7 Ways to Visit Buckingham Palace in LondonFebruary 25, 2018
There has been a fascination with Buckingham Palace since Queen Victoria made it her residence in 1837. But not until the reign of the current Queen were the doors opened for public view in 1993 — a step towards breaking down perceived barriers. What a great experience to see inside where the reigning monarch of the UK resides and conducts state business. The opportunities to tour the rooms of the Palace are limited, and many of the London Connection guests plan their travel around the season the Palace is open from 21 July to 30 September in 2018.
Whether you are there during the summer months or not, here are some of the ways you can experience Buckingham Palace:
- Changing the Guard
- The State Rooms
- State Rooms and Gardens Highlights Tour
- The Royal Mews
- The Queen’s Gallery
- Royal Day Out
- Exclusive Guided Tours
All tours include a 1 year pass, if you ask for your ticket to be used as a donation when purchased. That way, you can return any time in the next year for free! SO BE SURE TO ASK. Discount prices are also available for seniors, families, and for groups of 15 or more. Children under 5 are FREE.
1. Changing the Guard
This regal event is held daily in the summer, and weather permitting on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday the rest of the year. It begins at 10:30 am near Clarence House where Charles, Prince of Wales resides. After inspections, the guards, horses, and musicians make their way along Marlborough Road up the mall. Crowds will be waiting with their cameras ready as the procession arrives at the palace at approximately 11:00. It is a colorful display of precision and enjoyed by first-time visitors and other royal followers alike. Look at the flagpole, and if the Queen’s Royal Standard is flying, she is in residence. Get there ahead of time if you want the perfect spot; it will end about 11:30 am. More info on the official website at: Changing the Guard.
2. The State Rooms Tour
The ballroom set for a banquet
There is a portion of the palace where visitors are invited and public events take place. Investitures where knighthood is conferred (yes, this still happens when they are dubbed with a sword like in the movies), state banquets, and other ceremonies and functions are held in the state rooms.
While the Queen goes to Balmoral for the summer months, 19 of these state rooms are open to the public. They include the Banquet Room, the White Drawing Room, the Grand Staircase, the Picture Gallery, and the Throne Room. In 2018, an exhibition celebrating Charles, The Prince of Wales 70th birthday will also be included in the tour. Wear comfortable walking shoes — the tour lasts about 2 hours.
- Adult tickets are £24
- 21 July to 30 September, 2018 plus selected dates Dec – May
- First tour is 9:30 am, last tour begins 5:15 pm
- More info and buy tickets here: The State Rooms
3. The State Rooms and Gardens Highlights
This tour includes all the state rooms, but has an additional 45 minute tour of the gardens. It costs a little more, but it well worth it if you are interested in flowers and gardens. Adult price is £33 and includes the state rooms AND the gardens — with senior, family, and group rates available.
4. The Royal Mews
Perhaps you will be in London during a time the Palace is not open for tours. All is not lost! The Royal Mews is open February to November each year. You can still get your chance to feel a bit of how the royals live by seeing how they get around. From the horse drawn Golden Coach commissioned by George III in 1762 to the newest Diamond Jubilee Coach built in 2014, there is splendor to these gilded carriages. You will also glimpse some of the horses used by the Royal Family. It costs £11 for adults, with family rates available. Click for tickets and more info here: Royal Mews
5. The Queen’s Gallery
Another option during times the Palace is closed is the Queen’s Gallery where many precious collections of visual art are displayed. You could spend hours seeing the rare furniture, masterpiece paintings, and other artifacts. There are activities for children, and musical performances throughout each month. The exhibitions change a few times each year, so even if you have been before, you will want to visit again. Check here for more info and tickets: Queen’s Gallery
6. Royal Day Out
The Grand Staircase in Buckingham Palace
If you are a big fan of the Royal Family, this may be the perfect option for you. You will see the 19 State Rooms, the Queen’s Gallery with her fabulous collection of artwork, AND the Royal Mews with all the coaches and vehicles. Of course, you will spend at about 5 hours and have the time of your life!
- Adult ticket £42.30
- 21 July- 30 September
- Click here for more info: Royal Day Out
7. Exclusive Guided Tours
Details of the dome above the Grand Staircase
If you will be in London any other time than 21 July through 30 September, don’t miss out! From time to time, there are other special events at the Palace Since these happen throughout the rest of the year, it is a good idea to check the website : Royal Collection Trust on occasion, for opportunities NOT in the summer. One is currently listed:
Exclusive Evening Tours from 31 March 2018 to 17 May 2018. The ticket price is £80 per person, and allows re-admission for one year.
The Palace is Family Friendly
Children Posing at the Family Pavilion
Children under 5 are admitted FREE to the Palace. Now that is family-friendly! The state rooms at Buckingham Palace are an amazing site for all ages. They have a Family Pavilion along with other activities and garden trails to make the experience enjoyable for families with young children.Family tickets are available at a reduced rate. London Connection also has vacation apartments that are spacious, and perfect for families and groups. Be sure to book well ahead, as they are in high demand.
Accommodations Near Buckingham Palace
Bedroom in 1-319 Clarges
Because we have been personally traveled many times to London and visited the sites, we have acquired vacation apartments near the most visited landmarks. These elegant flats are comfortable and can make all the difference in your London experience. We have many to choose from, but have listed here a variety that are near the palace.
The Clarges properties have the same floor plan with 1 bedroom and 1.5 bathrooms. A private lift and air conditioning makes these a perfect summer retreat.They each have unique decor and are a short walk through Green Park to the palace. These flats work well for groups that want their privacy, but still want to be near each other.
2-23 Palace Street is immediately next to the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace
- 1-14 Hertford Street: also just through the park. 1 bedroom and 1.5 bathrooms
- 2-167 Pall Mall with 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom and 3 beds
- 2-215 Eaton Mews: perfect for 2 couples or a family up to 6 persons
- 2-23 Palace Street has 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and 2-3 beds
- 3-104 Godfrey Street with 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and 5 beds
- 4-1 Sloane Gardens Mews has 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and up to 5 beds
Whenever you choose to visit London, be sure and put Buckingham Palace on your itinerary. Whether you spend an hour in the morning watching the guards and musicians outside, or get the chance to tour inside, it is an amazing site to see. DON’T MISS IT!