Buckingham Palace and London residence of the British sovereign is situated within the borough of Westminster. The palace takes its name from the house built for John Sheffield, duke of Buckingham in 1705. It was bought in 1762 by George III for his wife, Queen Charlotte, and became known as the queen’s house.
Within the palace, the Queen’s Gallery exhibits works from the royal art collection, including Fabergé eggs and drawings by Leonardo da Vinci. The changing of the guard takes place regularly (generally every morning from May through July and every other morning during the rest of the year), but the royal standard is flown over the palace only when the sovereign is in residence.
- Traditionally Buckingham is closed to the public, the State Rooms of the palace were opened to tourists during August and September in the mid-1990s to finance repairs to Windsor Castle, which was damaged by fire in 1992.
- A few areas of the place are open to the public to have a view of majestic royalty
- There are a lot many things you can do nearby the Palace that is no less adventure.
1. Witness the Changing of the Guard
This world-famous event doesn’t happen every day and doesn’t take place in certain weather conditions. Where should you stand? When should you get here?
The Changing of the Guard, or the Guard Mounting, is a formal ceremony in which the New Guard publically takes over the responsibilities of the Old Guard. The ceremony takes place every other day at Buckingham Palace in London. It begins promptly at 10:45 am, with the handover taking place at 11 am sharp. The Regimental Band or Corps of Drums provides musical support during the ceremony.
The ceremony is free to the public, although it’s recommended that visitors arrive early to secure a good viewing spot. London tourists are encouraged to check the online schedule of the Guard Mounting, as the ceremony is cancelled when large events are held in the city centre.
2. Take a tour of the Buckingham
Buckingham Palace is one of the most famous buildings in the world and is home to our King, Charles III. A sprawling complex of over 700 rooms, there are only a few parts of the Palace open to the public.
Whenever Her Majesty is away for her summer holidays, the State Rooms inside Buckingham Palace are open to the public, giving you a chance to look behind the scenes at one of the world’s most famous royal residences.
The Mews is home to the Royal Family’s carriages and is responsible for all their travel arrangements throughout the year.
A fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse into all the work that surrounds the Royal Family, the Mews is open from February to November each year.
An art gallery attached to Buckingham Palace, the Queen’s Gallery features a rotating collection of works from the Royal Collection and is open all year round.
3. Banqueting House
Banqueting House is the last remaining piece of a monumental palace that used to stand here – the Palace of Whitehall. The playground of kings like Henry VIII, Whitehall burned to the ground in the late 17th century and this building is all that remains.
Banqueting House is crowned with a ceiling painted by Rubens, boasts a beautiful undercroft, and was the execution site of King Charles I. For more information, including opening hours and ticket prices check out our blog post.
4. Westminster Abbey
One of the most famous churches in the world and an icon of London is Westminster Abbey.
From royal weddings, funerals, and coronations, to burial sites of British icons and kings and queens, the Abbey is full of fascinating history.
Each ticket purchased gives you a complimentary audio guide that you can take at your leisure. Or you can attend one of the verger tours, led by those who work at the church. The Abbey is also open for worship, which is free of charge.
5. The Palace of Westminster, Houses of Parliament, and Big Ben
Located within the Palace of Westminster, sits the Houses of Parliament. Both the House of Commons and House of Lords are located in this building, which belongs to King George III. There are several ways for guests to visit the Houses of Parliament.
When Parliament is not in session (Saturdays and various holidays throughout the year) the Palace is open for guided and audio tours. These walks take you through the Queen’s rooms and inside the House of Lords and House of Commons before finishing in the nearly 1,000-year-old Westminster Hall.
Whenever Parliament is in session, there are no public tours. However, visitors can enter the building and watch Parliamentary debates inside the public galleries both in the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
The Queen Elizabeth II Tower, otherwise known as ‘Big Ben’ is undergoing a major refurbishment that is set to be completed in 2022. This means it is not possible to see the Tower as of yet.