Learn about British royal history on the Buckingham Palace tour
Explore one of the world’s last working royal palaces on a Buckingham Palace tour. The Palace is the administrative headquarters and London residence of Queen Elizabeth II, the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom. Standing in the City of Westminster, it is the centre of regal hospitality and state occasions. It is also one of the most popular sites in London, attracting millions of visitors each year.
According to Palace rules, guides keep from talking inside the Palace but will entertain you with tales about the Royal Family when possible. Free audio guides are available in nine languages, so you won’t miss out. A family tour is also available, aimed at families with children under the age of twelve. Join Alice the Footman and Rex the Corgi on the family tour as they guide you through the Palace. Whichever tour option you choose, with your guide in hand, you can gain valuable historical insight about the Palace as you walk its magnificent halls.
The summer opening of Buckingham Palace features special exhibitions each year. This year marks the 200th year since Queen Victoria’s birth. An exhibition will tell the story of how she changed Buckingham Palace into a royal residence from a private house. 2019 is also the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s 500th death. Another exhibition honouring the Renaissance master will display more than two hundred of his greatest works – the largest showcase of the artist’s drawings in over 65 years.
Witness the iconic ‘Changing of the Guard’ ceremony
The Changing of the Guard is one of the Palace rituals, showcasing the spirit of British pomp and royalty. Also known as Guard Mounting, the event starts at 10:45 AM, with the official handover at 11 AM. The Palace’s Old Guard lines up in the forecourt from 10:30 AM before the Old Guard of St James’ Palace joins them at 10:45 AM. The New Guard arrives from Wellington Barracks to take over the duties in a formal ceremony. The event lasts forty-five minutes and generally takes place at the times stated. However, be sure to check before you visit, as times are subject to change on certain dates.
Since the event is free to watch and very popular, make sure you arrive early to get a spot with a good view. Watch the traditional bearskin caps and scarlet tunic-adorned royal guards in this fascinating occasion, accompanied by the Regiment Band.
Be guided through luxurious State Rooms
When the event ends, you can enter the Palace with your audio guide to explore the State Rooms. Since 1993, the rooms are opened to the public on certain days each year in August and September. These dates are chosen because it is the time of year when the Queen pays her annual visit to Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
Buckingham Palace has nineteen beautiful State Rooms, used to entertain guests with banquets and speeches. The rooms are furnished with treasures from the Royal Collection including Poussin, Rubens and Rembrandt’s paintings. Classic English and French furniture also add to the Rooms’ grandeur. The forty-seven-metre long Picture Gallery, holding the most magnificent paintings in the Royal Collection, is sure to take your breath away.
At the end of your tour, you can visit the stunning Palace Gardens. They are home to approximately three hundred and fifty species of wildflower, including a few rare ones. You can also see more than thirty species of birds in the grounds.
Your two and a half hour Buckingham Palace tour ends with a stroll along the south stretch with amazing views of both the Palace and the lake. So, what are you waiting for? Make some memories and enjoy a great day out on a Buckingham Palace tour.
- See the iconic Changing of the Guard ceremony at the Buckingham Palace before visiting the Palace itself.
- Enjoy walking through the State Rooms and seeing masterpieces by legendary painters like Rembrandt and Rubens.
- Learn more about Buckingham Palace from your audio guide
- Expert, English-speaking tour guide
- Small groups of 25 people or fewer
- Entrance ticket for Buckingham Palace
This tour is available daily at 10:00 AM and 10:30 AM.
Your guide will accompany you during the Changing of the Guard ceremony and provide access to the Palace. Once inside, your audio guide will provide commentary. You will meet up with your guide again when you exit the Palace.
Visits to the Palace last for an average of two and a half hours.
Getting your tickets
You will receive email confirmation shortly after booking. Please display your voucher on your mobile device along with some valid photo ID at the meeting point located at the Duke of York Column. A tour coordinator will be wearing a blue polo shirt or jacket at the meeting point and holding a sign with the tour name.
Please note, your tickets are only valid for the date and time selected at the time of booking.
You may cancel up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund.