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How To Visit Buckingham Palace In 2024: Tickets, Hours, Tours, And More

Eddie Saint-Jean Last Updated: January 18, 2024

Don’t just stand outside and look for the full-mast flag that means the monarch is home — go in! Buckingham Palace is the British Royal Family’s official residence and even you can visit. That said, it can be tricky and you’ll need to plan ahead. To help you out, I’ve put together this guide with info on tickets, tours, what to see, and the palace’s history. Here’s how to visit Buckingham Palace.

Pro Tip:  Planning what to do on your trip to London? Bookmark this post in your browser so you can easily find it when you’re in the city. Check out our  guide to London  for more planning resources, our best Buckingham Palace tours  for a memorable trip, and the top things to do in London .

Visiting Buckingham Palace: What We’ll Cover

Witnessing the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace is one of the most iconic things you can do in London—after visiting the palace itself, of course.

As the official London residence of the British monarch since 1837, it is replete with all the opulence you would expect of kings and queens. If it’s on your bucket list, you’ll find out what you need to know about how to visit Buckingham Palace in this guide. Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • Opening hours and tickets
  • How much time to budget for your visit
  • What to see in Buckingham Palace
  • Guided tour options
  • Facts and history of Buckingham Palace
  • Places to eat nearby

The Royal Palaces of LONDON

Not ready to book a tour? Find out if London tours are worth it .

Buckingham Palace Opening Hours and Tickets

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Opening Hours:

Visitors have access to the Buckingham Palace State Rooms and the Palace Garden for several weeks throughout the year. But for obvious security reasons, these can only be palace guided tours. Available dates vary based on the tours that the palace offers, but here’s what’s happening in 2023.

Palace-guided tours: Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from November to May. Tours usually start at 4:00 pm on Fridays, and 11:00 am through 2:30 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Summer tickets: July 14 – September 24, with State Rooms closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Tickets have a timed entry so you’ll want to book ahead , but the palace is open from 9:30 am to the last admission at 5:15 in July and August, and 4:15 in September.

The Changing of the Guard ceremony takes place outside the palace building but within its gates. The public can view this ceremony without a ticket around 10:40 to 11:00 am every day. This time is not exact and is also dependent on weather. The ceremony only happens everyday in June/July and on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays for the rest of the year.

Tickets and Tours:

Tickets must be booked online or booked here for a guided tour that includes the area around Buckingham Palace.

Palace-guided tours in the winter and spring:

Adults: £90 Family guided tour: ages 5-17 is £49.50, under 5 is free

Summer Buckingham Palace tickets if purchased in advance:

Adults: £30 Young adults (18-24): £19.50 Child (5-17): £16.50 Disabled: £16.50 Under 5: Free Families: automatic discount for 1 adult and 2 children or up to 2 adults and 4 children

Pro Tip: Your tickets can be validated for up to a year if you ask a Warden to stamp it before leaving!

Address: Buckingham Palace

Not ready to book a tour? Check out our article on the best London tours to take and why .

How Long To Spend at Buckingham Palace

Short Answer: 2.5 hours for the State Rooms or 4.5 hours for the Royal Day Out

There are 19 State Rooms (the palace has a total of 775 rooms) so a meaningful visit will take a few hours. You’ll have access to several of the most ornately decorated rooms with treasures from the Royal Collection, paintings by old master artists, expensive sculptures, and elegant English and French furniture.

Also, you get to see the opulent and historic Throne Room. You might agree as I do that the White Drawing Room is even grander than the Throne Room. Find out for yourself!

What To See In Buckingham Palace

white drawing room at buckingham palace

On your visit to the royal residence, make sure you see these incredible rooms and sights. There’s a lot of history and opulence to take in as you see Buckingham Palace. For a more detailed list with history, check out our article on the top things to see at the palace.

  • The Changing Of The Guard
  • The Throne Room
  • The Queen’s Gallery
  • The White Drawing Room 
  • The Palace Garden
  • Treasures Of The Palace
  • The Ballroom
  • The Gold State Coach
  • The Diamond Jubilee State Coach
  • The Grand Staircase

Buckingham Palace Tour Options

Long line of people queueing up outside to visit buckingham palace

Guided tours to see Buckingham Palace, the Changing of the Guard, and other important areas around this royal area are the best way to get to know this historic site. We offer several top-rated tours that you can choose to make your vacation in London the best ever.

The Buckingham Palace Royalty Tour (2.5 hours)

people posing in front of buckingham palace

Anyone can take an audio-guided tour, but if you book this tour, you get the special attention of a tour guide who knows incredible stories you won’t hear on that audio guide. Plus, you’ll first explore the serene St. James Park where you’ll hear about it’s transformation from a swampland to a deer park and a quiet oasis.

You’ll feel like you know the royals even better after exploring the Mall where official processionals and the Changing of the Guard have happened for centuries. Rest assured that your guide will get you to the right door at Buckingham Palace after entertaining you with stories of what you’ll see inside.

See tour itinerary, price, and description

London Walking Tour with Westminster Abbey and Changing of the Guard (3 hours)

people and guide standing in Westminster abbey

Clients love our skip-the-line access to the famous Westminster Abbey where they can enjoy a few minutes of quiet time with their guide in the nave of the abbey before the public enters.

There’s more to see at Westminster than you think, so having a knowledgeable guide to lead you through the Quire, Poet’s Corner, and more, is extremely helpful. And if the Changing of the Guard happens on the day of your tour, they’ll be sure to help you see it from several vantage points.

London in a Day Tour with Westminster Abbey and Tower of London (7 hours)

buckingham palace visit reddit

Our top-selling London tour is a must-do when you’re traveling to the heart of the United Kingdom. Your local guides are highly qualified and can share an unreal amount of cool facts and stories about London’s iconic sites and history. Starting at Westminster Abbey, you’ll be amazed at just how much of London you can see on foot and on a Thames river cruise.

Your skip-the-line tickets help you maximize your time, and your guides know where the best spots to see the Changing of the Guard are found. Your final stop at the Tower of London brings London’s more grisly history to life. It’s the perfect place to end your busy day tour of London!

Not ready to book a tour? Find out if sightseeing tours in London are worth it .

Buckingham Palace Facts and History 

  • The palace has a total of 775 rooms, 19 of which are state rooms open to the public. 
  • There have been many properties on the site. From 1698, however, it was known as Buckingham House and was the home of the Duke of Buckingham, where it gets its name.
  • In 1761, it became known as the Queen’s House after George III bought it for his wife Queen Charlotte.
  • It became a palace for the first time in the 1820s when George IV had it lavishly restructured fit for a king.
  • The royal family made it their official residence in 1837, and Queen Victoria was the first royal to officially live there as head of state.
  • The palace entertains 50,000 invited guests a year. Also, it averages 578,000 paid visitors a year.
  • The Changing of the Guard ceremony happens daily at 10.45 am. King Henry VII made them the official Royal Body Guard 500 years ago. 
  • During World War II, the palace was repeatedly targeted but survived nine bombing raids. The Royal Family refused to move out despite concerns for their safety.
  • The palace is heavily protected but in 1982 an intruder called Michael Fagan broke into the Queen’s bedroom while she was sleeping. When she awoke, they had a brief chat before she fled the room and raised the alarm.

Places To Eat Nearby

The good news is your dining options are plentiful, but you’ll need to choose wisely. You can dine like royalty on Buckingham Palace Road, very close to the palace. Or, on the same stretch of road, there are sandwich bars with a more laid-back atmosphere and casual dining.

Take your pick of traditional British fare or more exotic cuisines. Here are a few suggestions, but if you’d like more options, also check out our guide to the best restaurants near Buckingham Palace . 

The Laughing Halibut : £ | Takeaway —Grab some old-school fish and chips to take away or take a seat inside. It’s a great place for a quick lunch with good reviews.

Bon Gusto : ££ | Italian Cuisine —Fancy a change from British grub? Try this Italian restaurant with a selection of meat, seafood, and pasta dishes. There are also soups and Mediterranean salads.  

