Places to Visit in London: Buckingham Palace

Updated On: February 17, 2022

Buckingham Palace

buckingham palace

If you know any little bit of information about the British Royal Family, then you must know their main London residence, Buckingham Palace. The majestic estate was built in 1703 for the Duke of Buckingham. Now it hosts many state occasions and royal visits from foreign dignitaries and officials.

If you’re planning to visit London any time soon, make sure to add Buckingham Palace to the top of your list. To make sure you have all the necessary details to make your visit enjoyable, keep on reading below.

The History of Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace was previously known as Buckingham House and remained in the private ownership of the Duke of Buckingham and his family for 150 years. In 1761, it was acquired by King George III and became a private residence for Queen Charlotte. Which transformed its name to The Queen’s House. Upon the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837, it was enlarged, and three additional wings were added to the building. From then on, Buckingham Palace became the London residence of the British monarch.

In modern times, Buckingham Palace did not escape the WWII attacks, since it was bombed a total of nine times. The most publicized of those attacks resulted in the destruction of the palace chapel in 1940. One of the bombs even fell in the palace while King George VI and Queen Elizabeth were in residence.

The Buildings and Gardens

Buckingham Palace has 775 rooms, including 19 Staterooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms. The front balcony of Buckingham Palace is one of the most famous in the world. The first recorded Royal balcony appearance took place in 1851. When Queen Victoria stepped onto it during celebrations for the opening of the Great Exhibition. Since then, Royal Balcony appearances have marked many occasions from The Queen’s annual official birthday celebrations to  Royal Weddings. As well as special events of national significance such as the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

The Buckingham Palace gardens are known as the “walled oasis in the middle of London” with over 350 different species of wildflowers. The finale of a visit is a walk along the south side of the garden with views over the famous lake.

Things to See in Buckingham Palace

The State Rooms

The State Rooms are only open to the public in the summer. Tourists get the chance to see the Palace’s 19 staterooms. They are beautifully furnished with treasures from the Royal Collection, including stunning works of art by Rembrandt, Rubens and Poussin.

The Grand Staircase

During your visit to the State Rooms, you enter by walking up the Grand Staircase, designed by John Nash. Which was inspired by his experience working in London theatres. The majestic staircase leads up to one of the most important rooms in the Palace.

Prince of Wales Exhibition

This year, the Palace tour will include an exhibition on the occasion of the 70th birthday of The Prince of Wales.

 The Picture Gallery

The Buckingham Palace Picture Gallery is a 47-metre room dedicated to the King’s picture collection. The paintings in the Picture Gallery are changed regularly, as The Queen lends many works of art to exhibitions around the UK and overseas. It is used for receptions hosted by The Queen and members of the Royal Family to recognize achievement in a particular walk of life or sector in the community.

The Ballroom

The Ballroom is the largest of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace. It was established in 1855, during the reign of Queen Victoria. Today, the Ballroom is strictly used for official purposes, such as State Banquets.

Prince Charles Audio Tour

Another perk of the Buckingham Palace tour is getting a free audio guide to the palace voiced by none other than HRH The Prince of Wales (Prince Charles), walking you through all 19 State Rooms in addition to the annual special exhibition.

The Throne Room

The stunning Throne Room at Buckingham Palace is naturally a favourite among visitors. The Room is used for ceremonial receptions and also doubles as a ballroom when necessary. It has also been used for some famous royal wedding photos, including the royal weddings of Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth) and The Duke of Edinburgh in 1947. As well as the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011.

The Gardens

The Buckingham Palace gardens are spread out over 39 acres and contain more than 350 different types of wildflowers, as well as a large lake. The Queen is known to throw her annual Garden parties there. The tour will also include a visit to the tennis courts where King George VI and Fred Perry played in the 1930s, the stunning herbaceous border, a wisteria-clad Summer House, the Rose Garden and the huge Waterloo Vase.

Garden Cafe and Garden Shop

Although it may hard to believe but, yes, Buckingham Palace does have a café where visitors ending their tours can order light refreshments and sandwiches, and they can also find a wide collection of gifts and souvenirs to remember their visit by.

Changing of the Guard

A particularly popular ceremony among visitors and tourists is the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, also known as ‘Guard Mounting’, where The Queen’s Guard hands over the responsibility of protecting Buckingham Palace and St. James’s Palace to the New Guard. The ceremony usually takes place at 11:00 am on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. And daily in the summertime, so be sure to schedule your visit accordingly.

Tickets and Opening Times

Here are more details about the ticket prices and opening times for Buckingham Palace. So make sure to prepare ahead for your trip in order to guarantee an enjoyable time at one of the most well-known landmarks in the world.

Adult Tickets: £23.00

Over 60/Student (with valid ID): £21.00

Children’s Tickets (under 17): £13.00

Children (under 5): Admitted for Free

The Palace is open to the public in the Summer months from Saturday, 21 July 2018 until Sunday, 30 September 2018.

Buckingham Palace has a long and rich history. Its architecture and vast gardens make it a perfect place to visit for out of towners or foreigners passing through London. Be sure to let us know of your experience there and say hi to the Royal Family for us as well! 😉

If you liked this blog post then make sure you check out some of our other blogs; Royal Courts of Justice, Kensington Gardens, Kensington Palace, St. James Park London, Temple Church, Trafalgar Square, Royal Albert Hall, Tate Modern, Hay’s Galleria, Westminster Abbey.