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Buckingham Palace tours, Changing of the Guard

State Rooms and Palace Gardens opening - a visitor's guide

Buckingham Palace summer opening and tickets
Buckingham Palace: State Rooms open in the summer with a timed ticket

Buckingham Palace has served as the official London residence of Britain's sovereigns since 1837. Buckingham Palace is one of the few working palaces remaining in the world today.

The fabulous residence of His Majesty The King is for many a must-visit destination on any visit to London. However the Palace is not open all year round - to come up close to fabulous works by Rembrandt, Rubens and Canaletto as well as the 19 exquisitely furnished State Rooms, you need to book tickets for the summer tours, available from the end of July to late September.

Buckingham Palace tickets 2024 - available now

Included in your ticket is access to Buckingham Palace Gardens, which opened for the first time in 2021.

You also have the opportunity to extend your day with a visit to the Royal Mews (open March - October).

If you find yourself in London outside the summer months, The Queen's Gallery is open year round and offers the chance to see a changing exhibition of items from the Royal Collection.

If you do not wish to enter inside the Palace but simply wish to see the spectacle of the Changing of the Guard, we discuss on this page.

For a really alternative traditional English experience, why not combine Buckingham Palace tickets with a 1950s classic Routemaster bus and river cruise?

Want even more Royal days out in London? See our page Royal Palaces and Castles in London for highlights of the best.

BOOK Buckingham Palace 2024 tickets   Palace opening times 2024   What will I see?   Location   Royal Mews - BOOK TICKETS   Queen's Gallery - BOOK TICKETS   Changing of the Guard   Tour: Windsor Castle & Buckingham Palace   Royal themed tours in London   Other royal palaces

Buckingham Palace tickets, London

BUCKINGHAM PALACE TICKETS 2024

Buckingham Palace, London

Book tickets for Buckingham Palace - only available 15 July to 29 September

With option to add on Royal Mews

• The State Rooms • The Royal Collection • Paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens and Canaletto • Audio tour included • Famous 42-acre Buckingham Palace Gardens

Buckingham Palace opening times 2024

Buckingham Palace gate

Buckingham Palace summer tours

Buckingham Palace is open every Monday and Thursday - Sunday from 15th July - 29th September 2024.

Entry works on a timed admission system, which is the time you select when purchasing your ticket. You should arrive no earlier than 10 minutes before the entry time on your ticket.

Alternative Buckingham Palace options rest of the year

The Queen's Gallery is a permanent space dedicated to changing exhibitions of items from the Royal Collection and is open year round.

The fantastic spectacle that is the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace is another choice if you are in London outside the summer months.

The Royal Mews (the working stables for the royalty) is open for a longer period than the palace itself - from March to October.

Buckingham Palace - what will I see?

Buckingham Palace avenue, London
The magnificence of Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is a fully working royal palace, housing not only The King, but serving as the administrative headquarters of the Royal Household. It should be stressed for visitors that Buckingham Palace is very much a working palace, despite its undoubted treasures inside, access is very limited.


State Rooms

The 19 State Rooms are exquisitely furnished with fine examples of French and English antique furniture and display some of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection, including works by Rubens, Canaletto and Rembrandt, sculpture by Canova and porcelain by Sèvres.

Buckingham Palace Gardens

Often called the ‘walled oasis in the middle of London', the gardens of Buckingham Palace are a true sight to behold. Home to 30 different species of bird and over 350 different wild flowers, there is plenty to see and enjoy. Visitors finish their tour with a walk along the south side of the garden, taking in views of the famous lake and the west front of the palace.

 

Audio guides

Your ticket includes an audio guide available in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Russian and Brazilian Portuguese.

How to get to Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace from St James's Park, London
View Buckingham Palace from St James's Park

Location of the palace

Buckingham Palace is situated within the Royal Parks of St James and Green Park. Westminster and Trafalgar Square are a pleasant walk across St James Park and its delightful lake. Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Mansion House, Churchill's War Rooms, Trafalgar Square, 10 Downing Street and the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery are all within 10 minutes' walk.

