Buckingham Palace: Tours & Tickets
The Top 5 Things to See at Buckingham Palace
Built in 1703, Buckingham Palace is the Queen's London residence and one of the last working royal palaces in the world. A highlight of any visit to London, its splendor fully lives up to one's childhood royal fantasies. Here are 5 of the palace's highlights.
1. The Changing of the Guard
The most popular attraction of Buckingham Palace is, of course, the world-famous changing of the guard. Lasting about 45 minutes, it's a spectacular display of British pageantry.
2. The Grand Staircase
Possibly the most famous part of the palace is, surprisingly, a staircase. Opulent and exquisitely decorated, its balustrade boasts some of the finest bronze casting in the world.
3. The Queen's Gallery
A treat for art lovers, this public gallery displays a rotating exhibition of 450 works from the Royal Collection, the monarch's impressive collection of artworks.
4. The Throne Room
If there's ever been a room deserving to be called majestic, then it's this one. Lavishly decked out, it's used for ceremonial receptions and can also be converted into a ballroom.
5. The Gardens
The palace gardens are absolutely ravishing. Immaculately kept and covering an area of 39 acres, they're home to over 350 types of wildflowers, some 200 trees and a 3-acre lake.
Planning Your Visit
When to See the Changing of the Guards
The changing of the guard takes place everyday at 11:30am from April through July, and on alternate days the rest of the year. Due to its popularity, the changing of the guard attracts massive crowds. If you want to secure a spot near the fence to get the best view of the spectacle, it's necessary to show up at least a couple of hours in advance.
Book Your Tour in Time
Visiting the inside of Buckingham Palace is only possible during summer, usually August and September. Tickets go fast, so make sure to book well in advance. It takes about 2 to 3 hours to see everything and the palace visiting hours are 9:30am to 7:30pm in August, while in September it's open from 9:30am to 6:30pm. Note that to also visit the gardens, you have to buy the appropriate ticket, as regular tickets only grant access to the interiors.
Check if the Queen is Home
Those curious to know whether the Queen is at home need only check the roof of the palace. If the Royal Standard flag (red, yellow and blue) is flying, then it means the Queen is home, otherwise the Union Jack is raised instead.
Good to know
- When should I visit?
- Normally open daily 9:30AM - 5:30PM (last admission at 4:15PM). Be sure to check variable opening times before going!
- Is it expensive?
- Free to look at from the outside. Standard adult ticket costs £10
- Will I need a guide?
- Free audio tour included in admission price!
- How to get there
- By Tube: Green Park or Hyde Park Corner. By bus: Numbers 11, 211, C1 and C10 (stop on Buckingham Palace Road).
- Additional information
- You cannot eat or drink in the palace.
- To see the changing of the guard, make sure to arrive early!
What people are saying about Buckingham Palace
Really enjoyed our trip to London and our package we purchased. We wanted to do the London Eye and hop on hop off bus - the river cruise was an additional extra thrown in and ended up being the highlight. We ended up walking most of the way around the city, only using the bus twice - both times to go just one stop. Magnificent views from the London Eye - but the cruise was just wonderful. We went from Tower Bridge to Westminster. The guy speaking was really funny and the facts super interesting. The baileys hot chocolate on board also delicious. Would absolutely recommend.
Tolle und abwechslungsreiche Tour. Guide Julia hat uns an die schönsten und interessantesten Orte Londons geführt. Am Ende wussten wir nicht nur, wo die Queen ihre Corgis knuddelt, sondern hatten viel Spannendes über die Stadt, das Königshaus und die Geschichte gelernt. Die Tour ist absolut kindgerecht mit vielen Bildern, Geschichten und Infos. Mein 9jähriger Sohn war absolut begeistert. Aber auch mir als Elternteil hat es viel Spaß gemacht. Danke an Julia Huber für eine sehr engagierte, freundliche, kompetente und rundum gelungene Tour.
Good tour both the recorded guide and the live guide were informative. Currently not all of the stops are stopped at and the bus is intermittent. We weren't told this on booking. We ended up missing out on some of the things we wanted to see and couldn't get to the stops for pickup in the afternoon so walked back and got the tube to places we wanted.
Good day fellow Globetrotters, I would like to give commendation to London tour and to our guide Chris. The tour guide (Chris) is well knowledgeable about the place and its history. He is also very caring for its clients during the tour. By and large, the rating I could give is 5 out 5. Keep up the good work. Thanks, Patrick
This hop on hop off bus was very convenient! My family and I were able to see all of the sightseeing places we wanted to go to. It's a great way to get around the city and the views on top of the panoramic bus were amazing.