The English Grill : ££££ | Traditional British Fare —This restaurant promises you’ll dine like royalty. Indeed, it is ornately decorated with regal furniture and furnishings. You can enjoy traditional afternoon tea in a garden overlooking the Royal Mews. Also, the range of steak, salad, and dessert dishes (to name a few) are product-sourced from the same Royal suppliers as Buckingham Palace.

buckingham palace visit reddit

Find the best places to stay

Where To Stay in London

Deciding where to stay at a great hotel in London can take some effort since it’s a massive city. Make your decision easier with our list of the best neighborhoods and hotels in London.

Buckingham Palace

Reader Interactions

Comments (10).

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June 30, 2022

We Want to visit inside Buckingham Palace either on 13th or 14th July. Can you help us tour and visit it?

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July 5, 2022

We don’t currently offer Buckingham Palace tours, but we’d love to take you around London to see the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, plus even more great locations on our London in a Day tour and Westminster Abbey tour .

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July 1, 2022

Will we be able to turn up at Buckingham Palace and buy a ticket on the day? Shanthi

[email protected]

Not necessarily. Since the royal family uses Buckingham Palace, schedules and public access are subject to changes at short notice. Additionally, tours are not available every day. It’s best to plan ahead and purchase tickets before you arrive to have the best chance of entering the palace.

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September 19, 2022

It’s my 70th birthday august 21 2023 and I would like to bring my children/grandchildren to visit Buckingham Palace. There will be 2 x Oaps, 3 adults, 1 child aged 9 and 1 aged 4. What would you recommend and at what cost? Thank you for your help Best wishes

September 21, 2022

What a fun trip! You can check their website for tickets next season. The palace is only open for 10 weeks in the summer, and it’s closed early this year due to the queen’s death. You can also book a trip out to Windsor Castle and Stonehenge for fun day trip to another royal residence.

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In your ‘blurb’ “It became a palace for the first time in the 1820s when George VI had it lavishly restructured to be fit for a king.” This is incorrect. In actual fact it was ‘King George IV’ who died in 1830 King George VI was Queen Elizabeth II father and died in 1952

Thanks for letting us know about that typo! It makes a difference of generations!

' data-src=

I purchased four Buckingham Palace tour tickets for Thursday, September 29. I do have my confirmation email, but I don’t have the actual ticket email. If I would email my customer and order numbers to an office or a person, is there some way I could please get the email with the actual tickets.

Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time and assistance with this matter.

You’ll need to check with the company from whom you purchased your ticket as they’ll have the accurate information.

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Visiting Buckingham Palace: 10 Best Things to See & Do

Written by Bryan Dearsley Updated Dec 28, 2023 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

When you think of Britain, and in particular England, many images will pop into your head. For visitors to London from across the globe, royalty is often the first thing they think of when planning their England travel itinerary. And nothing says "Royal Family" quite as loudly a visit to Buckingham Palace.

The official London residence of the Royal Family since Queen Victoria's accession in 1837, Buckingham Palace was originally built for the Duke of Buckingham, and was purchased by George III in 1762. Known affectionately to Londoners as "Buck House," it was later enlarged by George IV's court architect, John Nash, in 1825.

The east wing was added in 1846, and in 1913, when George V was king, the east front was given its present Neoclassical look.

Buckingham Palace

To this day, when the sovereign is in residence, the Royal Standard flies over the palace, and units of the Guards Division, dressed in full uniform, mount a guard. On special occasions, such as those usually spectacular royal weddings, the sovereign appears with members of the Royal Family on the central balcony for a friendly wave and a dose of adulation from the crowds.

Tourists today are able to visit Buckingham palace and explore many areas of the palace complex, including areas that were once considered for "royal eyes" and their staff only. From sumptuously furnished state rooms to wonderful works of art, the public now has greater access to Buckingham Palace than at any other time in history.

To help you make the most of your visit to this royal household, be sure to read through our list of the top things to see and do in Buckingham Palace and its vicinity.

1. Experience the Colorful Pageantry of the Changing of the Guard Ceremony

2. visit the royal state rooms, 3. explore the royal mews, 4. view the rare artworks at the queen's gallery, 5. take a tour of clarence house, 6. take a stroll through green park, 7. the garden at buckingham palace, 8. explore the household cavalry museum, 9. the victoria monument, 10. visit the guards museum, tips and tours: how to make the most of your visit to buckingham palace.

Changing of the Guard

The historic Changing of the Queen's Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace has been a treasured London tradition since 1660. Otherwise known as "Guard mounting," this must-see spectacle begins when a troop of the Queen's Life Guard rides from their Hyde Park Barracks and past Buckingham Palace to change the guard at Horse Guards.

This must-see display of pageantry is widely regarded as one of the top free things to do in London. Consequently, things do get very crowded around Buckingham Palace as pedestrians make their way through Green Park and crowd the sidewalks around Memorial Gardens and the Victoria Monument. So try to arrive a little early to ensure a good view of the ceremony.

Changing of the Guard

This colorful spectacle starts daily at 11:30am from April to July, and on alternate days thereafter. While the ceremony lasts approximately 40 minutes, you can drag the excitement out a little longer and follow the "relieved" guards as they march smartly back to their barracks.

Official Site: https://www.rct.uk/visit/buckingham-palace

Exterior view of Buckingham Palace's State Rooms

For eight weeks in the summer of 1993, Buckingham Palace's State Rooms were opened to the public for the very first time. The proceeds of this landmark event were devoted to the restoration of Windsor Castle , parts of which were severely damaged by a tragic fire the previous year.

Following the success of the venture, the State Rooms are now part of a superb tour that features many excellent pieces from the Royal Collection, including paintings by Van Dyck and Canaletto, sculptures by Canova, as well as rare porcelain and fine period furniture. Your tour also includes a look inside the Throne Room, the Music Room, the Picture Gallery, and the spectacular White Drawing Room.

The popular tours do book early, and are limited to the 10 weeks each summer between July and October that the Queen is away in Balmoral in the Scottish Highlands .

Official site: www.royalcollection.org.uk/visit/the-state-rooms-buckingham-palace/plan-your-visit

The Royal Mews

In the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace, you can see a fascinating array of state coaches and carriages. Some are still used by British monarchs on special occasions, such as weddings and funerals.

The most impressive of the coaches on display is the elaborate Gold State Coach . Built for George III in 1762, it has been used for every coronation since 1821. This spectacular Royal carriage is so heavy that it takes eight horses to pull it. The horses, including the famous Windsor Greys, are also stabled in the Mews.

Other items in the collection are the Australian State Coach, a gift from the people of Australia in 1988 and which the monarch drives to the state opening of Parliament; and the Glass Coach, acquired by George V in 1910 and used principally for royal weddings. A number of Rolls Royce limousines , including an extremely rare Phantom VI, along with models from Bentley and Jaguar, are also on display.

Between May and October, interesting free 45-minute guided tours are included with admission to the Royal Mews, led hourly by Wardens in their navy and red livery. These interesting tours explain the responsibilities of the mews staff and describe how royal travel is arranged for special events. Other fun things to do include dressing up and sitting in one of the royal carriages.

Be sure to check the Royal Mews's official website for details of closures or any carriages, such as the Gold State Coach, being in use elsewhere.

Address: Buckingham Palace Road, London, England

Official site: www.royalcollection.org.uk/visit/royalmews

The Queen's Gallery

The Queen's Gallery is an excellent public art gallery that occupies part of the west front of Buckingham Palace. It houses varying exhibitions of up to 450 works from the extensive Royal Collection at any given time.

Located on the site of a former chapel, the gallery has been extensively restored and expanded and is a superb place to view some of Britain's most important royal art collections. Free multimedia tours are available. A great shop is also located on the premises.

Address: Buckingham Palace, London, England

Official site: www.royalcollection.org.uk/visit/the-queens-gallery-buckingham-palace

Clarence House

The official London residence of the Prince of Wales, the superbly renovated Clarence House, just behind the Palace, has been opened to the public for tours only during the month of August. These interesting tours last an hour, and you'll see the formal gardens and five ground-floor rooms used by the Prince for official engagements: The Lancaster Room, The Morning Room, The Library, The Dining Room, and The Garden Room.

