BUCKINGHAM PALACE: THE STATE ROOMS

Buckingham Palace State Rooms are not your normal run-of-the-mill tourist attraction.  For a start, they are part of the largest working palace in the world.  Then they are only open to the paying public for a short time every summer and then you are politely but firmly informed that mobile phones should not be used and nor should cameras.  Nothing as impolite as making you give up your electronics, just the information that they are not welcome.  It works.  I didn’t see a single person being so rude as to even think about it.  To feed the need to click and swipe you are handed an interactive audio guide.  Your tour starts with the Prince of Wales thanking you for coming.

Buckingham Palace audio guide

State Rooms are intended to dazzle and dazzle the ones at Buckingham Palace certainly do.  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.

The Ballroom at Buckingham Palace prepared for a State Banquet Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 2015

The Ballroom at Buckingham Palace prepared for a State Banquet
Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 2015

Stately homes are often in a state of semi-shaded gloom, as blinds are kept lowered and windows shut to control climate and help preserve the fixtures and fittings.  Buckingham Palace is a busy workplace and here the windows are not only not shaded but, on the day of our visit, wide open to let a welcome breeze in.  The junior CW’s were especially taken with a secret door in the White Drawing Room, it leads to the private apartments.  It is concealed behind the mirror on the left hand side of picture, we liked to think of the Queen lurking there and pouncing out to surprise her visitors.

The Royal Collection © 2002, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II Photo: Derry Moore

The Royal Collection © 2002, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Photo: Derry Moore

Every year Buckingham Palace has a different special exhibition in the State Rooms, in 2018 to celebrate the Prince of Wales 70th birthday the display is entitled Prince and Patron.  The Prince of Wales has selected his favourite works of art from both the Royal Collection and his own personal collection as well as things made by people supported by his charities.

Prince and Patron Buckingham Palace portraits Prince William, Prince Harry, Prince of Wales, Queen Victoria

Families are welcome at Buckingham Palace, there is a special multimedia tour designed for children under 12.  Alice the footman and Rex the corgi takes you on a tour of the Palace and there are games to play whilst you explore.  At the end of tour there is a family pavilion with all sorts of playing and photo opportunities.  Now that the junior CWs are teens, they are happy to have their photo taken they no longer want them shared, nor indeed are they small enough to play in the enticing play areas.

Buckingham Palace family pavilion

For grown ups and children there is a garden pavilion housing a tea room with rather splendid cakes and views across the Buckingham Palace lawns.

Buckingham Palace Garden tea room

Exiting Buckingham Palace is not only via the gift shop (yes I do have a Buckingham Palace wooden spoon) but via the gardens as well which gives the opportunity to see the back of the Palace and to take photos.

Buckingham Palace garden view

Have you visited Buckingham Palace?  What did you think?

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Buckingham Palace State Rooms

BUCKINGHAM PALACE STATE ROOMS

  • Saturday 21 July – Sunday 30 September 2018
  • Open: Daily 9.30am – 6.30pm
  • Admission: Adult £24, Family £61.50 concessions available
  • Have your ticket stamped on your way out and you can visit as many times as you want for a year.
  • Combinations of tickets to visit the Royal Mews and Queen’s Gallery are available
  • Make sure you book, details available here

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7 Comments

  1. September 9, 2015 / 3:29 pm

    I just did this tour a few weeks ago and absolutely loved it. I couldn’t believe how many rooms the tour took you through – and still functioning rooms at that!

  2. September 11, 2015 / 12:37 pm

    Quite pricey but it sounds like you get a lot for your money. It’s great that they’ve provided tea-rooms. I’d like to visit, you’ve tempted me with the idea of tea on the lawn.

  3. September 12, 2015 / 9:46 pm

    We’ve done the Buckingham Palace tour and it was amazing, we really enjoyed it. Thank you for reminding me of a lovely day. #weekendblogshare

  4. August 2, 2018 / 1:21 pm

    We did the tour many years ago when it first began – it’s an amazing place with such a special collection of paintings from all the great artists.

    We also had the privilege of going to a Royal Garden Party (I was nominated by DfE for services to education) in 2013. It was a beautiful day and the gardens were lovely – we were free to wander round them and it was really peaceful considering we were in the middle of London. Military brass bands played and there were lots of Olympic athletes from 2012 there plus the usual celebrities and VIPS. Such an incredible experience; we were about 6 feet away from the Queen and Prince Philips when they did their walkabout. The tiny squares of chocolate cake with a little crown on top were delicious!

    • Catherine
      Author
      August 2, 2018 / 1:47 pm

      How fantastic to be honoured with a garden party invite, those cakes are special!

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