Visit Buckingham Palace – Royal Collection Trust

Buckingham Palace is the London residence and administrative headquarters of the monarch of the United Kingdom. Located in Westminster, central London, the palace is often at the centre of state occasions and royal hospitality. It has been a focal point for the British people at times of national rejoicing and mourning.

The History of Buckingham Palace


The site was acquired by King George III in 1761 as a townhouse for Queen Charlotte. It was known as Buckingham House until it was acquired by King George IV in 1828, who then added the terrace and conservatory; these were principally (in red) designed by John Nash.

The early 19th century saw the development of the grand entrance and Marble Hall, both of which were designed by Sir John Soane. The palace’s interior was extensively remodelled in the 1850s by Sir Charles Barry after the fire of 1834, including the installation of large picture galleries and the Crystal Fountain in the garden.

The Buckingham Palace Gardens

The Buckingham Palace Gardens are the largest private gardens in London; they are Grade I listed on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens. The Palace is one of the major tourist attractions in London. A £1.4 billion project to renovate the palace was announced in February 2012; this includes plans for 300 new rooms, two new permanent state suites and more office space.

The Royal Standard is flown when the Queen is in residence (currently August to September) and sometimes also when she is away on official business. The Union Flag and the Royal Arms of Her Majesty in Right of the United Kingdom, with a white border when used in Scotland, is flown from the Victoria Tower during state visits and at half mast upon the death of an important national or international figure.

To See & To Do

The Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace

The ceremony is normally performed by regiments of the British Army drawn from guards units. The Queen has attended 53 such ceremonies, and the last 42 were personally presided over by her. Soldiers of each regiment, drawn for the occasion from their respective reserve battalions (as all are in the Guards division), parade on Horse Guards Parade to the Palace where they are inspected by the Queen and senior royal family members before they take the salute at the official ceremony.

The Guards are dressed in their ceremonial uniforms, which date from 1886 with the newly made exception of The Coldstream Guards who wear a new pattern of ceremonial uniform introduced in 2006. The event attracts large numbers of tourists and spectators along with any well wishers able to secure a place along the Mall or outside the Palace.

Palace State Rooms

The State Rooms are furnished and decorated in a style that is both of the late Georgian era and William IV, though mainly in the earlier style, with very lavish crimson and gold velvet upholstery on all chairs, sofas, footstools etc. The present state rooms at Buckingham Palace represent its most intensive period of use since it became the principal royal residence in 1837. Many of the State Rooms are on public display for the first time, having been refurbished as part of a major project to move the principal London residence of British monarchs from Buckingham Palace to Windsor Castle as a result of bomb damage sustained during World War II.

As well as more redecoration and maintenance, the project includes structural repairs to the palace, replacing some of the wiring and heating.

Royal Mews

The Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace houses the state carriages and horses of the British monarch. In a similar fashion to Buckingham Palace, The Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace is dedicated to exhibiting items from the Royal Collection, especially those with a strong visual art component.

New Office Accommodation

Buckingham Palace announced a ten-year plan to renovate all the residence’s 492 bedrooms and 43 bathrooms, along with other building works. The Royal Collection Trust’s “Buckingham Palace: the Untold Story” exhibition opened in May 2015 showing previously unseen areas of the palace and telling the story of how the British monarchs used it as their main London home.

The current plan is for a two-year project to renovate rooms in the State Apartments, followed by a similar period for re-decoration of public spaces. The intention is that most of the rooms will be ready for occupancy from 2017 onwards.

The plan also includes the transformation of some of its office and support areas into new living quarters for junior members of the Royal Family.

Royal Collection

The Royal Collection is a trove of ancient history that contains 7,000 paintings and 30 thousand drawings. It also features 450,00 photographs as well the world’s most famous jewels-the crowns worn by Britain’s monarchs since Tudor times! But this collection goes much deeper than just precious metals; it includes items like armor suits for knights in training or textiles with stories from during war time periods, old furniture, ceramics, textiles, crowns, weapons, armor, jewelry, watches, musical instruments, housewares, plants and more.

The Royal Collection Trust is a registered charity under English law. It is placed on financial footing by the Sovereign Grant from HM Treasury, which is covered by money from the annual British budget and also receives funding from private sources.

How much does it cost to tour Buckingham Palace?

The Queen is committed to ensuring that the public are able to enjoy the state rooms of Buckingham Palace at an affordable price. There is no charge for admission to view the permanent state rooms, but there may be charges for temporary exhibitions in some of these rooms.

How many rooms does Buckingham Palace have?

There are 775 rooms including 19 State rooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms.

Can you go inside Buckingham Palace?

The majority of the rooms in Buckingham Palace are open to visitors when The Queen is not in residence. Approximately 1 million visitors come to Buckingham Palace every year.

What time is Buckingham Palace open?

Buckingham Palace is open to the public every summer from July until September and for a shorter period in spring and winter.

Does anyone live at Buckingham Palace?

The Royal Family use Buckingham Palace during State visits and in summer, when members of the family are in London, they will stay at the palace.

Is there a swimming pool at Buckingham Palace?

There is a pool in the basement of Buckingham Palace that was added by King Edward VII, but it is not used as a swimming pool today.

Does the tube go under Buckingham Palace?

Buckingham Palace does not have an underground station. Green Park and St James’s Park both meet the palace, providing quick connections to many destination in central London.

Who has lived in Buckingham Palace?

Since 1761, when George III became the first monarch to take up permanent residence, a whole succession of kings and queens have lived there.

Is Windsor Castle bigger than Buckingham Palace?

Although Windsor Castle is older, Buckingham Palace has an extra floor above the state rooms which makes it larger. Windsor Castle is also half a mile further from the River Thames than Buckingham Palace, which means that it is further from central London.

Can you go in Buckingham Palace gardens?

No, the gardens are private.

Where is Buckingham Palace garden entrance?

The Queen’s Gallery is now situated where once was the entrance to the private garden. This entrance is no longer used by the public, but was a popular place for many royal events in the 19th century.

Does Buckingham Palace have a private garden?

The garden is the only part of Buckingham Palace that is not open to visitors. It is surrounded by high walls, entered through the north gate which faces St. James’s Park, and covers an area of 0.4 hectares (1 acre).

Is the changing of the guard every day?

The guard is changed every day in summer, but only on alternate days the rest of the year.

Has changing of the guard resumed?

Changing of the guards takes place at Buckingham Palace during summer months, normally between May and July. This is not a daily occurrence therefore it is best to check the traditional ceremony dates before planning your visit to London.

How many guards are there at Buckingham Palace?

There are currently five guard-changing platoons at Buckingham Palace and one of these is always on duty.

What time is the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace?

The guard change at Buckingham Palace starts at 11.30am, 11am on Sundays and public holidays, with the ceremony finishing at 1pm all year round.

Can you see the changing of the guard from inside Buckingham Palace?

The best place to view the ceremony is from one of the gates surrounding Buckingham Palace.

Are Buckingham Palace State Rooms open?

When The Queen is not in residence, the State Rooms and Queen’s Gallery can be viewed by visitors from 10am until 4.30pm throughout the summer and spring months.

Do people live in the Royal Mews?

The Mews are not residences for the Royal Family; they house the Royal Carriages.

Can you see horses at the Royal Mews?

The Royal Mews are open to visitors each summer, when the carriage horses are at their winter home in Windsor.

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