Ultimate Inside Buckingham Palace tour

Ultimate Inside Buckingham Palace tour

Buckingham Palace Inside Tour

For those visiting London from the end of July to the end of September, you may be lucky enough to grab some tickets to see inside Buckingham Palace.

Ultimate Inside Buckingham Palace tour
©Diliff Own-work CC-BY-SA-3.0

Yes you heard that right every summer the Queen allows visitors to see an inside Buckingham Palace tour and if you act quick enough you can book tickets online and not miss out.

exterior of Buckingham Palace by the gates with the hordes of tourists

Other Royal residences you can visit include Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Clarence House, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, Balmoral which you can see from the end of March until the end of July. There’s also Highgrove House which you can visit the gardens established by Prince Charles, and the Tower of London. All these are open to the public at certain times of the year.

Buckingham Palace is open to the public for a few short months in the summer when the Queen isn’t in residence.

How to see Buckingham Palace and possibly royalty

  • Trooping the Colour
  • The State Rooms
  • State Rooms and Gardens Highlights Tour
  • The Royal Mews
  • The Queen’s Gallery
  • Royal Day Out
  • Evening tour of Buckingham Palace
  • Clarence House Tour
  • Official Palace Gift Shops

I’ve been to the Palace many times but never managed to see the inside as it was only opened to the public in 1993. That kinda indicates how old I am lol.

Trooping the Colour

I watched the Queen Mother and Diana ride down the Mall in a gold carriage. I’ve seen Prince Phillip and Prince Charles on beautiful horses all during the Trooping of the Colour.

Ultimate Inside Buckingham Palace tour

Trooping the Colour is held to celebrate the Queen’s official birthday. The Queen’s actual birthday is on April 21st but she also celebrates her “official birthday” on the second Saturday in June when the Trooping of the Colour takes place.

This is a moment you will never forget as you are crowded to the railings with literally thousands and thousands of other tourists and citizens of London. The Queen leaves Buckingham Palace in her carriage and rides down the Mall to arrive at the Horse Guards parade precisely at 11 am. Often accompanied by members of the Royal Family on horseback and various carriages.

the Royal Family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace during one of the many ceremonies
©Carfax2 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

The Trooping of the Colour is free and there are over 1400 soldiers, 400 musicians and 200 horses involved. Once the parade is over the RAF does a fly-by with the Royal family watching from the balcony of Buckingham Palace. Off in the distance in Green Park, you will hear the 41 gun salute taking place.

fly over Buckingham Palace the jet trails leaving smoke in red white and blue against a cloud filled sky

Details of the Trooping the Colour Parade, including how to apply for places in the seated stands at Horse Guard’s Parade, are all on the Household Division’s website.

Trooping of the colour with Buckingham Palace in the background
©Ibagli Public-Domain

If you are fascinated by royalty and want to see the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh ride in state you can see this when they ride to open the Houses of Parliament. This is when the black and gold-trimmed Irish State Coach comes out. The coach travels from Buckingham Palace to the Houses of Parliament and this usually takes place late October or early November.

The royal Golden coach of the Queen at the Mews Buckingham Palace
©Royal Collection Trust

The beautiful Gold State Coach only comes out from the Mews for Jubilee and Coronations.

Coronation Coach at Buckingham Palace
©Royal Collection Trust

When the Queen and family head to Balmoral for their summer holidays Buckingham Palace is opened to the public for some inside tours. Remember this is a working royal palace.

Tips for your Buckingham Palace Tour

  • wear comfy walking shoes there is a lot to see and lots of waiting
  • It’s a half-mile walk through the Gardens at the end of the tour
  • no photography is allowed inside the Palace State Rooms
  • tours are audio guided in several languages
  • no strollers or pushchairs in the State Rooms
  • there are no facilities available until the Royal Gardens
  • Yes you can use your camera in the Gardens
  • There are metal detectors and heavy security
  • Yes Buckingham Palace is accessible to wheelchairs All venues are fully accessible but wheelchair access and step-free access must be pre-booked 
  • There is a cafe and gift shop near the gardens
  • All tours include a 1-year pass if you ask for your ticket to be used as a donation when purchased
  • Pre-book your ticket online

Which Ticket when booking a Buckingham Palace Tour?