Designed. by John Nash, the building was completed in 1827 and today houses much of the Queen's art collection , including paintings by 20th-century artists such as John Piper, Graham Sutherland, and Augustus John. The house also displays some of her porcelain and silver collection. A souvenir and gift shop is located on-site.

Official site: www.royal.uk/royal-residences-clarence-house

Green Park

Located directly across from Buckingham Palace, Green Park was once part of the palace gardens and was a favorite retreat of Charles II. The park remained enclosed and restricted for Royal use until the 1700s, and was landscaped extensively in the 1800s.

Today, the 40-acre park, the smallest of Britain's Royal Parks, is only separated from the palace by a roadway and offers excellent views of the royal residence. Unlike most Royal Parks, it largely consists of woods and meadows, with notable features including Canada Gate, facing Buckingham Palace, and memorials, including the recently added Bomber Command Memorial.

Bomber Command Memorial

While there are no flowerbeds, the park offers up an amazing display of daffodils each spring, when some one million bulbs blossom.

Official site: www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/green-park

Royal lake and garden grounds of Buckingham Palace

More than 350 varieties of wildflowers and 200 tree varieties grow in the 39 acres of gardens behind Buckingham Palace. These surround a three-acre lake on whose shore Queen Elizabeth and her sister played as children.

Today, the Queen holds her famous Garden Parties on the lawns and stately promenades. Top attractions on a tour of the gardens are the beautiful floral border, the Rose Garden, the wildflower meadow, the Summer House, the giant Waterloo Vase, and the tennis courts where King George VI played.

Be aware, however, that these popular tours do sell out quickly, and are held only on select days between July and September. For a special treat, bring a picnic for you and your family to enjoy on the lawns of Buckingham Palace Gardens.

Official site: www.rct.uk/event/the-garden-at-buckingham-palace

Household Cavalry Museum

The Household Cavalry Museum explores the colorful history of the British Army's senior regiment from its creation in 1661. Along with displays of uniforms, standards, elegant horse fittings, awards, and musical instruments are audio-visuals and hands-on exhibits that will appeal to children.

Popular things to do include trying on real guards' helmets and regalia, and you can also watch through a glass wall as the guards prepare their horses in the stables. It's also possible to go outside to see the daily Guard Change at 10:50am (9:50 Sunday); the Guard Inspection at 4pm; or mounted sentry changes on the hour, from 10am to 4pm daily.

A well-stocked souvenir and gift shop is located on the premises.

Address: Horse Guards, Whitehall, London, England

Official site: www.householdcavalrymuseum.co.uk/

The Victoria Monument

Directly in front of Buckingham Palace is the large memorial to Queen Victoria. Designed by Sir Aston Webb, with sculpture by Sir Thomas Brock, it portrays the former queen surrounded by the allegorical figures of Victory, Endurance, Courage, Truth, Justice, Science, Art, and Agriculture.

Recently renovated, it offers up one of London's most popular photo settings, especially when framed with Buckingham Palace in the background.

The Guards Museum

This interesting museum presents the history of the five regiments of Foot Guards and includes uniforms, weapons, and memorabilia from more than 300 years. Other interesting displays include a chronology of the regimental uniforms. as well as artwork, weapons, and models.

Miniature and military collectors should visit the shop, The Guards Toy Soldier Centre , on the right as you enter through the main gates off Birdcage Walk. Guided tours and walks are available.

Address: Wellington Barracks, Birdcage Walk, London

Official site: www.theguardsmuseum.com

  • Tours of Buckingham Palace: You can combine a visit to the State Rooms with a guided walk through St. James Park and a prime view of the royal guards on a Buckingham Palace Tour Including Changing of the Guard Ceremony . The 2.5-hour tour includes an audio guide to the State Rooms. For an even more iconic London experience, the four-hour Buckingham Palace Tour Including Changing of the Guard Ceremony and Afternoon Tea finishes with an elegantly served traditional afternoon tea at a posh London hotel.
  • The Queen's Gallery and Royal Mews Tickets: Both are on a timed-ticket system, so purchase tickets first, then explore the parks and monuments while waiting. Be sure to have a staff member stamp your ticket for re-entry - it's good for a year, so you can break up your visits.
  • Kids: Activity bags are available free of charge, so be sure to ask for one when collecting your tickets. A kids' drawing and coloring room is available in the State Rooms.
  • Security: Expect airport-style security checks, and large bags and backpacks must be left in the cloakroom provided.
  • Getting to Buckingham Palace: The nearest tube stations are Victoria, Green Park, and Hyde Park Corner.

Address: Buckingham Palace Road, London

Official site: www.royal.uk

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Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace, the official residence of the British sovereign since Queen Victoria and her brood took up residence in 1837, has had a rather checkered career as a Royal residence. It was so unloved at one point that it was offered to the nation as a temporary House of Parliament. But today it's one of the most iconic attractions in all of the United Kingdom. Tourist experiences at Buckingham Palace can range from a casual viewing of the Changing of the Guards to a tour of the interior of the palatial complex. Here's what you need to know to plan your visit.

History of Buckingham Palace

In the early 17th century, during the reign of King James 1, son of Mary Queen of Scots, the land where Buckingham Palace and the Palace Garden now stands was a mulberry plantation for one of many doomed attempts to rear silkworms in Europe.

The land, now between Green Park and St. James's Park, already had a house on it when it was given to a nobleman in 1628. For the next 70 years, it passed from one noble resident to another until given to the Duke of Buckingham. He built a new house on the site and it became known as Buckingham House. 

The original Buckingham House cost £7,000 to build. A trifle when you consider that it is undergoing a £370 million, 10-year-long "essential" refurbishment that began in 2017.

The house first became a royal residence, though not an official palace, in 1762 when King George III bought it for his wife, Queen Charlotte, and children. Renovations undertaken then included fabulous ceilings designed by Scottish architect Robert Adam. 

When King George IV ascended to the throne, Buckingham House was still just a very big house. The king wanted a palace and employed the famous Regency court architect John Nash to give him one during the last five years of his life. Nash spent so much money (about £470,000) that as soon as the king died, the Prime Minister fired him.

Various other architects had a hand in renovations but when the next monarch, George III's brother William IV, became king the house was unfurnished and unloved. William refused to move in.

And then came Queen Victoria

William had a phenomenal number of illegitimate children but no legitimate heir, so the throne was then inherited by his niece, Victoria and her considerable family. In no time at all, Buckingham House, now officially Buckingham Palace, was too small. The parade of architects continued and the Brighton Pavilion was sold to fund the addition of a new wing for £53,000. The central balcony, familiar to watchers of royal weddings, was added then. And the Triumphal Arch, designed by Nash, was moved to the northeast corner of Hyde Park where it is now known as Marble Arch.

So, if behind its 19th century facade and early 20th century Portland stone cladding (George V), Buckingham Palace seems a bit of a hodgepodge, now you know why.

Visiting Buckingham Palace

The State Rooms of the palace have only been opened to the public since 1993, and then only during a limited period from mid July to the end of September. The public showings of "Buck House" were initially intended as a way to raise funds to repair Windsor Castle after a disastrous fire in 1992. It turned out it was so popular that the Queen continued to allow visitors every summer. Don't expect to catch a glimpse of Queen Elizabeth or member of the Royal Family on your visit, though. When the palace is open to the public she goes to one of her country residences or makes her annual visit to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.

And you're not likely to see much of real life at the palace. Buckingham Palace as 775 rooms, including 19 State rooms that are included in a visit. The State rooms are where the Queen and members of the Royal Family receive guests on State, ceremonial and official occasions. The rest - 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms - is strictly off limits.

