London Toolkit (Spanish Pages)

Buckingham Palace Tours, Changing Of The Guard ...

Administrative Headquarters of the British Monarchy - A Visitors Briefing


Buckingham Palace from St James's Park

Buckingham Palace from St James's Park

Author: Bob Handford


Buckingham Palace Official Web Site


Buckingham Palace has served as the official London residence of Britain's sovereigns since 1837.

Today it is the administrative headquarters of the Queen. It should be stressed for visitors that Buckingham Palace is very much a working palace, despite its undoubted treasures inside, access is very limited.


Most peoples curiosity is such that they make Buckingham Palace at some time. Unless you make a visit during the eight week summer opening in August and September the closest you will get is the railing fence at the front of Buckingham Palace.


Changing of the Guard is the biggest draw for tourists and its free. You will need to get to the palace at least 45 minutes prior to it starting at 11:30 a.m. to get a good position, the crowds are very large.

See our blog link in the section further down the page.

Buckingham Palace Summer Opening & Tickets

The State Rooms of the Palace are open to visitors during the Annual Summer Opening in August and September. They are lavishly furnished with some of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection - paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, Vermeer, Poussin, Canaletto and Claude; sculpture by Canova and Chantrey; exquisite examples of porcelain, and some of the finest English and French furniture in the world.


Admission is by timed ticket with entry every 15 minutes throughout the day. Tickets are valid only on the date and at the entrance time specified on the ticket. A visit lasts between 2 and 2 hours 30 minutes.

Audio tours are included in the admission price. Photography is not permitted inside the State Rooms.

Visitors end their tour with a walk along the south side of the Palace garden, which splendid views of the west front of the Palace and the famous lake.


Buckingham Palace Tour Tickets

Royal Mews At Buckingham Palace

Year round you can visit the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace, the working stables for the royalty. You will see displays of carriages and cars used for ceremonial and state occasions there. A typical visit lasts 1 hour.

State vehicles are housed and maintained at the Royal Mews. They include the carriages used for royal and State occasions, such as State Visits, weddings and the State Opening of Parliament. Carriages from the Royal Mews are also used on roughly 50 occasions each year to convey newly appointed High Commissioners and Ambassadors from their official residence to Buckingham Palace to present their credentials to The Queen.

The Royal Mews are at the southern end of the Buckingham Palace complex mid-way along Buckingham Palace Road that connects Victoria Station and the front gates of Buckingham Palace.

The Queen's Gallery At Buckingham Palace

The Queen’s Gallery was opened by Her Majesty The Queen in May 2002, as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations. It hosts a programme of changing exhibitions from the Royal Collection.

You will see a wide-ranging collection of art and treasures held in trust by The Queen for the Nation. The Queen's Gallery is open to the public throughout the year. A typical visit will last about 90 minutes and admission includes an audio tour device.

The Queen's Gallery is along Buckingham Palace Road that connects Victoria Station and the front gates of Buckingham Palace between the Royal Mews and the palace.

Changing of the Guard At Buckingham Palace

Changing of the Guard At Buckingham Palace Video

What most people come to Buckingham Palace for, is the Changing of the Guard staged by the front entrance at 11:30 a.m. Daily during peak summer months (May to July) then every other day at other times.


Known as Changing the Guard or Guard Mounting, the process involves a new guard exchanging duty with the old guard. The soldiers are drawn from one of the five regiments of Foot Guards in the British Army: the Scots Guards, the Irish Guards, the Welsh Guards, the Grenadier Guards and the Coldstream Guards.

The handover is accompanied by a Guards band. The music played ranges from traditional military marches to songs from the shows and even familiar pop songs.


When the Queen is in residence, there are four sentries at the front of the building. When she is away there are two.


To be honest many people are disappointed by this, the crowds also make it difficult to get decent photographs. There is no 'performance' if it rains. You may find it more enjoyable to go over the other side of St James Park to Whitehall where another Changing of the Guard takes place.

Changing of the Guard here takes place daily at 11.00 am (10.00 am on Sundays) and lasts about half an hour here.

Changing of the Guard At Buckingham Palace

Here there are less crowds and no palace railings in your way of good photographs. You are also much, much closer to the Guards themselves and photo opportunities are far superior.

Getting to Buckingham Palace

No public transport goes to the front gates of Buckingham Palace. The independent visitor will need to walk for about 10 minutes from the nearest Underground stations and buses.

Nearest Underground Station is Victoria from where the palace is signposted. Nicest is to walk across Green Park, from Green Park Underground or across St James Park from Westminster, slightly longer distances.


The very popular hop on, hop off London tour buses do stop at Buckingham Palace. After Changing of the Guard you will probably wait a very long time to get a HoHo bus outside Buckingham Palace, the buses usually all being full. Best strategy is probably to walk to Trafalgar Square or Victoria and board the bus there.


Original London Tour Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing Buses

For the vast majority of visitors to London, the way you get about town on a day to day basis is by the London Underground, perhaps supplemented by the occasional red London bus using an Oyster or Travelcard.

Original London Tour Open Top Sightseeing Bus

But, especially for the first time visitor to London, the popular hop on, hop off sightseeing buses are a great orientation to the city of London getting you up to speed on the layout and spotting new places of interest you were not aware off.

You will have invested a lot of time and money in getting to London so you will want to use your time as efficiently as possible.

The hop on, hop off sightseeing buses are perhaps unrivalled in their ability to give you a speedy informed orientation to the layout of London. They also help you identify new locations that appeal to you, perhaps pointed out by the on-board guide and also give the once over those attractions you had always planned on visiting.


These buses offer comprehensive coverage covering nearly all the main sights in London. The popularity of the buses means there is one along every few minutes and you get a grandstand view perched up on the top deck of the bus.

In addition to the bus tour a river cruise and some free walking tours are all part of the deal.


Key Points of Original London Tour

- Tickets valid for 24 hours

- Three major bus tour routes supplemented by feeder services

- FREE Walking Tours! (Three of them)

- FREE Thames River Cruise

- Hop-on and hop-off service with stops at all the attractions

- English live guides + Audio guides (English, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, German, Japanese & Kids' Channel.)


Original London Tour Tickets

London Toolkit Social Media Banner London Toolkit Facebook Fan Page London Toolkit on Twitter

Copyright © 2002-2014
Travellers Toolkits Ltd All Rights Reserved