Buckingham Palace is top of the list for most London visits. Crowds gather every day to see the Changing of the Guard or to simply take selfies. Actually going inside to visit the Buckingham Palace State Rooms is only possible possible in the summer months.
Visiting Buckingham Palace State Rooms
State Rooms are intended to dazzle and dazzle Buckingham Palace certainly does. It all begins with plush red and low level gilding and then you find yourself at the base of a white and gold staircase that seems to head upwards into infinity whilst branching off into ever more extravagant interiors. Nineteen rooms await you. Here is a selection of the most spectacular.
Stars of the show in the Throne room are, unsurprisingly, the thrones. Upholstered in red, one with the Queen’s monogram and the other with Prince Philip’s, these are the chairs of estate used during the coronation. They stand on a small stage, complete with an arch to make it feel like a theatre. The throne room is also used for Royal Wedding photos.
The Picture Gallery
The Royal Collection of painting is one of the greatest in the world and the very best of that collection is displayed in the Picture Gallery. Van Dyck, Canaletto, Rubens, Titian, Rembrandt, Vermeer … they’re all here. I could spend hours in just in the picture gallery.
Buckingham Palace’s ball room is huge. It is not only used for balls but also doubles as a concert hall and venue for grand state banquets. It even has its own organ.
Keen fans of the Royal family will be familiar with the music room, it is here that Royal christenings are often held. It is a beautiful room with a vast curving bay that makes if feel very airy. When you get your invitation to a dinner or a banquet at Buckingham Palace you will gather in the Green Drawing Room before progressing into the Music room to be presented before heading off into the Ballroom. Make sure you look down the floor is incredible, it is parquet made up of many different types of wood.
White Drawing Room
This is my favourite room of all the state rooms in Buckingham Palace. It is here that the Royal family gather before big formal events, once all present they head next door to the Music room to meet their guests. Take a close look at the left hand mirror, it conceals a secret door that leads to the Queen’s private apartments.
Platinum Jubilee: The Queen’s Accession
Every year there is a different display in the Buckingham Palace State Rooms in 2022 the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee is being celebrated. One show are a selection of official portraits of the Queen taken by Dorothy Wilding including the first official photograph of the Queen as monarch.
Along side the iconic Dorothy Wilding photos are the jewels that the Queen wore in each of the photographs. With Royal jewels it is not only the beauty of the pieces but also the history of them. I love the fact that for her first official photograph as monarch the Queen chose to wear The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara … what a name.
The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Lunch
Just before you step into the gilded splendour of the State Rooms take time to look a six metre long table set out for a Jubilee street party. Every things looks delicious, except that it is all made from felt. Lucy Sparrow has created this incredible display complete with fabric hula hoops and cups of tea.
Buckingham Palace Gardens
At the end of your tour of the State Rooms you get to see the Buckingham Palace gardens. You can sit in a delightful pavilion and look at the lawns. On your way out you walk around the edge of lawns, past ponds and through woods. You get great views of the Palace as you look back. Wandering at will around the flower beds is not on the cards.
Refreshments at Buckingham Palace
As you leave the State Rooms the terrace at the back of Buckingham Palace is given over to a huge tea tent. The cakes are always excellent, new for 2022 is the shortbread marmalade sandwich. Why not take one home for later?! My only disappointment with the tea tent is that it uses paper cups and plates not china, but you can’t have everything. Prices are what you would pay in any London cafe.
Buckingham Palace Shop
Regular readers will know that I am a great devotee of the museum shop. Buckingham Palace has by far and away the best shop of all. Soft toy corgis, Buckingham Palace wooden spoons, jewellery, honey from the Queen’s bees and beautiful soaps. I have the wooden spoon and use it every day.
Buckingham Palace State Rooms Review
When you arrive at Buckingham Palace you will need to go through airport style security. Small bags only are allowed in the Palace, you can check in large bags. Once through security you are handed an audio guide, which plays in nine different languages and has two versions, grown up or family. No food or drink is allowed inside the Palace nor are cameras. The rooms are absolutely spectacular and the exhibitions always well thought out. At the end you will find a large tea tent and a room devoted to family activities.
Buckingham Palace State Rooms Tickets
- Open: Buckingham Palace State Rooms open 22 July – 3 October 2022
- Admission: Adult £30
- Royal Day Out: includes Palace, Royal Mews and Queen’s Gallery £55
- Have your ticket stamped on your way out to make it an annual pass
- Make sure you book, details available here
- Allow 2 hours for your visit
Buckingham Palace State Rooms are only open in the summer but you can visit the Queen’s Gallery and Royal Mews all year round