Nearest underground station

Victoria Underground & Railway Station (Circle, District and Victoria Lines) is 5-10 minutes' walk passing the Royal Mews. A much more pleasant walk is from Westminster across St James Park, about 10-15 minutes from Westminster Abbey. You can also walk to Buckingham Palace from Hyde Park Corner or Green Park Underground Stations (both Piccadilly Lines) in 5 to 10 minutes.

Hop-on, hop-off buses and Thames river services

All of London's hop on, hop off sightseeing buses stop at Buckingham Palace. However, immediately after the Changing of the Guard you are best advised to walk to Victoria or Trafalgar Square as waiting times to board a bus with seats available will be long.

Worth knowing...

There are several changing of the guard ceremonies besides that at Buckingham Palace. Changing of the Guards at Horse Guards is popular with much less crowds and if you visit Windsor Castle you'll see changing of the guard there too at much closer quarters than Buckingham Palace.

Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace - Royal Mews, London
Royal Mews

The Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace is 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.

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 Royal Mews is open from March to October.

Book tickets for the Royal Mews

The Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace

The Queen's Gallery

The Queen’s Gallery was opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 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 Monarchy for the Nation.

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.

The Queen's Gallery is open to the public throughout the year.

Book tickets for the Queen's Gallery

Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace

Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace
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 from 10.45am (actual handover at 11am). 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.

If the Monarch is in residence, there are four sentries at the front of the building, if 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 Guards - Horse Guards

Changing of the Guard at Horse Guards takes place daily at 11am (10am 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.

Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace tours - and Changing of the Guard

There are two different tours visiting Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle - one includes entry to both, the other to Windsor Castle only. Buckingham Palace is open for two months only during the summer from July to September. If you are not in London during this time, or do not wish to visit inside Buckingham Palace, The Royal London and Royal Windsor tour might be just the tour for you.

Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle Tour

Tour available during summer months July - September only:

Experience two of Britain's finest Royal residences on this fantastic full-day tour to Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle. Get a rare glimpse inside the King of England's official residence at Buckingham Palace before heading to the largest, continuously occupied castle in Europe and ancestral home of the monarchy at Windsor Castle.

Royal London and Royal Windsor Tour

The Royal London & Windsor tour is available from April - December, and includes the Changing of the Guard outside Buckingham Palace (on selected days).

You will enjoy a panoramic drive through London with your expert tour guide, hearing interesting stories and facts about London's long history.
Through the city of Westminster, you will see all of London's most iconic sights, including Westminster Abbey, the iconic Elizabeth Tower, also known as 'Big Ben' and much, much more.

In the afternoon you'll visit the historic town of Windsor, set in a glorious riverside location famous for its links to the British crown. Wander through the cobbled streets and browse the quaint tea rooms and shopping arcades.

windsor castle

WINDSOR CASTLE AND BUCKINGHAM PALACE FROM LONDON

Buckingham Palace

Windsor Castle & Buckingham Palace - available end July - end September

• Entry to Windsor Castle • Entry to Buckingham Palace • Professional guide • Luxury air-conditioned coach with free Wi-Fi • London in Your Pocket app access

windsor castle

ROYAL LONDON & ROYAL WINDSOR - DAY TOUR FROM LONDON

Door to door private minibus transfer London with stop at Windsor Castle

Day tour visiting Royal London attractions and Windsor Castle

• Royal London Tour • Royal Windsor Tour • Entrance to Windsor Castle • See Changing of the Guard - subject to day

Other Royal themed tours in London

There are lots of Royal-themed tours on offer in London. Options range from fantastic panoramic coach tours to in-depth walking tours with knowledgeable guides.

Either way you'll learn a lot about the Royal Family and classic Royal attractions in London. These tours are becoming very popular so get booked up quickly.

For the ultimate in luxury there are a couple of afternon tea options for you: enjoy the fantastic Royal London coach tour together with a luxurious Afternoon Tea at the Cellarium Café & Terrace, Westminster Abbey, or Rubens at the Palace (located with fantastic views over the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace).

