Buckingham Palace - A Visitors Briefing
Administrative Headquarters of the British Monarchy
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 get a good position, the crowds are very large.
See our blog link in the section further down the page.
|Tower of London|
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 Sèvres porcelain, and some of the finest English and French furniture in the world.
|Buckinghan Palace Summer Opening Tickets|
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 and are available in the following languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese and Russian.
Royal Mews At Buckingham Palace
From April to October it is possible to 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.
Changing of the Guard At Buckingham Palace
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.
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
The independent visitor will need to walk for about 10-15 minutes from the nearest Underground stations and buses. No public transport passes Buckingham Palace itself.
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.
The very popular hop on, hop off London tour buses do stop at Buckingham Palace.
Buckingham Palace is at the western end of St James Park/Green Park. It is a very nice short walk to wander across St James Park, much of it by the lake to Westminster or Whitehall. Here you will find such icons as Big Ben, London Eye and 10 Downing Street.
|Self Guided London Icons Walk Including Buckingham Palace|
Join us on our step by step self guided walking tour of London's main tourist icons.
The walk includes Big Ben, London Eye, Downing Street, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and much, much more.
Its a circular walk so you can join and leave it at many places along the way, including Buckingham Palace.
Simple to follow instructions and street map and best of all its FREE!
Viewed From The Lake In St James Park