The London Home of Her Majesty the Queen
Buckingham Palace is the London home of Her Majesty the Queen. The ‘office’ as she may say. There are state apartments designed for entertaining, modern offices, private living quarters and guests suites. In total there are 775 rooms. Windsor Castle is the Queen’s weekend home.
Once a much smaller private home of the Duke of Buckingham, the house was bought by King George III (1760–1820) and used as a private home; he was keen to be away from the smelly River Thames. His son and heir, the Prince Regent, becomes King George IV in 1820 and spends lavishly, transforming a home into a palace.
Buckingham Palace is a working Palace and is only open from July to October. The Queen tends to spend this time of the year in Scotland. When the Palace is open to the public, we tailor tours of London that include entrance into the Palace.
What happens at Buckingham Palace?
Buckingham Palace became an official Royal residence in 1837, during the reign of Queen Victoria. It is the headquarters and home of the head of state, Her Majesty the Queen and principal administrative office. Over 50,000 people each year attend gardens parties and state banquets. Invitees of the garden parties range from civil servants to charity workers, and people who have made an outstanding contribution to their community. It is an opportunity to buy a hat, or a new suit and meet the Queen on the perfect lawns of Buckingham Palace. It is a wonderful ‘Thank You’ from the nation.
The Queen holds private update meetings with the serving Prime Minister and receives incumbent ambassadors at Buckingham Palace. Presidents, Prime Ministers and Royalty, stay at Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle during an official ‘State Visit.’ So, the Palace becomes a super high-end hotel for short periods.
The most important moment for many high achievers is to receive an honour. Anyone can receive an honour; there are no barriers. For example, your involvement in a local activity or roll affecting many peoples lives for the better; your award could be ‘The Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). You and your family will receive an invitation to Buckingham Palace, you wait your turn and walk into one of the grand rooms to be received by the Queen. She will ask a few questions about you and your work and apply the award (medal or sorts), it is a special event for unsung heroes, the military and public servants.
The State Rooms
Designed grand State Rooms are for entertaining heads of state, that is their purpose; chandeliers, gold, art, beautiful furniture and musical instruments all designed to impress.
The Picture Gallery is an impressive 45 meter (160 ft) long room full of fine art. See paintings by Titian, Rembrandt, Rubens, Van Dyck and Claude. The Palace has the most extensive collection of pictures by Canaletto, the theatrical set painter from Venice. His precise paintings of Italian cityscapes enthralled King George III, who bought a vast array in one go. The gallery is used for people waiting for their investiture, what a great place to ponder before your special event.
The Ballroom is the largest of the State Rooms and used for large gatherings, banquets and investitures. There two grand thrones in the room, tapestries and giant chandeliers.
The White Drawing Room is a principal room for receiving guests to the Palace. For this reason, it has a hidden door, allowing the Queen almost magically appear for her guests. All nineteen State Rooms have beautiful English and French furniture and porcelain.
Buckingham Palace Gardens
After your tour take a stroll through the 42 acres of gardens. Add on a Garden Tour and see the 150 (500 ft) metre long herbaceous borders, Rose Garden and Tennis Court. In the past, a flock of flamingos lived on the lake surrounded by 200 matures trees.
The Royal Mews
A working mews (stables) with a display of glittering State Carriages. The heaviest and grandest is the Gold State Carriage, it is not the most agile and is so heavy eight horses are required to pull it. In contrast, the NEW Diamond Jubilee State Carriage is built with material from historical places around Britain. It is still incredibly heavy at six tons but has modern stabilising technology for a smooth ride. Why not combine a visit to the Royal Mews and make your day a Royal Day out.
Clarence House is the official London residence of HRH Prince Charles. Take a guided tour of the Five principal rooms during the summer months only.
The Queen’s Gallery
The Royal Collection of art is enormous, and the Queen’s Gallery draws from the collection to have rotating exhibitions. There is a permanent collect here too of paintings, photographs, porcelain and drawings.
Touring and accommodation
The best places to stay in London are Mayfair, St James, and the Royal Borough of Kensington. If you are considering day tours from London, staying further west in Kensington makes sense. Harrods and Hyde Park are close. Staying in Mayfair and St James will give you easy access to Green Park, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park and high-end shops. The theatre district called the ‘West End’ is a short hop too.
Our Tour Designers are here to customise your private tours of London and day tours from London. Tell us about you and your interests, and we will create a tailor-made tour. Our Royal Tour of London can include a tour inside Buckingham Palace (summer only). However, we can tailor a tour of London for you.
If this is your first time to England, we would recommend a custom version of our Town and Country Tour; it covers the famous places and allows you to utilise your private driver-guide by getting-off-the-beaten-path. Our Classic tour of Ireland is a good place to start for the first trip to Ireland, and we suggest the Classic tour of Scotland for your first trip to the bonny Highlands. Merging Wales with England makes for a dynamic experience of mountains, stately homes and cosy country pubs.
Official Residence of Her Majesty the Queen
A Working Palace Offering an Insight into Royal Life
- VIP Tours Available
- Specialist Guided Tours Available
- See Nineteen State Rooms
- See the Gardens
- See the Finest European Art
Buckingham Palace at Night in the Rain
Buckingham Palace with Royal Standard (flag)
Queen Victoria's Monument
The Mall in Spring