- Immerse yourself in the Queen’s home - unearth the fascinating history of Buckingham Palace and explore the magnificent State Rooms.
- Experience the famous Changing of the Guard Ceremony in front of the royal residency – kids will be so excited to see the Buckingham Palace guards in their iconic bearskin hats and red tunics.
- Wander round the Queen’s stunning gardens, which occupy 42 acres in the City of Westminster.
- Prepare the whole family for a day fit for a queen with a royal visit to Buckingham Palace. The whole family will enjoy exploring the Queen’s official London residence and everything it has to offer.
Built in 1703 by Willian Winde and John Fitch, Buckingham Palace has served as one of the UK’s royal residences for sovereigns since 1837. Queen Victoria was the very first sovereign to take up residence there and rule from the palace. The palace is now owned by the Crown Estate and is made available to the reigning monarch. It’s hard not to be impressed by the sheer size and scale of this 300-year-old royal palace. With almost 800 rooms and the biggest private garden in London, you will soon see why the palace is said to be worth a massive £935 million! The wine vaults, located below the West Wing, are the oldest part of the palace, dating back to 1760.
Some lucky visitors have the opportunity to step inside this majestic building on a guided tour and take a unique glimpse inside. You will be guided around the palace’s State Rooms by Rex, one of the Queen’s corgis, on the free family multimedia guide. Not only will you learn heaps of fascinating facts but you will also discover interesting snippets about each room. It even includes a warm welcome from the Prince of Wales himself! Explore the Throne Room and try to guess who sat on each one, and spot the Rembrandt, Rubens, Van Dyck and Claude paintings in the Picture Gallery. With lavish gold décor and the finest English and French furniture, the State Rooms are as opulent as you could ever have imagined (and more). See how many clocks you can locate! There are over 500 at Buckingham Palace of all shapes and sizes.
Kidadler Alice says, "I took my daughter (5) to the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace earlier in the week. I was expecting a few dusty old rooms and some artefacts behind glass cases but the tour was very well presented with added extras for families that went down very well! The tour takes in 16 rooms and there is only one route around (so you have to go through them all) but the ticket price includes a multimedia tour with headphones for each person that has an adult setting and a family setting aimed at kids, with a kid-friendly explanation of each room and games and puzzles to keep them occupied. Very appealing to the iPad-obsessed generation..."
Pick up a garden trail to explore the Queen’s private garden. Look out for all the wildlife, which is encouraged to come and live here, including fish, birds and insects. Did you know that the garden is visited by 40,000 guests at the Buckingham Palace garden party each year? Afterwards, stop off at the Family Pavilion, where you can enjoy a variety of kids’ activities, from arts and crafts to dressing up like royalty. There’s even a chance to get a family snap standing on a version of the famous balcony at Buckingham Palace.
What to know before you go
- The Palace usually only opens to the public a couple of months a year between July and October.
- The Family Pavilion, which is designed for children under the age of 12, is open daily throughout the Buckingham Palace Summer Opening.
- Buckingham Palace Change of Guards’ ceremony takes place, weather permitting, at 11am on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday and daily in the summer. Before you travel, check the calendar for confirmed dates.
- If you visit Buckingham Palace on a guided tour, pre-book tickets and expect your visit to last approximately two and a half hours.
- Wear comfy shoes – there is a half-mile walk through the garden to the exit.
- It’s best to travel as lightly as possible because you will go through airport-style security checks on arrival.
- You are unable to take photographs in the State Apartments.
- The State Rooms are fully accessible for wheelchairs but buggies are unfortunately not allowed. You can leave them in a designated area.
- Toilets and baby-changing facilities are only available in the garden after you’ve left the State Rooms.
- Pick up some souvenirs inspired by the Queen’s art collection from the Buckingham Palace shop, which is open daily from 9.30am - 5pm.
- If you are hungry, you can get something to eat at the Garden Café, which overlooks the lawn and lake. Kidadler Vera recommends, "walking up towards Victoria, there is a new development called Nova South just off Victoria Street with tons of restaurants and cafes for all tastes and budgets." There’s a Franca Manca and a Shake Shack here.
- Buckingham Palace is next to three wonderful Royal Parks: Green Park, St James’s Park and Hyde Park. Take a picnic or stroll after your palace visit.
- The best way to get to Buckingham Palace is via public transport. The nearest stations are Victoria (Circle, District and Victoria lines and National Rail services), which is just under a ten-minute walk, passing the Royal Mews, and Hyde Park Corner and Green Park Tube stations (both Piccadilly lines), which are also under a ten-minute walk away.
- Buses that stop nearby include routes 16, 2, 507 and C2.
- If you are driving, please be aware that parking is limited. The closest car park is the NCP London Carrington Street Car Park, which is a ten-minute walk away.