The State Rooms Tickets

With this ticket, you are off to see 19 stunning State Rooms along with herds of other tourists. These tickets have a timed admission so make sure you are on time or you may be refused entry. Wear comfortable shoes and be prepared for long line ups.

Every year, Buckingham Palace’s summer opening features a special exhibition. 2018 celebrated the 70th birthday of Charles, the Prince of Wales and 2019 featured Queen Victoria and the 200th anniversary of her birth.  

There is always a temporary exhibit which is included with the State Room tour. This exhibit showcases many of the gifts given to the Queen over the years from countries around the world.

You will be able to see the State Dining Room set for a feast. It features the Victoria pattern dessert service and the Alhambra Table fountain is the beautiful centrepiece.

State Dining Room and Banquet Hall in Buckingham Palace
©Royal Collection Trust

The State Rooms all contain items from the Royal Collection. Paintings adorn the walls by the grandmasters and acclaimed artists, sculpture and furniture by the finest craftsmen in the world, all available to view and admire.

Queen Victoria's gown in Buckingham Palace
©Royal Collection Trust

George IV commissioned much of the work which transformed Buckingham House into a palace in 1825. The architect given this prestigious task was John Nash, who brought the King’s vision to life and made sure the Monarch’s taste was stamped firmly throughout but included his taste in dramatic arches and features.

State Rooms and Garden – Buckingham Palace Tour

You can also take a combined Buckingham Palace State Rooms tour and the Royal Garden guided tour if you love a spectacular English garden. The Garden tour includes the 3-acre lake, the Rose Garden, the enormous Waterloo Vase and the Palace tennis court, where King George VI and Fred Perry played in the 1930s.

The Garden Highlights tour will take around 45 minutes and you meet at the bottom of the steps to the Gardens upon leaving the State Rooms.

Ultimate Inside Buckingham Palace tour
©Shealah Craighead

Prices: £25 adult for the Staterooms Tour Adult  £35.00 for a guided tour of Gardens and Staterooms

Visiting The Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace

The Royal Mews is where an enormous collection of historic carriages and coaches are kept for the use of the Royal Family. The Royal Mews is also responsible for all the road travel arrangements for the family.

Ultimate Inside Buckingham Palace tour

The Royal Mews are open from February to November every year and an adult ticket is£12.00.

It is here you will see the Gold State Coach and the Diamond Jubilee State Coach.

The Queens Gallery

 Every year the Queens Gallery showcases an exhibition of some of the finest artwork in the country. From November of 2019 until May 2020 the exhibition will be George IV: Art & Spectacle and a ticket is Adult  £13.50, you can combine a visit to the Royal Mews and the Queen’s Gallery at the ticket price of  £23.00 for an Adult.

Picture Gallery
©Royal Collection Trust

If you are interested in doing an ultimate tour of Buckingham Palace then you must take the Royal Day Out. This tour is quite comprehensive and includes the State Rooms, Royal Mews the Queen’s Gallery and the Buckingham Palace Gardens but not a guided tour.  

You will see the Throne Room, the White Drawing Room where the Queen receives official guests and of course the spectacular Ballroom.

the White room
©Royal Collection Trust
The throne room in Buckingham Palace
©Royal Collection Trust

Along the route, you will be treated to some of the finest treasures in the world. English and French furniture from masters like Rembrandt, Reubens and Canaletto along with the special exhibitions.

Day Out Buckingham Palace Tour

The Day Out Tours lasts around 4.5 hours again you must book your tickets in advance as they all have an allotted time frame for the tour. Tickets for adults are priced at £45

A Private Evening Tour of Buckingham Palace

With the gilded ceilings and glittering chandeliers, the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace provide a perfect setting for the many famous masterpieces from the Royal Collection. In the company of an expert guide, you will be taken on a tour through these magnificent rooms when the Palace has closed to visitors for the day.

The experience lasts around 2-2.5 hours and ends with a glass of champagne, a copy of the official souvenir guide and 20% discount in the shop. Cost of the ticket is £85 and they sell out very quickly so book yours as soon as you can.

