Buckingham Palace is the official London residence of the sovereign, and was first opened to the public in 1993.
The History of Buckingham Palace begins in 1702 when the Duke of Buckingham had it built as his London home. The Duke's son sold the house in 1761 to George III, it was renamed "Queen's House" in 1774 as Queen Charlotte resided there.
When it passed to George IV in 1820, Nash was commissioned to make alterations to the palace. The main block was retained but a new suite of rooms was added facing west into the garden, doubling the size of the building. The French Neo Classical style was the influence for the design. The re-modelled state
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Queen Victoria was the first monarch to take up residence in Buckingham Palace in 1837. Once again extensive changes took place, one of these was to have the huge arched gateway removed to Tyburn, where it remains, known as Marble Arch.
Today Buckingham Palace is used not only as the home of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, but also for the administrative work for the monarchy. It is here in the state apartments that Her Majesty receives and entertains guests invited to the Palace.
The entrance to Buckingham Palace is from Buckingham Palace Road, via Ambassador's Court. On the original site of the old entrance hall, sits the appropriately named Grand Hall in which you will see the aptly named Grand Staircase with its ornate floral balustrade of gilt-bronze.
Walking through the Guard Room, you will pass exceptional Gobelin tapestries on the walls. In the Green Drawing Room, the walls are covered with vibrantly coloured silk, which compliments the gilded and coved ceiling perfectly. Queen Charlotte's salon was on this site.
The Throne Room is a splendid sight - a magnificent spectacle of scarlet and gold. As its centrepiece are the chairs used at the coronation of Her Majesty The Queen in 1953. The Ballroom which is 122 feet long, was opened in Queen Victoria's reign in 1856 to celebrate the end of the Crimean war.
Buckingham Palace is home to one of the finest collections of art in the country, and in the Nash-designed picture gallery you can see wonderful paintings by Rembrandt, Canaletto, Vermeer, Rubens and many other art treasures. The Royal Collection is held in trust for the nation by the Queen, and is rightly regarded as part of Britain's National Heritage rather than a private collection.
You will seem more paintings in the State Dining Room, as portraits of several monarchs hang on the red silk damask walls. The Prince Regent purchased the regency dining chairs in 1813 for use at his home, Carlton House.
The Blue Drawing Room is another of Nash's stunning creations. If you look closely you'll see that the thirty onyx columns are in fact fake. The Sevres porcelain however is the real thing - it was made for Napoleon.
When you're in the domed Music Room, go to the semi-circular bow window - it offers and excellent view of the grounds. Four royal babies have been christened by The Archbishop of Canterbury in this room.
Many people consider the White Drawing Room to be the most magnificent room of all, with its English cut-glass chandeliers suspended from the exquisite ceiling, and the delicate colours of the French antique furnishings which can be appreciated against the gold walls.
At the end of the hall, the Minister's stairs link the state rooms on this principal floor to the Marble Hall - the heart of the original Buckingham House. Clad in Italian marble, you will see fine sculptures, including three works by Antonio Canova.
During the summer, the Changing of the Guard takes place at the front of the Palace.
Buckingham Palace tours.
There are 775 rooms in Buckingham Palace. 19 of these are the main State Rooms that are open to the public during August and September each year. There are also 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 78 bathrooms and 92 offices!
There's more than 77,000 square metres of floor area inside Buckingham Palace - by comparison the average new-build UK home has a floor area of just 76 square metres (though this includes houses and flats, and our new homes are the smallest in Europe) - but Buckingham Palace is roughly 1,000 times that size.
There are also more than 1,500 doors and more than 750 windows in Buckingham Palace! That's a lot of hinges to oil, and windows to clean - the windows are cleaned every 6 weeks. There are also more than 40,000 light bulbs.
Buckingham Palace also contains a swimming pool, a chapel, a doctor's surgery and even a post office.
There are more than 350 clocks and watches inside Buckingham Palace - and two full time members of staff to wind them and keep the collection in good working order.
The largest single room in Buckingham Palace is The Ballroom, at 36 metres by 18 metres, and 13.5 metres high.
Of course the Queen doesn't have all this space to herself: More than 800 members of staff work in Buckingham Palace, and over 50,000 people visit the Palace every year as guests of the Queen, at receptions, garden parties and other official functions. That doesn't include the members of the public who visit the state
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Buckingham palace is now going green, with a CHP (combined heat and power) system to cut energy use, as well as double glazed skylights, and some LED lighting to reduce electricity consumption.
Until as recently as 1992, members of the public could only gaze at this magnificent building from outside, and wonder what lay within.
However, even today not everyone can visit Buckingham Palace during their trip, even if they want to - as the palace is only open to visitors during the Queen's annual trip to Scotland, in August and September - so if your visit to London is at any other time of year, you can still visit Buckingham Palace, but you won't be able to see inside - unless you splash out on one of the Exclusive Buckingham Palace Tours which are sometimes available in other months.
The first step in your visit is to get tickets. You can either book your tickets direct on the Royal Collection website or by phone - or go to one of the many agencies on the web that have Buckingham Palace Tickets for sale.
You can buy tickets for the Buckingham Palace state rooms only - or a "Royal Day Out" ticket which will also allow entry to the Royal Mews and the Queen's Gallery.
Getting to the palace for your visit is easy - Buses 211, 11, C10 and C1 will take you to the palace. There are also several tube stations nearby, including Green Park, Victoria, St James's Park and Hyde Park Corner.
Entry to the palace is usually timed, with admissions every 15 minutes, unless you have a "Royal Day Out" ticket, which will be valid throughout the day.