What you will see is a series of extremely grand chambers filled with many of the treasures of the Royal Collection; paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, and Canaletto; beautiful examples of English and French furniture and much more. Highlights include:

  • The White Drawing Room - considered the most magnificent of the reception rooms. Look out for a fabulous rolltop desk and a gilded piano provided for Queen Victoria.
  • The Throne Room  - Who knew there were so many different thrones. Under a dramatic arch and canopy - designer John Nash was influenced by theater design - are the pair of Chairs of Estate used by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh during the Coronation in 1953. The chair was used before the Queen was anointed and crowned. Another throne, kept and displayed at Windsor Castle was used after. The room also has Queen Victoria's throne and chairs used by George VI and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. Surprisingly, before 1910, furniture used in the Coronation ceremony was sold to the guests, so there are no earlier thrones here.
  • The Picture Gallery  This is where candidates about to be honored with knighthoods and other official honors wait before being invited into the ballroom for the investiture ceremony. While they're waiting, they can look at paintings from the Queen's collection, which are changed from time to time.
  • The Ballroom  The largest of the State rooms is used for state banquets and investitures. It has a musicians' gallery, complete with an organ. The most striking feature of this room is the Throne Canopy, designed by Lutyens. It is topped by a triumphal arch, with winged statues - symbolizing History and Fame - and supporting a medallion with profiles of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The thrones beneath it were used in the coronation of Edward VII and Queen Alexandra in 1902. This room was styled, frankly, to knock your socks off. And depending upon where you stand on such things, it will either have the desired effect or you will think it demonstrates the worst excesses of Victorian design. The jury is out on that one.

After your tour of the 19 rooms, you can wander about in the gardens or have a light bite - tea and coffee, sandwiches and cakes - in the Garden Cafe.

Visitor Essentials

  • When:  Buckingham Palace is open to the public from mid-July to the end of September and then for private tours on selected dates in the winter. In 2019, the Annual Summer Opening is from 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. from Saturday, July 20 to Saturday, August 31 and to 6:30 p.m. through Sunday, September 29.
  • Where: Between Green Park and St James's Park in Central London. The Palace is located at the juncture of two processional roads - Constitution Hill, which runs from Hyde Park Corner and the Wellington Arch to the Palace and The Mall (rhymes with the name Al,) which runs from the Palace to the Admiralty Arch and Trafalgar Square.
  • By Train: Victoria Station and Charing Cross are the nearest rail stations. Check National Rail Enquiries for times and ticket prices. 
  • ​By London Underground:  The nearest London Underground Stations are Victoria, Hyde Park Corner, and St James's Park Green Park and St James's Park. Check Transport for London to plan a journey. 
  • By Bus: Bus numbers 11, 211, C1 and C10 all stop on Buckingham Palace Road, a short walk from the Palace entrance and other attractions. Victoria Coach Station, for longer distance coach arrivals, is about a ten minute walk.
  • Prices - From January 1, 2019 through December 31, 2019, here are the prices for Standard Admission: Adult tickets cost £25; student or senior tickets are £22.8; children from 5 to 17 and the disabled cost £14 and children under 5 are free. Family tickets for two adults and up to three children are also available.
  • How to Buy - Tickets are sold for timed entry at intervals of 15 minutes apart. They are available on the day at the Palace but as the entry can be busy during the annual opening, visitors are advised to buy their tickets in advance - either at the Palace ticket office or online . 
  • Combination Tickets: To make the most of your visit, Royal Day Out tickets are available that can be used for three attractions. In addition to the Buckingham Palace State Rooms, this combination ticket provides entry to the Royal Mews, where the Royal carriages and horses are kept, and to the Queen's Gallery. Find out more about Royal Day Out Tickets.
  • Practical Information The Palace website has pages of information about everything from length of visit, multi-media guides in nine different languages, handicapped and access facilities to toilets and baby changing facilities. To find out about how to cope with the practical necessities of life, best check out their  Practical Information webpages.

What Else is Nearby

The Royal Mews  claims to be "one of the finest working stables in existence." I have no way to judge that claim, but it is fun to visit. The Royal Mews is responsible for all the road transportation of the Queen and Royal Family. The includes care of the many elaborate carriages of state, the horses that pull them and also the Queen's cars. You can visit this as part of a Royal Day Out ticket (see above) or separately. The Royal Mews are open between February and November, so most of the year except for the winter holiday season.

The Queen's Gallery is located alongside Buckingham Palace on Buckingham Palace RoadIt features changing works from the Royal Collection - paintings, furniture, decorative objects. In the summer of 2018, a special exhibition celebrates Splendors of the Subcontinent - art from India and the Mughal Empire. This gallery can be included on a Royal Day Out ticket - as above - or separately. The Gallery is open year round except for planned closures, listed on the website, for changing the exhibitions. 

Clarence House   is just off the Mall and down the road from Buckingham Palace. It was built during the reign of George III for his third son, the Duke of Clarence. It was the Queen Mother's home for more than five decades and is currently the official residence of the Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. Normally, it can be visited during the month of August. But the Clarence House will be closed to visitors all of 2019 for maintenance work. The expected re-opening date is August 2020.

One Word of Warning

The official Buckingham Palace website indicates that, if you have your ticket is stamped at the end of your visit, it will be good for unlimited visits for the whole year. That is seriously misleading  because Buckingham Palace is simply not open for a full year. It is open from mid-July to the end of September. If you buy a Royal Day Out ticket, the other attractions on it are open year round, but "Buck House" is not. Just be aware of that to avoid disappointment.

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How To Visit Buckingham Palace

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“Pussycat, pussycat, where have you been? I’ve been to London to look at the queen!” These are the starting words of a traditional children’s nursery rhyme. And it’s not only nursery-rhyme cats interested in attractions associated with the royal family.

Buckingham Palace , the King’s official London residence and the administrative headquarters of the British monarchy, is one of London’s top 10 attractions according to Visit London . Visitors can watch the Changing of the Guard, tour the State Rooms, visit the Royal Mews, see changing art exhibitions, or simply enjoy views of Buckingham Palace and the Queen Victoria Monument from adjoining Green Park .

Buckingham Palace has served as the official London residence of British sovereigns since 1837 when Queen Victoria made it her home. But the property’s Royal Family history goes back to 1761 when George III bought Buckingham House for his wife Queen Charlotte.

Where Is Buckingham Palace?

Buckingham Palace sits at the intersection of The Mall, Constitution Hill, and Spur Road off Birdcage Walk in the City of Westminster in central London. The Palace is surrounded by gardens and green space on three sides. St. James’s Park sits on the east side and Green Park on the north side. Royal gardens run behind the Palace to the west. A number of London tourist attractions, including Westminster Abbey, the Churchill War Rooms, and Trafalgar Square, lie within a one-mile radius of the palace.

The Wellington Arch , a large stone archway flanked with Corinthian columns and topped with the largest bronze sculpture in Europe, sits at the western end of Constitution Hill at Hyde Park Corner. Originally built as the outer entrance to Buckingham Palace, the arch was moved to its current location in the 1880s. You can purchase tickets to get inside the arch, where rooms over five stories house historical exhibitions and balconies offer views of Buckingham Palace’s back gardens and London’s Royal Parks.

View along The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace.

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How To Get To Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace’s central location is easily reached by the Underground, by train, and by coach/bus.

How To Get To Buckingham Palace By Subway

London’s subway system, known as the London Underground or by its nickname, the Tube, is fast and efficient. The nearest Underground stops to Buckingham Palace are Victoria, Green Park, St. James’s Park, and Hyde Park Corner.

It’s roughly an 11-minute walk to Buckingham Palace from Victoria Station, an 8-minute walk from Green Park Station or St. James’s Park Station, and a 12-minute walk from Hyde Park Corner Station.

How To Get To Buckingham Palace By Train

The National Rail System is a passenger train network connecting London with the rest of the country. You might use this system to get to Buckingham Palace if you are coming from outside of the Greater London area serviced by the Underground. London Victoria and Charing Cross Station are the nearest train stations to Buckingham Palace.

How To Get To Buckingham Palace By Coach Or Bus

Bus numbers 11, 211, C1 and C10 stop on Buckingham Palace Road. Victoria Coach Station is a 10-minute walk from the Palace. Use Transport for London’s Plan a Journey page to determine which bus to take from your starting location.

Buckingham Palace is also a stop on some hop-on, hop-off tourist buses.

The Queen's Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace.

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When Is The Best Time To Visit Buckingham Palace?

If you want to get inside Buckingham Palace, summer is the best time to visit. Although the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace are open to visitors for a few selected dates in winter and spring, the primary touring time is in summer.

Summer also offers the best weather for viewing the Changing of the Guard . Of course, summer is the busiest tourist season and you will be jostling amongst a crowd for the best views. Bundle up or pack a poncho, and you can see the Changing of the Guard throughout the year.

