Things to do in London

Read this before going inside the Buckingham Palace

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The heart of the United Kingdom's constitutional monarchy is Buckingham Palace, an iconic symbol of regal opulence. It served as the late Her Majesty The Queen's official residence and stands as a significant architectural beauty in the heart of London, drawing visitors from all around. A visit to Buckingham Palace is a must for any tourist, offering experiences like witnessing the famous Changing of the Guard ceremony, exploring the grand complex and its expansive gardens, glimpsing the opulent Royal Collection, and delving into the splendor of the Royal lineage. Visiting and touring Buckingham Palace is an essential part of the London experience.

Learn everything you need to know about visiting Buckingham Palace, taking a tour, and discovering the palace's highlights.

Buckingham Palace - In a nutshell

Opening Hours

July - August: Open Daily from 9:30am - 5:15pm
September - October : Open Daily from 9:30am - 4:15pm

Know before you go

Best time to visit: July - August
Starting Prices for Buckingham Palace Tickets at €17.
Suggested duration: 2 and 2.5 hours
Location: London


London SW1A 1AA, United Kingdom
Get there

Where can I get my Buckingham Palace tickets?

Explore Buckingham Palace with Headout's guided or self audio-guided tours to witness its opulence firsthand! From the historic walls to the luxurious rooms and the Royal Mews, every corner of Buckingham Palace invites a serene visit.

Before purchasing your tickets, note that separate tickets are needed for access to the State Rooms, Queen's Gallery, and Royal Mews, in addition to the entry ticket. If you plan to explore these special areas during your tour, consider purchasing combo tickets online to save time and money.

Top 5 reasons to visit the Buckingham Palace in London

  • Buckingham Palace serves as the official London home of the British monarch. Throughout much of the year, it welcomes visitors who can explore its staterooms, join exhibitions and events, and wander through the gardens.
  • Since 1837, Buckingham Palace has housed British monarchs, doubling as a significant workplace. Here, the queen fulfills official duties and hosts important state events.
  • With over 700 rooms, including 19 state rooms, 52 royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices, and 78 bathrooms, the palace also features facilities like a post office, cinema, and police station.
  • It's no surprise that Buckingham Palace ranks among London's top tourist spots, drawing over half a million visitors annually.
  • The Queen's Gallery at the palace remains open year-round, showcasing various temporary exhibitions. Visitors can also enjoy the gallery's café, shop, and complimentary audio guide.

Plan your visit

Best time to visit the Buckingham Palace

Best time of the year to visit Buckingham Palace is during summer, from July to August. The sun is out, and the flowers in the gardens are blooming. You can take a walk around the palace grounds, or go on a tour of the inside of the palace.

Buckingham Palace Opening hours

The Buckingham Palace is open to the public from July to October only.

  • From July - August:
    9:30am - 4:15pm
    Entry closes at 7:30pm
  • From September - October:
    9:30am - 4:15pm
    Entry closes at 6:30pm

Getting to Buckingham Palace

By Bus

    The following bus routes take you to the Buckingham Palace Road –
  • 11, 211, C1 and C10
  • Victoria Coach Station, for longer distance coach arrivals, is about a ten-minute walk.
  • 237 and 267 (stops at the Kew Bridge station)

By Tube
The nearest London Tube Stations are Victoria, Hyde Park Corner, and St James's Park Green Park.

By Train
The closest rail stations are the Victoria Station and Charing Cross.


History behind the Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace Tour

Buckingham Palace stands as one of the world's few remaining active royal residences today. However, its origins are humble. Initially, the site was a mulberry garden planted by King James I between 1603 and 1625 to cultivate silkworms. Unfortunately, the mulberry bushes were not suitable for silk production. Consequently, King James I commissioned the construction of Buckingham House on the same grounds. Although not an official palace, it served as a royal residence starting in 1761 when King George III and his family resided there.

Over time, Buckingham House underwent numerous renovations. In 1825, under the direction of George IV, it was transformed into a grand palace. At one point, the house was so unappreciated that it was offered to the nation as a temporary House of Parliament. It wasn't until 1837 when Queen Victoria made it her Official Royal Residence that it gained prominence. She engaged several architects who renovated the house, added the East Wing, and built the iconic central balcony upon her request.

Visiting Buckingham Palace offers a journey through 315 years of British Royal history, showcasing various rooms, paintings, documents, and more.

Top 10 things to see inside the Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace's inside is opulent, grand and all things royal. Taking a guided tour of the Buckingham Palace is highly recommended and during your Buckingham Palace visit you will be able to walk through an array of rooms that will take you through years of British Royal history. A few Buckingham Palace rooms you ought to watch out for are listed below. Make sure you don't miss out the famous Change of Guards at the Buckingham Palace.

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White drawing room

Do you fancy a look inside the State Rooms? The White Drawing Room is considered the grandest of all. It's elegantly designed with roll-top desks by Riesener and a magnificent gilded piano by Erard.

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The palace's largest room, used for state banquets and ceremonies, showcases Victorian design with features like the Throne Canopy by Lutyens and a triumphal arch with winged statues.

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Throne Room

Famous for royal wedding photos, the Throne Room houses thrones used for ceremonies. Look for Queen Victoria's throne and chairs used by George VI and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, along with a plaster frieze depicting scenes from the Wars of the Roses.

