Buckingham Palace is one of the few remaining working royal palaces in the world: home of the Queen, it is internationally renowned as the focus of national and royal celebrations, and of course as a backdrop for the Changing of the Guard ceremony. For the last 20 years, Buckingham Palace has thrown open its doors for 10 weeks over the summer, and this year is no different: from 20th July to 29th September, visitors can step inside this historic, world-famous palace and experience its grandeur for themselves.
With over 775 rooms – including 78 bathrooms – your visit certainly won’t disappoint! One of the highlights is the opportunity to explore the 19 State Rooms – a suite of extravagantly decorated public rooms, where the Queen receives and entertains her subjects and visiting officials. Many of these rooms were used during William and Kate’s wedding reception, and are lavishly decorated with glittering candelabra, some of the finest English and French furniture in the world, luxurious carpets, marble columns, and impressive works of art.
The Grand Staircase is another highlight: this arresting, bronze staircase was intricately designed by architect John Nash, and looks particularly impressive lit by a carved glass dome in the ceiling. Art-lovers will marvel at paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens and Poussin, and sculpture by Canova and Chantrey; don’t miss the imposing, majestic Throne Room, used in ceremonial receptions and forming the backdrop to the Royal Wedding photos; and enjoy being shown around by Prince Charles, the voice of your free audio guide!
Each year, there are special exhibitions as part of the palace’s summer opening, and this year’s are particularly noteworthy: 2019 marks 200 years since Queen Victoria’s birth, so visitors can enjoy an exhibition demonstrating how young Queen Victoria transformed the palace from a private house into a working royal residence. 2019 also marks the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death, so a second exhibition displays more than 200 of his greatest drawings in the Royal Collection – the largest exhibition of da Vinci’s work in over 65 years. Although its doors are open for a full 10 weeks, Buckingham Palace’s summer opening is extremely popular, so make sure to book in advance.
Buckingham Palace is located two miles away from us at the Mercure Paddington – easily accessible by public transport, or, on a fine day, a beautiful walk through the city’s finest parks. Once you’ve absorbed as much royalty as you can manage, enjoy a leisurely stroll back to us through some of London’s lushest greenery.