"Her Majesty's home is open only in summer" Buckingham Palace Tip by Trekki
Buckingham Palace, London: 423 reviews and 701 photos
In summer, Buckingham Palace opens its doors to the State Rooms for visitors. I can only highly recommend to anyone who does not live in a country with any kind of monarchy to book this tour. Or who is completely fed up with the addiction to gossip and publicity of a certain late (?97) obviously psychologically disturbed woman and the hideous yellow press which constantly jumped/s on. It will change perceptions, generated by this yellow press! This (being fed up) was the case with me (my mother is addicted to the yellow press) so I was very reluctant to book this tour. But I am so glad I did, that I overcame my prejudices and visit Buckingham Palace to get these droppings, the moster press had placed there, washed out of my brain, so that I could learn to acknowledge what British Monarchy means and how it works. This visit did even more to me - it transformed me into a royalist :-)
A tour through the state appartments (= the rooms which are used for official purposes) with audio guides lasts approx. two hours or more, depending on how much one wants to listen to the additional explanations offered on the audio tape. The tour includes eight rooms and three galleries on two floors and one special exhibition, which changes yearly. Given my former perceptions and the fact that I actually never visited a working palace but only palaces and castles which are no longer in use but are only museums, I was very much impressed. But on the other hand, I don?t know what I had expected. Maybe more glamour? Glamorous the palace is, but in a very much distinctive and, yes, unobtrusively way. There is an incredible harmony in every room and in the sequence of the rooms as well. Partly this is merit of John Nash who had designed the interiors but I am sure that it is also the delicate taste of the ones who live in the palace today, the monarch family and the staff. Everything is very light, bright, thanks to the countless glass ceiling lights. While walking through the strictly determinated path, one can stop wherever one wants. The audio guide has a great many additional explanations about ceiling, doors, friezes, furniture, events. Make sure you stop enough to take in all these magnificent details. And don?t miss the ceilings ? they are designed to round up the rooms? harmony. My favourite room? I think it is the Music Room with a remarkably beautiful ceiling. Don?t miss to look closer at the painting of Queen Alexandra in the White Drawing room: her veil is remarkably painted, it gives the illusion of a feather-light fabric. And don?t miss to look at the paintings in the Picture Gallery: lovers of Venezia La Serenissima will find many Canaletto paintings there. Mid 18th century, George III bought a large number of books and paintings from the British Consul in Venice, among these more than fifty of Canaletto?s paintings.
The theme of the special exhibition in 2008 was the State Banquet. The Ballroom was set for this event and a very interesting set of explanatory behind-the-scenes films can be watched in the next small room, which emphasise the importance and the precision work of the staff to make these banquets successful. It is amazing if one imagines that The Queen gave 97 of these banquets until now (which makes 1,7 per year) and that preparation for one needs approximately 6 months. For more information, the Royal website has a special part with details about State Banquet and explanations by curator Kathryn Jones on youtube. The theme of 2007 was commemoration of the 60th wedding anniversary and from what I have read, 2009 will feature music entertainment.
For more details of the palace interiors, please see a slide show on the Royal Collection website and for more details artwork in the e-gallery (1290 pieces of art).
The duration of the summer opening varies each year. Check the website below for the exact dates. In 2009 it will be August 1 to September 27, daily from 9:45 to 18:00.
Admission is £16,50 per person with reductions for kids, seniors, students and families. An audio guide is included in the fee, available in eight different languages.
An interesting option is the so-called Royal Day Out, which will give access to the State Rooms, The Royal Mews and The Queen?s Gallery. Admission is £29,50 per person (and the aforementioned reductions). This is what I booked. The tickets can be booked online (thank you Sarah for allowing me to use your PC for this) or bought directly at the Palace shop. Note that this shop is NOT at the entrance of Buckingham Palace but opposite of The Royal Mews.
If you book a visit to the State Rooms alone, you have to select a time slot. But if you book Royal Day Out, you have to select the time slot only for the Queen?s Gallery. The staff is very friendly and helpful for decisions of how to visit best. They told me to visit the palace in the afternoon, as it is usually less crowded then. So I went to the mews first, then, following my time slot to visit the Queen?s Gallery and was at Buckingham Palace at approx. 14:30. Note that you have to leave any bigger bags at a checkroom in the Queen?s Gallery; in Buckingham Palace you can drop it at the security and it will be brought to you to the garden (which is where you leave the palace). Security is tight of course (like at airports) and photography inside the palace and the Queen?s Gallery is strictly forbidden.
Address: The Mall, London SW1A 1AA
Directions: Buckingham Palace. Tube station: Victoria (exit to the north, walk down Buckingham Palace Rd. to shop]) (District, Circle and Victoria).
othercontact: E-mail bookinginfo@royalcollecti
Phone: +44 (0)20 7766 7322
More Things to Do in London (26)
More Reviews (13)
- Desperate sex in the shoe shop
- See All State Opening, highlight of Parliament...
- ...and the lamplighter starts his...
- THANK YOU, Andrew Duncan for your books
Trekki's Related Pages
Have you been to London?Share Your Travels