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At the heart of Buckingham Palace are 19 lavishly furnished staterooms with paintings by renowned artists like Rembrandt, Rubens, and Vermeer. These rooms are where the Queen and Royal Family host guests on official occasions.

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Music Room

Formerly the Saloon State Room, it's where royal christenings happen and hosts large lunch parties. It connects to the picture Gallery and is ornate and spacious.

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Blue Drawing Room

Resembling stone Onex, it features blue flock wallpaper and scagliola columns, with a portrait of Queen Victoria and stunning chandeliers.

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State Dining Room

Fit for up to sixty guests, this room hosts Royal Banquets and displays a magnificent collection of gold plate and other items acquired over generations.

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Picture gallery

Housing the Queen's collection, it features famous paintings by Canaletto, Rembrandt, Rubens, and Italian Baroque masterpieces.

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Palace Gardens

A "walled oasis" in London, the garden is stunning and home to over 350 wildflower species, particularly beautiful in summer.

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Change of Guard

A special event at Buckingham Palace, happening on specific days with a ceremonial march and music, attracting many visitors.

Inside the Buckingham Palace - Royal Mews, Queen's Gallery, Clarence House

As mentioned before, certain parts of the Buckingham Palace require an extra ticket for entry. The 3 most popular areas that are worth the extra money are the Royal Mews, Queen's Gallery and Clarence House. Read more about each and grab a discounted ticket for entry!

1The Royal Mews

Buckingham Palace

The Royal Mews in London is known as one of the best working stables globally. It houses a royal collection of historical coaches, carriages, and the Queen’s horses. Don't miss the impressive Diamond Jubilee State Coach, the magnificent Gold State Coach, and the Australian State Coach on display. The Mews also handles all road travel arrangements for The Queen and the Royal Family. You can visit/tour it from February to November each year.

2Queen's Gallery

Buckingham Palace

The Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace was constructed using the damaged remains of a former private chapel during World War II. It's now a permanent area for changing exhibitions from the Royal collection. The gallery showcases a wonderful collection of paintings, sculptures, old masterpieces, and rare furniture, along with a dazzling display of decorative and priceless treasures held in trust for the Nation by Her Majesty The Queen.

3Clarence House

Buckingham Palace

During World War II, the Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace was built using parts of a previous private chapel that had been damaged. Today, it's a permanent space for rotating exhibitions from the Royal collection. Visitors can explore a fantastic array of paintings, sculptures, ancient works, and unique furniture, as well as a stunning exhibition of decorative and invaluable treasures held in trust for the Nation by Her Majesty The Queen.

Best recommended Buckingham Palace tours

While you're in London, pair up your Buckingham Palace visit with another tour around London to earn savings!
Discover London better while spending less with these Buckingham Palace tour tickets. Be it the Stonehenge, Windsor Castle or HOHO, save money while exploring!

Know before you visit Buckingham Palace

  • When buying your ticket, choose a specific time slot due to the timed admission system in place.
  • It's recommended to wear comfortable shoes since the visitor route involves a half-mile walk through the garden to reach the exit.
  • Arrive a little early as there is security screening, similar to what you'd find at any royal residence.
  • An audio descriptive tour is offered in English for blind and partially sighted visitors, while British Sign Language videos are available for the deaf.
  • Keep in mind that security and opening hours at Buckingham Palace, being a working royal palace, may change suddenly.
  • After touring the 19 rooms, you can explore the gardens or enjoy light refreshments such as tea, coffee, sandwiches, and cakes at the Garden Cafe.
  • Free multimedia tours are provided in 9 languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, and Chinese.
  • Families with children under 12 can enjoy the family multimedia tour available in English.
  • hotography is strictly prohibited in certain rooms, and all visitors must adhere to this rule.

FAQs: Buckingham Palace

Can tourists visit Buckingham Palace?

During most of the year Buckingham Palace is the office and London residence of The Queen. But since 1993, during the summer months, the palace is open to the public. Visitors can walk around 19 magnificent State Rooms, used during the year for official entertaining and ceremonial functions.

Can you go to Buckingham Palace for free?

Though the Palace is generally not open to the public, during summer you can visit its State Apartments (admission charge) and see the Queen's large garden and collection of artwork. You can however see the Changing of the Guard for free at 11.30 am every morning during summer and every second morning during winter.

Is it worth visiting Buckingham Palace?

One of the things that all Americans will most likely do when traveling to London is visiting Buckingham Palace. A far cry from some of the overrated tourist attractions in London, the palace is still a working royal residence and is definitely worth a visit.

Can you wear jeans to Buckingham Palace?

Their guidelines state: “Smart attire for men includes the wearing of a jacket and tie, and for women a trouser or skirt suit. Those wearing jeans or trainers will not be admitted and casually dressed members of the media will be turned away. This also applies to technicians.”

Is there a dress code for visiting Buckingham Palace?

There is no formal dress code required to enter the Palace. Alternative arrangements can be made for visitors with disabilities on request

Can you take pictures inside Buckingham Palace?

Although photography is not allowed, they do provide an audio tour to make your experience much more enjoyable. A visit to the palace and State Rooms will take about 2 - 2 ½ hours to see.

Can you have tea at Buckingham Palace?

Enjoy an exceptional Bottomless Champagne Afternoon Tea in our Palace Lounge, overlooking the Royal Mews of Buckingham Palace. Delicious vegetarian, vegan, halal and gluten-free alternatives are available.

Buckingham Palace Guide