The Royal Mews is open February through November. Guided tours are offered between April and October. The Royal Mews is responsible for all the road travel arrangements for the King and the Royal Family. Inside you’ll find historic carriages, a stable of horses, and livery worn by the King’s horsemen. Note that the Royal Mews are part of a working royal palace and closures sometimes happen at short notice.

The Queen’s Gallery is a public art gallery that features changing exhibitions from the Royal Collection featuring old master paintings, rare furniture, decorative arts, and photographic images. The Queen’s Gallery is open year-round.

The changing of the guard outside Buckingham Palace.

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When Is The Changing Of The Guard?

The Changing of the Guard is a ceremony in which the King’s Guards, clad in scarlet uniforms and bearskin caps, hand off responsibility for protecting Buckingham Palace. The guards are Foot Guards, or highly trained infantry soldiers.

The ceremony, which is free to watch, takes place on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace. Formation of the guards in preparation for the ceremony begins around 10:30 a.m. when the Buckingham Palace Old Guard lines up for inspection, the St. James Old Guard begins its march down The Mall, and the New Guard forms on the parade square at Wellington Barracks. Guards and bands start arriving at Buckingham Palace at 10:45 a.m. The actual handover, when the New Guard enters the forecourt via the North Gate and receives the Palace Keys, occurs at 11 a.m. sharp. This is followed by marches of the Old and New Guards. The ceremony takes approximately 45 minutes. Musical accompaniment is provided by a regimental band or corps of drums.

The Changing of the Guard is popular. It is recommended you arrive before 10:15 a.m. to get a good viewing spot. The Buckingham Palace railings are a good spot with visibility of the entire forecourt ceremony, but you need to arrive very early to situate yourself here.

The elevated position of the steps of the Victoria Monument also provides a reasonable view. Spur Road on the left facing Buckingham Palace is a good place to see the New Guard and Band marching up Birdcage Walk. Remember to “make way for the King’s Guard!” and not stand in the way of the Foot Guards.

Although the Changing of the Guard occurs several times a week, it is not scheduled everyday. Check the Changing of the Guard schedule before you plan your visit.

The White Drawing Room inside Buckingham Palace.

Royal Collection Trust

How To Tour The Inside of Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace has 775 rooms, including 240 Royal, guest, and staff bedrooms, 92 offices, 78 bathrooms, and 19 State rooms. The State Rooms inside Buckingham Palace are open to visitors for 10 weeks each summer and on selected dates during winter and spring. The King’s private living spaces are not open to the public.

The State Rooms are the public rooms in the palace where the King and members of the Royal Family receive and entertain guests on ceremonial and official occasions. Rooms you will tour after entering via the opulent, red-carpeted Grand Staircase include the White Drawing Room, the Throne Room, the Ballroom, and the Picture Gallery.

Each year the Royal Collection Trust , the organization that manages public openings of the official residences of His Majesty the King, curates a special exhibit for the summer opening at Buckingham Palace. In 2019, Queen Victoria’s Palace held an exhibition to honor the 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s birth, telling the story of how the young queen transformed Buckingham Palace from a private house into a working royal residence.

You need to purchase tickets for the State Rooms tour in advance. Tickets can be booked online. Arrive at least 10 minutes before your entry time. You will go through airport-style security. Complimentary multimedia guides are provided. Photographs are not allowed. Wear comfortable shoes as there is a fair bit of walking involved. The Royal Collection Trust recommends you allow up to 2 hours and 30 minutes for your State Rooms tour. One of the available ticketing options allows you to add a 45-minute guided tour of Buckingham Palace Gardens to your State Rooms visit.

King Charles, House of Lords Chamber in London.

Can I See The King At Buckingham Palace?

The nursery-rhyme cat may have had a look at the queen, but you are unlikely to see the now King when you visit Buckingham Palace. State Room tours are scheduled when the King is not in residence. When the King is at home at Buckingham Palace, you’ll see his flag, the Royal Standard, flying from the flagpole on top of the palace.

If your visit to London coincides with a Royal Wedding or a special event of national significance, you may be able to get a glimpse of the King on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, where he and Royal Family members gather to wave to crowds below.

Your best bet for getting a look at the King may actually be away from Buckingham Palace at one of the functions he attends. The Royal Diary on the Royal Family website contains a list of engagements to be attended by His Royal Majesty and other Royal Family members.

Two annual events offer opportunities to see the King. For the State Opening of Parliament in May, the King travels from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster in a State coach escorted by the Household Cavalry.

Headed to the UK? Here’s why Oxford is well worth visiting on your next trip to England .

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Donna Janke is a writer based in Canada out of Winnipeg, Manitoba. She shares her travel discoveries on her blog, Destinations Detours and Dreams , using a combination of narrative, photography, and personal reflection, all with an eye for detail. Her interest in travel started as a child when books transported her around the world, and grew as she explored the world in person. Her life as a travel writer began after she retired from a professional career in IT. Donna loves discovering the unique character of places, near and far, and writing to inspire others in their travels. Her travel stories have been published in several outlets, and tend to focus on culture, history, nature, art, architecture, and food.

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Tips for visiting Buckingham Palace with kids

One of London’s most iconic sights, there’s only a 10-week period each year when you can get a look inside the monarch’s official London residence – so I’ve pulled together these tips for visiting Buckingham Palace with kids (or without) to make the most of it.

View across the gardens to the Victoria Memorial and Buckingham Palace - my tips for visiting Buckingham Palace with kids, during the summer opening of the state rooms

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The East Wing of Buckingham Palace will be open to visitors for the first time this summer, when special guided tours will also be available in July and August, giving you an added incentive to book, if you’re planning to take the tour of the Buckingham Palace state rooms. ( EDIT: Currently sold out)

The home of the British royal family since Queen Victoria moved in in 1837, it’s still a working palace with the ornate rooms used for state events and a rare chance to glimpse the gilded splendour behind the famous facade. So if you’re planning to visit Buckingham Palace with kids, here’s everything you need to know.

Contents - click to jump to a section

Should you visit Buckingham Palace with kids?

A tour of the State Rooms isn’t the cheapest thing to do in London with kids , so the first question to answer must be, is Buckingham Palace family-friendly?

And you can absolutely visit Buckingham Palace with kids – with a few provisos.

Personally I think this is somewhere that’s better for school age kids and older. There’s a great free family multimedia tour and family activities in the gardens but otherwise it’s (understandably) not very hands on.

For older kids, getting to see inside a palace and its impressive rooms, imagining kings, queens and mischievous corgis as they go, it’s fantastic. But the thought of chasing a bored toddler who wants to run off, while surrounded by priceless art and furniture makes my blood run cold.

Having said that, there’s nothing to stop you bringing younger kids in and I did see one young toddler during my visit, so it’s certainly possible – just be prepared to go round faster than you might like.

Do check out the interactive map online before you visit, to give kids a taste of what they’re going to see as well, and explore the palace virtually. There’s also a list of 10 highlights to spot , which makes a fun treasure hunt.

You can’t use your own buggy/stroller – these have to be checked at the start of the tour and collected at the end – while toilets and baby changing facilities are only available at the end of the tour.

You can’t eat or drink inside the palace (except for bottled water), although you can breastfeed anywhere, and there are benches in some of the rooms.

Rear of Buckingham Palace during a visit as part of the summer opening of the state rooms - if you're visiting Buckingham Palace with kids, my tips on everything you need to know

Do you have to prebook tickets?

You don’t have to, tickets may be available on the day, but as the Buckingham Palace state rooms are only open for part of the year, it’s a good idea to book in advance.

There’s also a discount if you prebook tickets online – currently from £30 for adults, £16.50 for children aged 5-17, under fives go free.

Get a discount if you book using my link and the code MUMMYTRAVELS6

You can also convert tickets into a one year pass, if you think you might return within 12 months.

There’s a family discount which is automatically applied if you book at least one adult and two children, up to two adults and four children, saving up to £24 when you book direct .

Tickets have a 15-minute time slot, and you’re asked to arrive at the time shown on your ticket.