Changing of Guard London

ROYAL LONDON COACH TOUR

buckingham palace

Half Day Coach Tour - Royal London Tour (with River Cruise or Afternoon Tea at the Rubens at the Palace)

• Royal London panoramic coach tour • Changing of the Guard Ceremony • Option to add on Thames River Cruise • Option to add on Afternoon Tea at Rubens at The Palace

Westminster Abbey, London

ROYAL LONDON TOUR WITH WESTMINSTER ABBEY ENTRANCE & AFTERNOON TEA

Afternoon Tea London

Half Day Coach Tour - Royal London Tour with Westminster Abbey & Afternoon Tea

• Royal London tour • Admission to Westminster Abbey •  Expert Blue Badge Guide • VOX personal headsets • Afternoon Tea at the Cellarium Café & Terrace


cursed child theatre harry potter walking tour london

WIZARD WALKS & ROYALTY AND LANDMARKS TOUR

houses of parliament

Two walking tours: Harry Potter themed Wizard Walks + Royalty & Landmarks Tour

• Wizard Walks guided walking tour • Royalty & Landmarks guided walking tour • Option to add on Hop-on bus ticket • Option to add on Poppie's fish & chips

Changing of Guard London

ROYAL LONDON WALKING TOUR WITH FISH & CHIPS MEAL

Buckingham Palace, London
Royal London Walking Tour with fish & chips at Poppie's Restaurant

• Royal Walking Tour through London • Meal at Poppie's Fish & Chips Restaurant • 2-hr walking tour in London • Professional guide • See the Crown Estate and marvel at the Horse Guards • London in Your Pocket App Access

Changing of Guard London

ROYAL LONDON PRIVATE COACH TOUR

private royal coach tour london

See London in luxury with a private tour and driver/guide

• See London's iconic landmarks including the Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace and much more • Watch the Changing of the Guard Ceremony • Live commentary throughout your journey in a private luxury vehicle

Other royal palaces in London

Tower of London: Founded by William the Conqueror in 1066-7 and enlarged and modified by successive sovereigns, today the Tower of London is one of the world's most famous and spectacular fortresses. In its time it has been a royal palace, a fortress, a prison, an armoury, a treasury and an astronomical observatory. The Tower of London now displays the Crown Jewels.

Kensington Palace: A rich royal history. Kensington Palace can boast of being the birth place of Queen Victoria and the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Kensington is the home of a host of Georgian monarchs and royalty including Princess Diana who have all left their mark on this impressive Palace. Explore the vast state apartments which contain an array of beautiful paintings and sculptures.

Windsor Castle: Windsor Castle is one of three official residences of The King and has been home to the Sovereign for over 900 years. The King would call Windsor Castle his home.

The castle is the largest inhabited castle in the world and the oldest in continuous occupation. The imposing towers and battlements of the castle loom large from every approach to the town, creating one of the world's most spectacular skylines.

Hampton Court: For almost 200 years, Hampton Court Palace was at the centre of English court life, politics and national history. Its most infamous resident was Henry VIII.

Today Hampton Court is an easy day trip for all visitors to London in vast grounds next to the River Thames.

Royal Palaces in London - more information

POPULAR LONDON ATTRACTIONS - ADVANCE PURCHASE AND/OR FAST TRACK TICKETS

London Eye Amazing panoramic flight on the world's highest observation wheel. » Fast track tickets available.
The Shard Tallest building in Western Europe with viewing of London from the top. » Fast track tickets available.
St Paul's Cathedral Cathedral of the Diocese of London, venue for royal weddings. » Pre-book to guarantee entry.
Westminster Abbey Along with St Paul's, England's main religious building.» Pre-book to guarantee entry.
Tower of London Home of the Crown Jewels and a rich thousand year history. » Fast track tickets available.
Madame Tussauds See wax statues of the most famous people in the world. » Fast track tickets available.
London Dungeon The creepiest attraction in town, the London Dungeon. » Fast track tickets available.
Hampton Court Palace Henry VIII Medieval Palace set in vast grounds. » Pre-book to save money.
The London Zoo World class zoo in the centre of London. » Flexi tickets available.

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