Tour the Buckingham Palace State Rooms
Located in the heart of London, Buckingham Palace is probably the most iconic royal building in England, and one of only a few working royal palaces in all the world. The palace, which also happens to be the official London residence of the Queen herself, has 775 rooms including 78 bathrooms, and 19 State Rooms which are regularly used by the Royal family to entertain their guests. Yes, this place is magnificent!
That being said, from late July through September, the Queen makes her yearly visit to Scotland and actually allows Buckingham Palace to open to the public. It’s a royal treat and one that shouldn’t be missed if you get the opportunity!
In addition to viewing the magnificent rooms, the Buckingham Palace State Rooms Tour also features a special, limited edition exhibition that can only be seen during that year’s opening. During the year we visited the special exhibition was A Royal Welcome, which allowed visitors to enter the State Rooms through the Grand Entrance for the first time ever!
Buckingham Palace Entry
This entrance is home to the Grand Staircase, a stunning and intricately-carved, double balustrade, a.k.a. the bronze masterpiece. It was commissioned by King George IV in 1825. The Grand Entrance is usually reserved for those who come to the Palace at the invitation of The Queen, including Heads of State and Prime Ministers. The tour allowed visitors to enter here so that the experience of how people are royally welcomed to Buckingham Palace, and what goes on behind the scenes for those special visits, would be authentic.
With everything from the dresses that were designed to the fine china that was chosen, the displays recreated the special occasion settings that took place throughout the prior year. The Palace Ballroom was transformed for a State Banquet with silver that had been gilded with gold from King George IV’s Grand Service. Super fancy, indeed!
Buckingham Palace Tour Information
Without giving away too many of the details, I can say that most of what you’ll see is breathtaking and includes fascinating information, too. Each tour gives you access to a free audio guide which provides interesting facts and allows you to go at your own pace through the Buckingham Palace State Rooms.
As an added bonus, the audio tour is introduced by His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales (Prince Charles) and takes you through all 19 State Rooms as well as the annual special exhibition. The audio guides are available in many different languages and there’s also an interactive family tour, too.
After visiting the 19 incredible State Rooms and the special exhibition, you are permitted to walk into the Palace Garden. Here you can enjoy a range of nibbles and beverages, including that must-have tea in the Garden Café on the West Terrace.
Visit the Garden Shop to find a nice assortment of gifts and souvenirs created exclusively for the Royal Collection. You’ll find everything from clothing and jewelry to books and postcards to housewares, china and more. They even have a few children’s toys sprinkled in for good measure! We opted for the special souvenir guide (a picture and information book) because photos inside the palace are strictly prohibited.
Buckingham Palace Tickets
If your summer travels bring you to London, you really should head to the Buckingham Palace State Rooms for a visit. Tickets are available online, and the revenue generated from ticket sales goes directly to the Royal Collection Trust. This registered charity supports the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, its educational work and traveling exhibitions.
Plus, the State Rooms tour is a highly memorable and fantastic experience that I think you and your family will really enjoy. So, if you’re headed to London, just do it…it’s guaranteed to be a royally good time!
You may also enjoy:
- Kids’ Top 7 Places and Things to Do in London
- 5 Favorite Places to Visit at the Tower of London
- Fun Things to do in London While Avoiding the Crowds
- Read about all of our family vacations to London
- Hilton London Green Park, London Hilton on Park Lane, and The Trafalgar are all within walking distance of the Buckingham Palace State Rooms.
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Belonging to the rare breed known as native Floridian, Mary Ellen is a wife, mother and freelance writer, currently living in Sarasota, on Florida’s beautiful Gulf Coast….