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When are the Buckingham Palace state rooms open?

The main public opening runs for 10 weeks from mid July to late September. This year’s opening dates are July 11-September 29, 2024.

The Palace is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during September but otherwise open seven days a week. Opening time is 9.30am and last entry is 17.15 during the summer months (with the palace closing at 19.30), and at 16.15 in September (with the palace closing at 18.30)

If you’re visiting London outside these dates, scroll down for more details of the guided tours which take place on select dates between November and May

Where’s the entrance to the Buckingham Palace tour?

You won’t get to go through the grand gates at the front, sadly. Instead the entrance for the summer opening of the Buckingham Palace state rooms is on Buckingham Palace road.

If you’re standing looking at the front of the palace, simply head round to the left, follow Spur Road to Buckingham Palace Road, and you won’t be able to miss the entrance, with staff checking tickets before security.

Gilded gates and front view of Buckingham Palace - my tips on visiting Buckingham Palace with kids for the summer opening of the state rooms

The closest underground stations are Victoria, Green Park and St James’s Park. If you’re walking from Victoria station, just follow Buckingham Palace Road from the station past the entrance for the Royal Mews and the King’s Gallery and you’ll see it on the left.

Be prepared for security

You’ll need to pass through airport style security with bag searches and X-ray, although this was very quick and efficient.

If you’re visiting with Buckingham Palace with kids, you can’t bring a buggy/stroller into the state rooms, so will need to leave that at the start of the tour and collect it at the end in the gardens.

You can’t bring large bags (or various other items including bikes, folding bikes and rollerskates) in at all, while some other items need to be left and collected after the tour, such as large umbrellas (smaller fold-up ones that go in your bag are fine).

Check the full list of security restrictions here – but it’s mostly common sense.

Do get the audio guide

The audioguide is included in your ticket, in nine languages, plus British Sign Language (as well as a descriptive tour for the blind and visually impaired). There is very little information in the rooms otherwise, so without the guide, you’ll miss most of the detail.

You can choose the adult version or the family multimedia tour (and it’s easy to flick between the two if you do want to hear bits of both).

I started off alternating between the different options, but switched to the family audio a few rooms in, as it did a great job of bringing the state rooms to life, picking out quirky details and adding some fun elements.

A view of the White Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace, with its ornate chandeliers, gilded ceiling and secret door - my tips for visiting Buckingham Palace with kids

The tour is narrated by footman Alice, along with Rex the corgi, and is aimed at kids under 12. Having said that, it still packs in similar amounts of information to the adult tour, just in a more easily digestible fashion.

There are also some fun games for kids to play – I’m ashamed to say it took me three attempts to correctly set a table – as well as details to spot in the rooms, challenges and other interactive fun.

One highlight was being asked to spot the secret door in the White Drawing Room: closed during our visit (it’s normally ajar), it really wasn’t easy to spot but led to a great conversation with the member of staff in the room – and also the discovery that one other set of more obvious doors are fakes, designed to balance the room, with nothing but wall behind them.

You won’t be able to take photos inside

For once, you can put phones and cameras away, as photos aren’t permitted inside the state rooms – only in the gardens at the end of the tour.

View of the Diamond State Coach on display as part of the Coronation exhibition at Buckingham Palace, at the start of the tour of the state rooms - my tips for visiting Buckingham Palace with kids

We were also given permission to photograph the Coronation Exhibition and Diamond Jubilee coach which was in the courtyard but ordinarily that wouldn’t be allowed either.

Don’t be tempted to sneak a few snaps – staff were keeping a close eye on all visitors and reminding them if they had phones out, so if you’re caught, you may well be escorted out.

Allow plenty of time

There are 14 rooms with multimedia guide commentary during the tour of the state rooms at Buckingham Palace, quite apart from the chance to explore some of the gardens.

Allow at least two hours for your visit, more if you want to enjoy the activities in the family pavilion at the end, or visit the cafe.

You can go at your own pace though, so if you feel inclined to linger – or if your kids are going to get bored after around an hour – you can speed up and slow down as you want.

What can you see in the state rooms at Buckingham Palace?

The tour of the Buckingham Palace state rooms takes you through 14 separate rooms with audioguide commentary.

Starting in the Grand Hall and climbing the Grand Staircase, you’ll visit the Green Drawing Room, the Throne Room, the Picture Gallery, the East Gallery, the Ballroom, the State Dining Room, the Blue Drawing Room, the Music Room, the White Drawing Room, the Marble Hall and the Bow Room.

Needless to say, it’s impossible to capture every detail in a blog post, especially one focused on tips for visiting Buckingham Palace; you need to go on the tour to really appreciate it. But expect huge rooms, priceless art, lots of gold and ornamentation, and impressive decor as you go!

View of the Throne Room in Buckingham Palace as part of a visit to the state rooms, with red walls and carpet, and two throne chairs with royal cyphers under a canopy of state - my tips for visiting Buckingham Palace with kids

To pick out a few highlights, you can spot everything from a delicate pot pourri holder in the shape of a ship, one of only 12 ever made by Sevres (and one of only 10 still in existence) right up to the thrones embroidered with the King and Queen’s cyphers and some fake marble columns.

The art in the picture gallery is just a small fraction of the million works in the royal collection – which also includes sculpture, furniture and other artworks – including everything from Rubens, Rembrandt and Vermeer to Canaletto and Van Dyck.

There are also some insights into royal family life as you stroll through the long East Gallery, whose carefully placed mirrors make it seem to stretch on forever.

Built for Queen Victoria, along with the ballroom, to allow her to host balls for up to two thousand guests, the walls are covered with portraits of the Queen and her family – with a reminder in the family audio guide that Victoria was only 19 when she was crowned, a year after she inherited the throne.

Or the jaw-dropping information that the table in the state dining room can be extended so it’s as long as a cricket pitch – and the spare leaves are stored in one of the many secret rooms and cupboards in the palace, tucked away behind mirrored doors.

There’s modern-day trivia too – seeing the room where the current Prince of Wales was baptised, or learning how to clean a chandelier – as well as information about the palace itself, from the number of staff (around 800) to the number of lightbulbs (around 40,000).

My favourite was perhaps the White Drawing Room (actually far more gold and yellow), which has fake doors, real doors and that secret door to find…

What is the Coronation exhibition at Buckingham Palace?

EDIT: Now closed The new Coronation exhibition included the outfits worn by King Charles III and Queen Camilla at the coronation in May 2023, on display for the first time.

Staged in the ballroom – which was used for Coronation rehearsals – the grand robes with their embroidered trains were joined by other items of regalia, as well as the Throne Chairs and the Anointing Screen used during the ceremony.

Richly embroidered gold and white Coronation glove on display in a special exhibition as part of the summer opening of the state rooms at Buckingham Palace - my tips for visiting Buckingham Palace in 2023

There was also the chance to see sketches for the invitations, alongside one of the finished creations, plus other symbolic items including the Coronation glove and girdle, not to mention the diamond necklace worn by the Queen Consort.

It was fascinating to get chance to see some of the gold embroidery up close, hand embroidered by the Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court Palace, with personal touches as well as more symbolic emblems – something even the best TV coverage of the day couldn’t provide.

The exhibition ran until September 24, 2023, when the State Rooms closed to the public. The Diamond Jubilee State Coach was also be on display as you enter the courtyard before heading inside the state rooms themselves but can now been seen in the Royal Mews.

If you buy a Royal Day Out ticket , also including entry to the Royal Mews, you can see the historic Gold State Coach – among other royal coaches and carriages – which carried the King back to Buckingham Palace from Westminster Abbey

Will you see the royal family?

Sadly not – or not unless you’re very lucky. Traditionally, the royal family heads to their Scottish home of Balmoral for the summer, so they’re away from London while the state rooms are open – and King Charles has confirmed he’ll be continuing the tradition, as Queen Elizabeth did.

In any case, the tour takes you though the public state rooms rather than the private rooms, so even if members of the royal family are in residence, they’ll be elsewhere in the huge palace.

You can check before you go in: if the monarch is in residence, the royal standard will be flying, otherwise you’ll see the union flag above the palace, if the royal family is at another residence such as Windsor Castle or Sandringham .

