Buckingham Palace 2007. Photo credit: Leora Chai
with Burlington Bertie .
Venue: London SW1A 1AA. (Buckingham Gate entrance) Daily 27 July- 31 August, 2013 09.30-19.00, (last admission £16.45). 1-29 September, 2013 09.30 - 18.30, (last admission £15.45) |
Access: State Rooms and Palace gardens. Occasional VIP evening escorted tours out of season may be available during the year. Check Check Palace Diary for details.
Tickets: £19, (Concessions). State Rooms and Garden Highlights Escorted Tour. £27.75 Timed entry for the Palace. Book Online to avoid lengthy queues or disappointment on the day. Royal Day Out ticket: £33.25 (Concessions). No timed entry. Book Online
London Transport Nearest Tube. Victoria Station rail terminal.
Wheelchair accessibility :. Yes. Accessible toilets in Palace Gardens
Burlington Bertie's Accommodation Choice:Beeston Place, Grosvenor Gardens, SW1W OJW.
Situated almost in the shade of the Palace, this award winning, family run hotel, has a long royal connection dating back almost a century to the reign of Edward VII. It has been a firm favourite ever since with European and Scandinavian Royalty, British nobility, gentry, civic dignitaries and celebrities visiting the Palace for royal functions, investitures, garden parties, dinners, etc.
The covered veranda overlooking the walled garden is the perfect place to enjoy a relaxed English Afternoon Tea after a visit to the Palace. while the paneled bar and its deep seated lounge is a popular evening rendezvous for a cocktail prior to fine dining. The spacious dining room offers the best of English traditional cuisine, (noted for roasts of beef, lamb and game), presented with stylish and leisured silver service.
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uckingham Palace State Rooms, used by Sovereign and Royal Family to receive and entertain guests on State, ceremonial and official occasions, are opened to the public each summer, while Her Majesty is in Scotland, residing at the Palace of Holyrood House in Edinburgh and on vacation at Balmoral Castle
Entry is through the Ambassador's Entrance and you will pass through 19 lavishly decorated State rooms used for receiving official guests, state banquets and receptions.
Some of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection, held in trust for the nation, are on display. These include landscapes and portraits painted by Rembrandt, Rubens, Poussin, van Dyck, Canaletto, Laurence; sculpture by Canova; exquisite examples of Sèvres porcelain; horological masterpieces, and some of the finest English and French furniture. All have been acquired over four centuries by Britain's monarchs, a number of whom were avid and knowledgeable collectors and dedicated patrons of the arts.
The Royal Collection, (chaired by Prince Charles), mounts a special historical exhibition each year for summer visitors in the State Ballroom, much used by Queen Victoria in the early carefree years of her reign and now venue for state banquets and Investitures.
You exit from the west frontage of the Palace though the charmingly understated Bow Room, (pause to admire the collection of porcelain from the now defunct Chelsea Pottery), to find yourself in the Palace gardens, a green oasis of peaceful tranquility and wildlife in the heart of the city. This is where the annual series of official 'informal' summer Royal Garden Parties are held each year for some 30,000 people. Enjoy a walk by the lake and the rarely seen views of architect Nash's west facade of the palace before pausing at the Royal Collection souvenir shop and a cup of tea in the café near the exit.
Burlington Bertie's Verdict: The Palace tour is more formal and less geared to straightforward entertainment than a visit to the Tower of London or Hampton Court Palace, where you can expect to see players reenacting historical events. This is a working palace used by the Head of State and supporting staff, not a museum, although the wealth of fine art and artifacts in situ represent a priceless collection of evolving artistic taste and fashion built up by successive monarchs over the past four centuries.
The Palace and Gardens tour offers excellent value for money provided you view at a leisured pace and can cope with visual indigestion from a glut of gilt and gold leaf designed by George IV and his successors William IV and Queen Victoria to add pomp and circumstance to Palace protocol.
Make use of the free audio guide, an excellent and essential companion on your tour of the State Rooms. It comprehensively answers most, if not all, the questions you may have. The uniformed attendants in each room are both informed and helpful and will answer any additional queries. They appear to know all the answers.
Buy the discounted The Royal Day Out ticket. This enables you to see Palace, Royal Mews and Queen's Gallery on one ticket without the restriction of timed entry. If you have the stamina of youth, you will wish to make a full day of it. Lesser mortals however will do the Royal Day Out in easier stages, visiting the Palace and gardens first on one day and returning on another day to see All The Queen's Horses and The Queen's Gallery.
Check out the Royal Collection's Virtual Tour for a preview of the grand Ambassador's Entrance, the Throne Room, the Blue Drawing Room and the White Drawing Room.
YouTube: A superb description of the Palace
YouTube: A superb description of the Palace, pt. 2
YouTube: Photographs of the state and private rooms with music
YouTube: Reception at Buckingham Palace
The Queen's Gallery
The Royal Mews
10 Tips for Enjoying Your Palace Visit
1. Buy the combined Royal Day Out discount ticket option if possible. It gives you unrestricted access for 12 months to both Palace and Gardens during summer opening times and to the Queen's Gallery and Royal Mews for one year.
2. Ensure you take the excellent audio tour facility on your Palace tour and buy the beautifully illustrated official Palace guidebook. Between them they identify every picture, artifact and design in every room through which you pass.
3. Take your time and view at your leisure. Although you follow a designated route you are not harried by a tour guide. Do not allow yourself to be rushed by sprint visitors: you need time to acclimatize to the visual explosion of colour and imperial grandeur evidenced by the circumstance of each room.
4. Look up as well as around you. The ceilings are in all cases remarkably ornate stucco or glasswork, or both. Pause to identify the many marbles you see. They have fascinating histories or symbolic meaning, reflecting the mutual tastes of Queen Victoria and her beloved Albert
5. Pause in the gardens after your Palace tour. Some of the best views of the Palace are from across the lake. The gardens and glades walks are teeming with wildlife and varied flora in this urban oasis.
6. If you plan to see everything in one day on the Royal Day Out ticket, visit the Palace in the morning when it will be less crowded. Lunch at the excellent Goring or Rubens Hotel nearby, (Beeston Place, near the exit), and return in the afternoon to visit the Queen's Gallery and Royal Mews before relaxing over Afternoon Tea at the Goring or the Rubens.
7. Don't forget to visit the Royal Collection Gift Shop . Each year The Queen chooses designs for limited edition china and crystal giftware, Royal Collection facsimiles and other exclusives. The Palace gift wrap and gift boxes add cachet to every gift you buy. Sales tax can be reclaimed by overseas visitors. There is an online buying facility for some items with special pages for buyers in USA and Canada buyers.
8. Allow at least two hours and preferably three for your visit to Buckingham Palace and gardens. Remember that your ticket shows a timed entrance. Tickets are valid on date and time shown. Avoid weekends if possible. They are likely to be crowded.
9. Make use of the excellent new Royal Collection e-Gallery before and after your visit. This is an ever-expanding, multimedia catalogue of some of the greatest works in the Royal Collection, many of which you will see in the Palace or Queen's Gallery.
10. There are toilet facilities in the Palace gardens near the exit.