By Kingfisher Visitor Guides
Buckingham Palace is an iconic family-friendly London attraction. As the working residence of the late Queen and other members of the Royal family, the palace is a fascinating place to visit for a bit of escapism. Even a quick visit to pull faces at the stony-faced palace guards can liven up a London shopping trip.
Take a tour
If you have time, you can book a tour to visit Buckingham Palace’s 19 opulent official State Rooms open to the public. Try to spot the guards during the Changing of the Guard ceremony from the palace gates but if that isn’t enough then book a ticket to go inside and see The Queen’s Gallery, which is open all year round, and houses Her Majesty’s personal collection of treasures.
If your children love horses, or you have a soft spot for historic carriages enjoy a day out to Royal Mews – the working stables at Buckingham Palace. Try out a carriage, tacking up a wooden horse or spot the Diamond-Jubilee carriage. The Mews are open from February to November.
And if you’re in town in June, you may also get a chance to see Trooping the Colour. Since 1748 Trooping the Colour has marked the official birthday of the British sovereign and now takes place on Horse Guards Parade, by St James’s Park. This impressive display of pageantry is carried out by her personal troops, the Household Division, with the Queen herself attending and taking the salute. After the event, the royal family gathers on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to watch an RAF fly past.
Book a ticket to go inside and see The Queen’s Gallery, which is open all year round, and houses Her Majesty’s personal collection of treasures
State Rooms and the Changing of the Guard
The State Rooms are function rooms inside Buckingham Palace used by the Royal family for events. Many rooms have particular uses for royal functions such as the sumptuous red throne room, designed by architect John Nash.
Imagine glittering evenings with prestigious guests in fine gowns when you see the enormous ballroom. Walk up the grand staircase and marvel at the giant portraits of Queen Victoria and her family members. Wander through the 47-metre picture gallery and appreciate the works of art on display – look out for works by Rembrandt and Rubens.
Wonder at the luxuriant white drawing-room where members of the Royal family gather before events. Many of the State Room tours include access to the 16-hectare palace gardens with an impressive 150 metres of flower borders to stroll by.
If you can time your day out to the Palace right, you can enjoy the pomp of the Changing the Guard ceremony. Changing of the Guard happens at 11am every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. The ceremony takes place daily during the summer.
Location: Westminster, London SW1A 1AA
Opening hours: July-September 10am-6pm
Cost: See website for ticket prices. The State Room & Garden combined visit costs considerably more than just the Garden visit.
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