Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace was built in 1705 as the London home for the Duke of Buckingham.  Before that the site had been a mulberry garden planted by James I in a futile attempt to raise silkworms.  In 1761, it was bought by George III for Queen Charlotte and in the 1820s it was transformed from “the Queen’s House” into a true royal palace.  Queen Victoria moved in upon her accession in 1837 and it has been the official London residence of the monarchy ever since (replacing St. James Palace, still the ceremonial royal residence).

There are a staggering 775 rooms in Buckingham Palace, including 52 bedrooms for family and guests, and another 188 for staff.  More than 800 people work here, including such arcane professions as fendersmiths (basically fireplace maintenance) and flagmen.  The offices of the Head of State are also in Buckingham Palace and it is the site of state banquets and other formal events.  Each year the Diplomatic Reception hosts 15,000 guests and is the highlight of London’s social calendar.

The palace is world famous for its changing of the guard ceremony, which takes place at 11:30 every day during the summer, and every other day the rest of the year. Things can get pretty crazy around that time, so you might be better off viewing the ceremony at Windsor Castle. The State Rooms are open to the public throughout August and September. They contain lavish furnishings and paintings by Rembrandt and Canaletto among others.  Tickets are limited so be sure to book ahead. Private evening tours are also available.  Outside the palace, the royal gardens are a spectacular green oasis in the middle of the city.  It may be a cliché, but no trip to London is complete without a trip to Buckingham Palace.  The tours are definitely worth it.

The Royal Mews, Buckingham Palace

Also located within the palace grounds  is The Royal Mews – an important branch of the Lord Chamberlain’s Office. It is basically the garage and stables of the British Royal Family, where visitors can ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ at 30 Royal Horses, state coaches, carriages and motor cars. You can also check out the fine livery worn by The Queen’s coachmen. You will be surprised to learn that the uniform hasn’t changed much since Victorian times and even more remarkable is the fact that the tailors used for production of these liveries are the same companies employed during the reign of George III in the 18th Century. The most impressive part of the collection, however, is the Gold State Coach, an 8 horse-drawn carriage which has been used at the coronation of every British monarch since George IV in 1821. 

The Royal Mews offer guided and audio tours for all visitors, as well as a gift shop for you to purchase art, jewellery, china and other memorabilia. 


Buckingham Palace Road, SW1

Telephone: +44 020 7321 2233

Metro: St. James Park (District, Circle)


£17.50 Adult

£16.00 Seniors (60+)/Students

£10.00 Children (<17)

Free for children under 3. 

Opening times for The Royal Mews, Buckingham Palace

3 February - 31 March

Monday to Saturday 10:00-16:00

(last admission 15:15)

1 April – 31 October

Open daily 10:00-17:00

(last admission 16:15)

1-30 November

Monday to Saturday 10:00-16:00

(last admission 15:15)

A typical visit lasts 1 hour.

More Places to visit in London
10 Downing Street
Bank of England Museum
BBC Broadcasting House
Brick Lane
British Library