Almost every visitor to London will make a stop to view Buckingham Palace - the official London residence of Her Majesty The Queen, one of the few remaining working palaces in the world today. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is often at the centre of state occasions and royal hospitality. It has been a focal point for the British people at times of national rejoicing and mourning.
The palace, like Windsor Castle, is owned by the reigning monarch in right of the Crown. It is not the monarch's personal property, unlike Sandringham House and Balmoral Castle. Many of the contents from Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Kensington Palace, and St James's Palace are part of the Royal Collection, held in trust by the Sovereign; they can, on occasion, be viewed by the public at the Queen's Gallery, near the Royal Mews. Unlike the palace and the castle, the purpose-built gallery is open continually and displays a changing selection of items from the collection. It occupies the site of the chapel destroyed by an air raid in World War II.
- The palace's state rooms have been open to the public during August and September and on selected dates throughout the year. It is then possible to enter to view the state rooms which form the heart of the palace. The state rooms are decorated with some of the palaces greatest treasures - including artwork by Rubens, Canaletto, and Rembrandt.
- In the year to 31 March 2016, 519,000 people visited the palace, and 194,000 visited the gallery. Thus, Buckingham Palace is a symbol and home of the British monarchy, an art gallery, and a tourist attraction.
- At the rear of the palace is the large and park-like garden, which together with its lake is the largest private garden in London. There, the Queen hosts her annual garden parties each summer, and also holds large functions to celebrate royal milestones, such as jubilees. It covers 40 acres, and includes a helicopter landing area, a lake, and a tennis court.
- Adjacent to the palace is the Royal Mews, where the royal carriages, including the Gold State Coach, are housed. This rococo gilt coach, designed by Sir William Chambers in 1760, has painted panels by G. B. Cipriani. It was first used for the State Opening of Parliament by George III in 1762 and has been used by the monarch for every coronation since George IV. It was last used for the Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth II.
- Also housed in the mews are the coach horses used at royal ceremonial processions.
- The Mall, a ceremonial approach route to the palace, was designed by Sir Aston Webb and completed in 1911 as part of a grand memorial to Queen Victoria. It extends from Admiralty Arch, across St James's Park to the Victoria Memorial. This route is used by the cavalcades and motorcades of visiting heads of state, and by the royal family on state occasions such as the annual Trooping the Colour.
- The Victoria Memorial was created by sculptor Sir Thomas Brock and erected in front of the main gates at the palace on a surround constructed by architect Sir Aston Webb.
When you visit, have a look out for the Flag. If the Royal Standard Flag flies from the Palace then the Queen is in residence, if the Union flag is up then she is not in residence. Flags have flown at half mast upon the deaths of members of the Royal Family, and other times of national mourning.
Over 60 / Student (with valid ID) £21.00
Under 17 / Disabled £13.00
Under 5 Free
Family £59.00 (2 adults and 3 under 17s)