Visiting Buckingham Palace is top of the list for any sightseeing trip to London. There are lots of palaces in London including Kensington and Hampton Court but Buckingham Palace is definitely my favorite.
No matter how many times I find myself visiting Buckingham Palace I am always awed by the sight of it. It’s much bigger than you might image and so beautiful. It’s also exciting to see the balcony where the Royal Family stood on so many historic occasions.
However there’s so much more to Buckingham Palace than just the outside of the building itself.
Changing the Guard
Watch the Changing of the Guard daily at 11.30am from May to July and on alternate days throughout the rest of the year. Kids and adults alike love the music and sheer spectacle of this traditional ceremony.
Check out the Royal Collection Trust website for more information. There’s even a Changing of the Guard App. Arrive early as there’s always a crowd and be sure to dress for the unpredictable British weather.
Go Inside Buckingham Palace
Step inside the world of the Royal Family with a tour of the State Rooms. Open daily in August and September, these timed self-guided audio tours book up very early so do buy your tickets in advance. The State Rooms are breathtaking – incredibly opulent and full of beautiful furniture and works of art.
Special evening tours of the State Rooms are offered at various times throughout the year. Friendly and knowledgeable guides take smaller groups through the State Rooms, sharing anecdotes and letting you take a closer look at the furniture and paintings. I’ve attended three of these tours and they are well worth the (much higher) price of admission.
Buckingham Palace is located at the top of The Mall on Buckingham Palace Road. The closest underground (London’s subway) station is Green Park on the Victoria Line. Walk out of the station, across Green Park and through the Canada Gates to the palace.
The Royal Mews
If you are visiting when the State Rooms aren’t open, you can still step inside the working world of Buckingham Palace by visiting The Royal Mews. This is where the horses used in State Ceremonies and the beautiful state coaches are kept. My favorite is the Glass Coach, used in the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer. You can also see the historic livery worn by the Queen’s Coachmen. Be sure to check opening times before you visit.
The Queen’s Gallery
Offering a changing program of exhibitions throughout the year, The Queen’s Gallery showcases the art and treasures held in trust for the nation by The Queen. The Queen’s Gallery is kid-friendly and offers a free family activity bag for use during your tour. Children can also frame and display their own artwork as a gift for The Queen in The Millar Room.
The Royal Mews and The Queen’s Gallery are located around the corner from Buckingham Palace in Buckingham Palace Road (on your left as you face the Palace).
Don’t miss visiting Buckingham Palace on your next visit to London. Tickets for Tours of the State Rooms, The Royal Mews and The Queen’s Gallery are available from The Royal Collection Trust. Combination and family tickets are available. Tickets purchased from the Trust can be converted to an annual pass on the day of your visit to give you 12 months complimentary admission to the site(s) you have visited.
Don’t miss Ten Ways to See London on the Cheap.
April Harris is a food, lifestyle and travel writer who lives in Berkshire, England. She shares inspiration, tips and trends for anyone who loves food, cooking, entertaining, fashion, travel and the finer things in life at The 21st Century Housewife.