckingham House.
King George III acquired the residence in 1762 and the following 75 years saw the Palace take shape with the creation of three wings around the central courtyard. It was not until 1837 on the accession of his granddaughter, Queen Victoria, that Buckingham Palace became the official London residence of the British Royal Family.
The Palace now has a total of 52 bedrooms, 78 bathrooms, 92 offices, 188 staff bedrooms and 19 State Rooms together with a 42-acre garden, which is the largest private garden in London.
Changing of the Guard
To witness some royal pageantry dating back centuries plan your visit to incorporate the Changing of the Guard ceremony, which takes place daily at 11:30 from April to July and on alternate days at other times of the year. The new guards march from nearby Wellington Barracks accompanied by a band before the ceremony on the forecourt of the Palace takes place.
The State Rooms
The 19 State Rooms of the Palace, including the Throne Room and the Picture Gallery, are only open to the public during August and September, when HM The Queen moves to her Scottish residence. These are the working rooms of the Palace and are used extensively by the Royal Family to entertain their guests during state visits and ceremonial occasions. The rooms house treasures including English and French furniture, paintings by Rembrandt and Rubens and sculptures by Canaletto.
Open: Summer, daily 09:45-18:00
The Royal Mews
From late March to late September the Royal Mews are open to the public and provide an opportunity to experience one of the finest working stables in the world along with a collection of royal carriages and motor cars. Open:
Spring & Autumn, daily except Fridays 11:00-16:00 (last admission 15:15)
Summer, open daily 10:00-17:00 (last admission 16:15)
The Queen’s Gallery
The recently refurbished and expanded Queen’s Gallery is open to the public throughout the year. It displays a changing exhibition of selected works from the Royal Collection, which covers five centuries’ worth of art collecting and treasures, now held in trust by the Queen for the nation.
Open: Daily 10:00-17:30 (last admission 16:30)