Don’t miss the family pavilion

If you’re visiting Buckingham Palace with kids, do save time to check out the family pavilion in the gardens.

Family Pavilion in the gardens of Buckingham Palace, one of the great things to do at Buckingham Palace with kids after a tour of the state rooms

You’ll find it just after the point where you return the multimedia guides and there are some great activities for kids.

There’s a small soft play area for the youngest visitors, as well as tables with crafts and activities. You’ll also find a dressing up box, lots of chances to pose for photos, and other games and quizzes to test kids on their royal knowledge.

You can also download a garden trail, colouring and drawing activities from the Royal Collection Trust website, plus there are sometimes additional events for families .

Save time to enjoy the gardens

The path from the palace to the exit on Grosvenor Palace leads through the gardens, with a view back to Buckingham Palace over the lake.

You are limited to where you can explore in the gardens however – the lawns are roped off, for example – so you can’t spend long wandering and you do need to keep to the paths.

View of the rear of Buckingham Palace as seen from the gardens during the summer opening of the state rooms - my tips for visiting Buckingham Palace with kids

What facilities are there at Buckingham Palace?

Most of the facilities for visitors are towards the end of the tour, including toilets and baby changing in the gardens.

If you are visiting Buckingham Palace with kids, it’s worth finding toilets before you head inside – there are public toilets at Victoria station – as it’s likely to be over an hour before you reach the gardens (and you can’t leave and retrace your steps). And no, you can’t use the king’s bathroom on the way!

In the main block in the gardens, there are family toilets and very nice handwash though. Arrangements can be made for visitors with disabilities, but you’re asked to contact the specialist sales team in advance.

There’s also a cafe in the gardens, as well as stands serving ice cream and drinks – keep an eye out for the coronation ice cream (which is red, white and blue), although sadly it wasn’t on sale during our visit.

There’s no eating and drinking inside the palace (apart from bottled water).

You’ll also find the shop along the path through the gardens on your way out if you want a special souvenir of your visit – fluffy corgis are an option!

Can you visit the state rooms at Buckingham Palace at any other time?

Yes, there are limited chances to explore the Buckingham Palace state rooms outside the main summer opening, with guided tours running on selected dates from November to May.

These cost £95 per person, or there are also Family Guided Tours available where tickets for adults children aged 5-17 cost £60, and under 5s are free.

Courtyard inside Buckingham Palace at the start of the tour of the state rooms - my tips for visiting Buckingham Palace with kids

If you are joining a guided tour, you’ll enter through the Royal Mews and there are toilet facilities available at the start as well as the end of the tour. You’re also asked to arrive 30 minutes before the entry time on your ticket, and will have to go through a similar security process as the self-guided tour.

Tours usually take around 90 minutes to two hours, and the other restrictions (such as no photos inside) remain the same. The family tours lasts one hour.

Apart from that, you’d need a personal invitation from a member of the royal family or be invited to an official event to get in!

What else is there to do near Buckingham Palace with kids?

You’re in easy walking distance of both St James’s Park, with its pelicans (and a lovely view of the palace from the Blue Bridge) and of Green Park if your kids need to run off some energy.

You could also combine a visit with the Changing of the Guard ceremony , or a chance to see the guards at Horseguards Parade.

There are also two other Royal Collection Trust attractions at the Palace – the Royal Mews , which houses the Gold State coach, among other historic carriages, and the King’s Gallery . There’s a discount if you book using my link and the code MUMMYTRAVELS6 .

For more royal places in London with kids , check out my pick of the best for families who love history (or mini monarchists)

Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament are around a 15-minute walk from the entrance to the State Rooms, and the family attractions on the South Bank are only a short walk further on.

Or download this Royal London Walking tour , designed to take around 50 minutes, introducing you to some of the history around Buckingham Palace and Westminster.

Disclosure: My entry to Buckingham Palace was free for the purposes of review – all opinions and tips for visiting Buckingham Palace are my own. This post contains affiliate links – any purchases you make are unaffected but I may receive a small commission

Main image/Buckingham Palace gates courtesy of Depositphotos; Throne Room courtesy Royal Collection Trust/© His Majesty King Charles III 2023 ; White Drawing Room courtesy  Royal Collection Trust/© His Majesty King Charles III 2023 / Derry Moore ; all other images copyright MummyTravels

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Award-winning family travel blogger and mum to the mini traveller, aka Minnie. Together we've visited Europe, America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia, tried a cruise and a road trip, and survived countless long-haul trips. London (UK) based. Serious beach habit.

Throughly enjoyed our visit this week,with a mixed adult and child coach trip. Sadly no changing of the guard on this Saturday, which, was disappointing for the youngsters. Very efficient entrance route, no waiting, staff friendly and helpful. Easy to use audio guide, comfortable head phones. Able to stroll through the Palace at your own pace, lots of staff offering advice and additional information. Loved the White dinning room. We called into the cafe for a pot of tea as we were leaving oh my gosh ! Prices for a slice of cake, cream tea or a child’s food “box” were so expensive. Likewise the gift shop, almost £9 for a pencil with plastic crown on the top we all left empty handed. St James’s Park was a delight, lots of delightful places for refreshments and to sit and watch the antics of the wildlife. It was a great day, throughly enjoyed it.

Glad you had a great day – it is a lot of fun for kids (although I saw a few eye-watering prices in the gift shop). A shame it didn’t coincide with the changing of the guard, but sadly that never takes place on Saturdays – a good excuse to come back again?

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What You Need To Know Before Visiting Buckingham Palace (Yes, You Can Go Inside)

  • Key Takeaways:
  • Buckingham Palace is currently undergoing a major renovation until 2027. Some areas may be closed during the renovation, so it is important to check the official website for updates.
  • Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Buckingham Palace and other royal palaces were closed to the public and are gradually reopening. The State Rooms of Buckingham Palace will be closed for the rest of the year.
  • To visit Buckingham Palace, it is recommended to book in advance and arrive early to allow time for security checks. Certain items are prohibited inside the palace, and photography is only allowed in the garden. The Changing of the Guard ceremony is also worth watching.

One of the things that all Americans will most likely do when traveling to London is visiting Buckingham Palace. A far cry from some of the overrated tourist attractions in London , the palace is still a working royal residence and is definitely worth a visit. Keep reading to find out what you need to know before going.

For 70 years, Buckingham Palace was one of the official residences of Queen Elizabeth II - now, it is an official residence of King Charles III. The changing of the King's (formerly Queen's) Guard is one of the most iconic attractions in London and something visitors from around the world flock to see.

UPDATE: 2023/10/27 17:07 EST BY NOAH STAATS

Everything People Need To Know When Visiting Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace continues to be a global icon for tourists and English people alike. Although there is a renovation happening until 2027, there will be plenty of tours, photo-ops, and history once you enter the property. Have fun, and be safe!

Buckingham Palace Is Being Slowly Renovated

Because Buckingham Palace is so old, there have been efforts made to renovate the property. According to the Royal Family, the building's infrastructure is in urgent need of a complete overhaul to prevent long-term damage to the building and its contents. Of course, this should not result in anyone's trip being ruined, but it is worth it to check the official website now and then to ensure none of the Palace is closed.

Moreover, Buckingham Palace is currently undergoing major refurbishment works costing £369 million, expected to be completed in 2027. This will be one of the most significant renovations ever to the property, which is the country's way of preserving an iconic landmark. King Charles has been steadfast in his efforts to have this project completed as soon as possible, although such a large Palace can only be repaired so fast.

Visitors can expect certain areas to already be finished, with others closing periodically. Therefore, tours may be adjusted and altered to show more of one section over the other, so keep that in mind. Nobody ever said a renovation was easy!

  • When Will Construction Be Done At Buckingham Palace?: Construction at Buckingham Palace is expected to finish in 2027.

These scenic train rides through England may offer something unique to visitors.

Notice Of Closures Following The Death Of The Queen

Following the passing of the much-loved Queen Elizabeth II in September 2022, Buckingham Palace (and the other royal palaces) were closed to the public. The official residences and palaces have been and will be reopening progressively to the public.

The Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, and The Queen’s Gallery, Edinburgh reopened later in September. However, Buckingham Palace will not be fully reopening in 2022 as the State Rooms of Buckingham Palace will be closed for the rest of the year.

Ordinary Opening Hours For The State Rooms:

  • July to August: 9.30 am to 7.30 pm
  • September to October: 9.30 to 6.30 pm
  • Closed: Tuesday and Wednesdays

One should check with the Royal Collection Trust for up-to-date information.

How To Get To Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is one of the prettiest destinations in London , and that’s just when looking at it from the outside. Centrally located, it’s super easy to get to and is close to three underground stations: Victoria, Green Park, and St. James’s Park, all of which are about 10 minutes away.

Many tourists choose to get off the Tube at St. James’s Park and then stroll through the luscious gardens in the park on their way to the palace. Alternatively, you could take a cab, but this can take a lot longer than the Tube due to traffic. If you don’t mind walking, the palace is within walking distance of several hotels in Westminster. It’s also one of the stops of the Hop on Hop off bus tour.

These are the cheapest spots to visit in England (outside of London, of course).

When You Can Go Inside

Many tourists are content to observe Buckingham Palace through the gates, but it is possible to go inside. The palace offers internal tours between July and October. It’s a self-guided tour where each participant is given an audio guide and allowed to travel through the rooms included on the tour at their own pace. If you’re touring the palace, you must always follow the designated route, and you won’t be allowed to return to another room you’ve already been to.

Entry Fees Buckingham Palace Only:

  • Adult: £30.00 ($33)
  • Young Person: £19.50 ($22) (Aged 18 to 24)
  • Child: £16.50 ($18) (Aged 5 to 17)

Entry Fees Royal Day Out:

  • Adult: £55.00 ($61)
  • Young Person: £36.00 ($39) (Aged 18 to 24)
  • Child: £30.00 ($33) (Aged 5 to 17)

The Royal Day Out includes access to the Royal Mews, The Queen's Galley, and Buckingham Palace. The tour offers access to 19 of the 775 rooms in the palace. You’ll get a chance to walk through the State Rooms where the Queen entertains guests for state affairs, including the Throne Room and the White Drawing Room. You’ll also get to see the Ballroom and walk through the garden on the way out. You also have the option to pay more for access to the Royal Mews and the Queen’s Gallery.

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Book In Advance And Be On Time

Because the palace is only open to visitors for four months every year, places fill up very quickly. Book in advance as far ahead as possible. When purchasing your tickets online, you’ll be able to choose an entrance time, and the sooner in advance you book your ticket, the better chance you’ll have of selecting a convenient time slot.

  • Tip: Plan Ahead And Book Tickets Well In Advance

One of the things to know before your Buckingham Palace tour is that you should arrive at the palace between 15 and 30 minutes early. There is always a long queue to get through security, and if you’re too late, there’s a chance you will miss out on your tour.

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The Rules Of Entry

Understandably, there are a few rules of entry that all tour participants are required to follow when visiting the palace. Certain items are banned, including liquids, food, backpacks, scissors, penknives, and luggage. If you bring any of these items in, they will be confiscated. In some cases, they will be returned as you exit the palace. Those with large umbrellas are also asked to check them before embarking on the tour.

Photography is permitted in the garden but not in the staterooms. Mobile phones must also be switched off during the tour. Baby pushers are also not permitted in the staterooms.

These are some of the most historic English towns to visit in the North and South end of the country.

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Other Things To Do At Buckingham Palace

If you don’t book a tour of Buckingham Palace, it’s still worth a visit. Many visitors are content to admire the palace from the outside, but there’s also the Changing of the Guard ceremony. In June and July, this generally takes place every day, although it is subject to change.

From August to May, you can catch the ceremony on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. The official start time is 11 a.m. and there are several vantage points to watch the ceremony from, including the Buckingham Palace Gate and the Victoria Memorial.

What You Need To Know Before Visiting Buckingham Palace (Yes, You Can Go Inside)

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Buckingham Palace or Kensington Palace - London Forum

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A number of the royal family (shall we say the more minor royals) have apartments in Kensington palace.

Also Queen Victoria grew up there so it has quite a history.


I think the immediate area around Kensington Palace (the gardens, the orangery, the lake etc) are more attractive to walk around than the immediate area around Buckingham Palace (apart from St James Park of course).

Buck Pal but not necessarily either.

As London is to Orpington

~with a nod to George Canning


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  1. Buckingham Palace Visit , Is the Tour Worth the Cost : r/uktravel

    189K subscribers in the uktravel community. Discussions, questions, advice, and information about travelling in the United Kingdom

  2. The Ultimate Guide on How to Visit Buckingham Palace in 2024

    Tickets and Tours: Tickets must be booked online or booked here for a guided tour that includes the area around Buckingham Palace. Palace-guided tours in the winter and spring: Adults: £90. Family guided tour: ages 5-17 is £49.50, under 5 is free. Summer Buckingham Palace tickets if purchased in advance: Adults: £30.

  3. Practical Information for visiting Buckingham Palace

    Prior to booking your ticket, contact the Specialist Sales team on +44 (0)303 123 7324 or email [email protected] to ensure we correctly cater for your requirements. Make the most of your visit to Buckingham Palace with our helpful info on security, facilities and more.

  4. Buckingham Palace

    Buckingham Palace. The King's official London residence and a working royal palace. Buckingham Palace is recognised around the world as the home of the monarch, the focus of national and royal celebrations, as well as the backdrop to the regular Changing the Guard ceremony. Explore the magnificent State Rooms which are open to visitors each ...

  5. Visiting Buckingham Palace: 10 Best Things to See & Do

    To help you make the most of your visit to this royal household, be sure to read through our list of the top things to see and do in Buckingham Palace and its vicinity. On This Page: 1. Experience the Colorful Pageantry of the Changing of the Guard Ceremony. 2. Visit the Royal State Rooms. 3.

  6. Buckingham Palace tour and tickets in London

    Continue the Royal experience and book a combined Buckingham Palace and Royal Mews ticket, available daily at 1.45pm. For the ultimate Royal experience, book a Buckingham Palace tour with afternoon tea. Savour a selection of finger sandwiches, sweet treats, scones served with jam and clotted cream and a choice of tea.

  7. Buckingham Palace The Complete Guide

    Address. London SW1A 1AA, UK. Phone +44 303 123 7300. Web Visit website. Buckingham Palace, the official residence of the British sovereign since Queen Victoria and her brood took up residence in 1837, has had a rather checkered career as a Royal residence. It was so unloved at one point that it was offered to the nation as a temporary House of ...

  8. Buckingham Palace tour worth it?

    Fantastic service. The tour itself was great. The commentary was lively and informed and the small size of the group meant it was easy to ask questions. The tour ended with a glass of champagne, a 20% discount in the gift shop and a pass for free entry for the rest of the year. I don't know if those perks still exist.

  9. Buckingham Palace tour worth it?

    1. Re: Buckingham Palace tour worth it? The tour is extensive, self-guided and unrushed, and offers a wonderful peek inside Royal Family HQ. The overall experience is well-organized with lots of interpretive materials and an audio guide. Whether it's worth it to you depends on your interests.

  10. Must see in the day and at night!

    Buckingham Palace: Must see in the day and at night! - See 29,804 traveler reviews, 21,531 candid photos, and great deals for London, UK, at Tripadvisor. ... I recommend any traveler in London visit the Buckingham Palace. Tip - There is a good place for Fish and Chips around the corner if you walk about two blocks. We also did some souvenir ...

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    How To Get To Buckingham Palace By Coach Or Bus. Bus numbers 11, 211, C1 and C10 stop on Buckingham Palace Road. Victoria Coach Station is a 10-minute walk from the Palace. Use Transport for London's Plan a Journey page to determine which bus to take from your starting location. Buckingham Palace is also a stop on some hop-on, hop-off tourist ...

  12. Tips for visiting Buckingham Palace with kids

    Yes, there are limited chances to explore the Buckingham Palace state rooms outside the main summer opening, with guided tours running on selected dates from November to May. These cost £90 per person, or there are also Family Guided Tours available where tickets for children aged 5-17 cost £49.50, and under 5s are free.

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