Our guide to visiting Buckingham Palace

Going hand-in-hand with the term ‘Great Britain’, Buckingham Palace is home to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and is undoubtedly one of the world’s most famous buildings.

Located in the very heart of London, despite being built as recently as 1703 (a fairly new structure in the context of this historic city!), Buckingham Palace is one of the English Capital’s most iconic landmarks. It is as grandiose as you would expect a royal palace to be consisting of no fewer than 775 rooms, which includes 52 principal bedrooms and 78 bathrooms! The most decadent are the 19 state rooms which entertain ceremonies, traditions or public visits. The Palace also has its own post office, cinema, swimming pool, doctor’s surgery and jeweller’s workshop!

The cultural importance of Buckingham Palace is unquestionable; the first resident of royalty was Queen Victoria and by tradition, the palace has housed the ruling monarch of Great Britain ever since. Whilst monarchs throughout the ages have appeared before the palace, in recent years the palace took centre stage when the newly married Prince William and Kate Middleton greeted the public from the palace balcony after their wedding in 2011 and the following year when Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her diamond jubilee with a year of festivals and garden parties at the palace.

A highlight of Buckingham Palace is watching the “changing of the guard” a long-standing tradition and display of classic English pomp and pageantry; watch as the Queen’s soldiers, uniformed in the traditional black trousers, red jacket with gold buttons and the famous bearskin hat carry out the ceremony with the marching “old guard” replaced by the new. This ceremony takes place from 10.45 am most days of the week and can and is not to be missed. Get to the palace gates early for a good spot from which to watch the ceremony.

Whilst offering an excellent photo opportunity year-round, perhaps the best time to visit Buckingham Palace is when the state rooms are open to the public during the Summer months of August and September. When visited you can expect to see what lies behind the elegant facade of this grandiose palace; explore the opulent and history-filled state rooms such as the Throne Room which contains the original, intricately designed thrones that Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip had made for their coronation.

Exploring other parts of the palace you’ll discover various public and selected private quarters which play host to a wealth of treasures and invaluable items belonging to the British Monarchy throughout the ages; these include a number of priceless antiques and unique artefacts.

The outside of the building is just as beautiful; surrounding Buckingham Palace are the elegant manicured gardens you’d expect from a royal residence including expansive lawns and carefully selected flowers to provide stunningly colourful gardens.  The grounds of the palace are regularly used in the summer months as the venue for charity events and garden parties attended by celebrities and lucky members of the public alike.

If you have even a passing interest in The Royal Family, British Monarchs past or present and the history, culture and heritage of London, England and Britain, then a stroll past Buckingham Palace is an absolute “must” for England vacation or London city break; you can enjoy a stay in London as part of any of our extended tours of Britain.

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