Buckingham Palace is beloved by tourists.  Even when it is not open to the public crowds can be found outside craning for a view of either the Queen or the Changing of the Guard.  Every summer when the Queen heads to Scotland for her own summer holiday, the State Rooms are opened up to public gaze.  Once you have a ticket, provided you have it stamped and signed as you leave, it is valid for a year.  We did just that when we visited last summer.  Make sure you ring ahead and book a slot don’t just turn up on spec.

Royal christening robe

Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Whilst the State Rooms don’t change from year to year, the exhibition in the ballroom does.  Fashioning a Reign is the theme for this year’s exhibition.  Frocks, hats and ceremonial robes  all get a look in.  First of all you have one outfit for each decade, starting with her Christening Robe and ending with the outfit the Queen wore to parachute into the Olympic park with James Bond.  Two versions were made of that one, much to the bemusement of all those involved: only on the night did the reason become apparent!

Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Every time the Queen appears in public during the day she wears a hat.  That’s a lot of hats.  One wall is full of them.  What amazed me is how many you look at and think, I remember seeing pictures of the Queen wearing that.  Small hats, feathered hats, plain hats, they are all here.  The one type of hat that she doesn’t wear is a big floppy one for that would obscure her face.

Her Majesty The Queen's Coronation dress, 1953, Norman Hartnell Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016

Her Majesty The Queen’s Coronation dress, 1953, Norman Hartnell
Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016

Turn the corner and you find your self face to face with the Queen’s wedding and coronation dresses.  The wedding dress is adorned with beautiful embroidery that must have taken hours.  Breath-taking is the word  for the coronation dress.  It sparkles, embroidered as it is with silver and gold threads with diamante thrown in for good measure.  As befits such a beautiful dress the Queen didn’t only wear it for the Coronation but put it to good service for opening Parliaments around the Commonwealth.

 Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016

Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016

Floor length evening gowns along with hats are not something that appear in vast quantites in most people’s wardrobes.  The Queen has lots and she thinks carefully about her hosts when deciding what to wear, whether its bright and cheerful California Poppies in America or modest long sleeves in the Middle East.  There also lots of variations on the white and sparkly long frock, all of which are stunning.  What amazed me most about all of the outfits is how tiny the Queen is and how very slender she must have been when she first became monarch.

Tours of the State Rooms finish with a stroll through the gardens to the exit.  As soon as you leave the Palace, a pop-up tea room has been constructed.  Superior tea and delicious cakes can be eaten whilst gazing across the Queen’s lawn.


23 July – 31 August 2016  Open daily 9.15am-7.45pm

1 September – 2 October 2016  Open daily 9.15am-6.45pm

Admission:  Adults £21.50, 60+ £27.50, Children £18.20, Family £79.20

Tickets are valid for 1 year if stamped and signed on exit and a multi media guide is included

Buckingham Palace State Rooms

Wander Mum



  1. August 23, 2016 / 10:42 am

    I’ve just visited Buckingham Palace two days ago and wow… it was incredible. The annoying bit was to wait more than 30 minutes to have the bag scanned. It was so busy.. so so busy.

    • Catherine
      August 23, 2016 / 12:42 pm

      Really busy but not too crowded once you got past the bag check

  2. August 23, 2016 / 11:52 am

    I’ve never been inside Buckingham palace but this exhibition looks well worth a visit #citytripping

  3. August 23, 2016 / 12:19 pm

    beautiful dresses! I’ve only seen it from the outside and I’ve watched the Changing of the guards ceremony:) #city tripping

    • Catherine
      August 23, 2016 / 12:43 pm

      Well worth going inside!

  4. August 24, 2016 / 4:34 am

    How I wish I could go inside!! So you can only go inside in Summer? I better remember that and not plan a trip to London in winter. :p #CityTripping

    • Catherine
      August 24, 2016 / 5:47 am

      Yes only late July to the end of Sepember.

  5. August 24, 2016 / 9:46 am

    I LOVE the look of this exhibition. Would love to see the detail on the coronation dress close up. Think I’ll try and get down towards the end of the summer when most of the schools have gone back. Great to hear your ticket is valid for a year – I didn’t realise that…makes it good value if you can get there a few more times. Thanks for linking to #citytripping

  6. August 27, 2016 / 8:01 am

    I had no idea the tickets stayed valid – makes them much better value if you are able to return. Embarrassingly it’s still somewhere I’ve yet to visit although I would love to see the coronation dress in particular as it sounds incredible. #citytripping

    • Catherine
      August 27, 2016 / 8:24 am

      Well worth the jaunt, just make sure you book beforehand!

  7. August 29, 2016 / 7:50 pm

    That looks absolutely lovely! I wouldn’t have thought this kind of thing would interest me but seeing some of those exquisite dresses, I know that it definitely would! I must put it on my radar for next summer.

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