Your visit to Buckingham Palace will include a tour of the nineteen magnificent state rooms, used by the Queen to receive the most important heads of state from around the globe. These are every bit as magnificent as you might expect - lavishly appointed with some of the finest antique furniture and fine are to be found anywhere in the world, including paintings by Rembrandt, and sculpture by Canova. Audio guides are included in your tour, and are available in many languages.
There's even a family audio guide available (in English) to help families with children between 5 and 11 get the most from their visit.
You will then be able to tour the Buckingham Palace Garden - which is an oasis of tranquility and biodiversity in the centre of London - with more than 350 wild flowers, a lake, and superb views of the palace itself.
There is usually a special exhibition also included in the tour, which highlights an aspect of Royal life. In 2012 the exhibition "Diamonds - A Jubilee Celebration" which showcased the use of diamonds by British Monarchs over the past 200 years.
Buckingham Palace visits can be thirsty work - your visit will probably last more than 2 hours, so why not call in at the superb Garden Cafe - serving tea, coffee, sandwiches and cakes, it's a great place to enjoy some refreshments during your visit.
Of course no trip would be complete without visiting the Buckingham Palace shop which has a superb range of quality souvenirs many designed exclusively for the Royal Collection.
Tickets for Buckingham Palace can be purchased from a number of sources - here's an overview of the options available.
First of all, you can buy tickets for Buckingham Palace direct, either online from the official Royal Collection website http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/ or by telephone (+44) (0)20 7766 7300. You can also buy your tickets on the day from the ticket office.
If you plan to return to the palace within a year, then buying direct offers a big advantage: Buckingham Palace tickets bought direct can be converted into a 1 year pass, offering complimentary re-admission - by asking for your tickets to be stamped on the day.
You can also ask for your purchase to be treated as a donation, which allows the palace to claim gift aid tax relief on the price of your tickets.
If you don't want to buy your tickets for Buckingham Palace direct, they are also available through various other websites and booking agencies.
When booking direct, you will be asked to specify the time of your visit at the time of booking. If you book through an agency, you don't have to choose the time of your visit until the day itself, when you exchange your voucher for a timed ticket at the ticket office, potentially giving you a bit more flexibility.
You can buy tickets for the Buckingham Palace State Rooms only, or for "A Royal Day Out", which includes the State Rooms, the Royal Mews and the Queen's Gallery.
3rd-31st August 2013
Open daily 09:30-19:00
(last admission 16:45)
1st-29th September 2013
Open daily 09:30-18:30
(last admission 15:45)
A typical visit lasts between 2 and 2.5 hours
The State Rooms:
Adult £19.00; Over 60/ Student (with valid ID) £17.50
Under 17 £10.85; Under 5 Free
Family £50.00 (2 adults and 3 under 17s)
A Royal Day Out:
(This ticket gives admission to three sites: The State Rooms, the Royal Mews and The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace)
Adult £33.25; Over 60/ Student (with valid ID) £30.50; Under 17 £18.85
Family £87.00 (2 adults and 3 under 17s)
Tickets may be purchased from the Ticket Office at the Visitor Entrance, Buckingham Palace Road, open 09.15am -5.00pm.
Buying a ticket in advance Book online or telephone
(+44)(0)20 7766 7300 A booking fee of £1.25 per ticket applies.
All major credit cards accepted.
Tickets purchased directly from the Royal Collection can be converted into a 1-Year Pass. Ask the ticket office to stamp your ticket on your first visit.
By Taxi: Any black cab in London will be able to take you to directly to Buckingham Palace - so that's probably the easiest way to get there, if not always the cheapest.
By Car: The palace is within the London congestion charge zone, so if you want to drive close to the palace, you will need to pay the congestion charge. There is no public car parking at Buckingham Palace itself, but there are public car parks nearby, in Arlington Street, and an NCP car park in Carrington Street, both about 10 minutes walk from the palace.
By Train: The nearest station to the palace is London Victoria, which is about half a mile away.
By Bus: Bus numbers C10, C1, 211 and 11 all stop on Buckingham Palace road near the palace.
Fortunately, all is not lost, as there are several tube stations within walking distance of the Palace:
Victoria, currently the busiest tube station on the whole underground network, is on the Victoria, District and Circle lines, as well as being an overground railway station, is probably the nearest tube station to Buckingham Palace. A walk of around half a mile up Buckingham Palace Road and Buckingham Gate will take you to the palace.
St James's Park tube station on the Circle and District lines. Use the Petty France exit from the station, then head West to Buckingham Gate, and NorthWest to Buckingham Palace - this is about half a mile.
Hyde Park Corner tube station on the Piccadilly line is also convenient for the palace, as you can have a pleasant walk along Constitution Hill to the palace.
Finally, Green Park tube station to the North of Buckingham Palace is on the Jubilee, Piccadilly and Victoria lines. Green Park is also around half a mile's walk from the palace, but it offers the chance of a pleasant walk through Green Park itself, so it's a great choice if the weather is fine.
Here is a Buckingham Palace Tube Station Map:
If you are planning to write to Buckingham Palace, you'll need the full address, as well as the postcode. The address of Buckingham Palace is simply:
If you wanted the Buckingham Palace postcode to enter into your SatNav, we can confirm that entering SW1A 1AA into the current TomTom SatNav software for the iPhone, does correctly point to Buckingham Palace, although it calls it "Unnamed Road, Westminster"!
Buckingham Palace Postcode for SatNav: SW1A 1AA