Royal Gifts’, the special exhibition at the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace.
Source: Royal Collection Trust / (c) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017.

Visiting Clarence House

If you love William and Kate and are visiting England in August book your tickets to visit their home Clarence House.

Clarence House where Kate and William live
©Royal Collection Trust

Clarence House is only open during August for the public to visit. Built by John Nash, who it is believed also built Swiss Cottage in Ireland. Clarence House was built for George III’s third son, the Duke of Clarence, and was previously home to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother for almost fifty years.

Drawing room at Clarence Houe
©Royal Collection Trust

The arrangement of the rooms and the groupings of their contents remain much as they were in Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother’s time, with important works from Her Majesty’s collection of art in their original positions. A tour of the House includes five rooms on the ground floor where official engagements are undertaken by Their Royal Highnesses. 

Ultimate Inside Buckingham Palace tour
©Royal Collection Trust

Your tour of Clarence House will allow you to see the renowned Gobelin Tapestry Gobelins tapestry panel depicting Mahommed Ali’s massacre of the Mamelukes in Cairo.

Ultimate Inside Buckingham Palace tour
©Royal Collection Trust

On display are Chippendale chairs, original portraits of members of the Royal Family going back centuries.

A first edition of Alice in Wonderland Signed “From the original Alice”. Alice Hargreaves, née Liddell who is  thought of as being Lewis Carroll’s inspiration for the character of Alice.

Ultimate Inside Buckingham Palace tour
©Royal Collection Trust

To a Landseer Portrait Queen Victoria’s royal pets the greyhound Nero, Hector the Scottish deerhound, Dash the spaniel and Lory, the parrot seen cracking nuts.

Ultimate Inside Buckingham Palace tour
©Royal Collection Trust

The tour of Clarence House begins in the garden, where you can see the formal area added by The Prince of Wales in 2004–5 in memory of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. An Adult Ticket costs £10.30.

Gifts and souvenirs from the Buckingham Palace Tour

Queens Gallery Shop

After finishing your tour, drop by The Queen’s Gallery Shop for a souvenir. With a collectable range of bespoke china, homeware and postcards as well as glittering jewellery, and gold life-size thrones in the children’s area.

Ultimate Inside Buckingham Palace tour

Buckingham Palace Official Gift Shop

Located, outside of the Palace walls, Buckingham Palace Road is tucked around the corner from the grand façade; just a short walk from Victoria coach and rail station.

Ultimate Inside Buckingham Palace tour

The Royal Mews Gift Shop

Visit the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace, and discover a delightful range inspired by coaches, carriages and horses used by The Queen and members of the Royal family.

Ultimate Inside Buckingham Palace tour

Buckingham Palace Garden Shop

Open only during the summer months, the Garden Shop is beautifully situated in the gardens of Buckingham Palace.

Ultimate Inside Buckingham Palace tour

Explore the magnificent state rooms at Buckingham Palace, this summer. Enjoy luxury cakes and tea at the café on the West Terrace and discover wonderful Royal gifts in the Garden Shop.

Now if you can’t make it to England in the summer to visit Buckingham Palace you can see the outside of the Palace at any time of the year.

Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace

You can also see the Changing of the Guard which is one of the most traditional and recognizable ceremonies connected to Buckingham Palace. The correct name of the ceremony known as Changing the Guard is Guard Mounting.

Ultimate Inside Buckingham Palace tour
©William Warby

In this process, a New Guard exchanges duty with the Old Guard and both Guards are drawn from one of the regiments of Foot Guards.

Ultimate Inside Buckingham Palace tour

Don’t forget to check the date you plan to visit, as the Changing of the Guard can occur at different times and on occasions without music or ceremony.

Ultimate Inside Buckingham Palace tour
©Visit London

Times for the Changing of the Guard

10:43 – Old Guard leaves St James’s Palace for Buckingham Palace

10:57 – New Guard leaves Wellington Barracks for Buckingham Palace

11:00 – Official start time for the Changing of the Guard ceremony

The Changing of the Guard ceremony lasts for about 45 minutes

There’s plenty more sights to see in London if you don’t manage to make it to Buckingham Palace. Do you have a favourite?

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