Buckingham Palace

A Visit to the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace

As the days get shorter and the nights get longer I like to spend time reminiscing on the summer that was.  This year I have been very lucky and visited a lot of places in the UK.  Some of you who follow me may already know what I have been up to from my updates on Twitter and Instagram.  You may therefore be aware that I visited the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace earlier this year as part of my FiftyB4Fifty (you can click here for the other 49).

I have walked pass Buckingham Palace so many times asking myself numerous questions such as

  • Do they really use all those rooms?
  • Is it just a few rooms or are there lots of rooms?
  • What about the decor and furniture?
  • Where is the front door?
  • What is the garden like?

I suppose curiosity was the reason I put this on my FiftyB4Fifty.  Also I wanted to learn more about the State Rooms so that whenever any futures visits in the State Rooms and there are pictures in the papers or on television I would understand where they are taking place.


This is not the entrance to Buckingham Palace but the security entrance.  My ticket had an entrance time of 12.30 p.m. and to be honest that was the time I thought we would be going into the Palace.  No, 12.30 was the time we were allowed to join the queue, if you were early, you were sent away and told to come back.  So just before 12.30 we joined the queue and were led into a marquee.  The other side of the queue was moving into the next section which was the security area but we remained still.

Only after all of the other side had gone through did we start moving.  We went through airport style security having to remove all loose change, belts, phones etc.  Once through we then proceeded to the next area where we collected an audio guide.  Only now 30 minutes later could we start our tour.

Buckingham Palace

The view through the arch standing at the gates to Buckingham. This is where the tour starts.


The tour is self guided with the option of the audio guide and you walk around slowly and at your own pace.  Starting at the Grand Entrance Hall and Grand Hall we made our way up the Grand Staircase.  We walked through many of the state rooms including the Green Drawing Room, the Throne Room, the Blue Drawing Room and the Music Room.  The Ball Supper Room and Ballroom housed an Exhibition ‘Fashioning A Reign’ which was 90 years of style from the Queen’s Wardrobe.  Highlights of the exhibition included the Coronation Dress and Wedding Dress worn by her Majesty.  The tour of the state rooms was fascinating and we had the opportunity to view treasures from the Royal Collection.

The back of Buckingham Palace

This is where the tour finishes and you are facing the gardens

The back of Buckingham Palace

The back of Buckingham Palace


There is an additional tour (for an additional price) called the Garden Highlights Tour.  This includes the 3-acre lake, the Rose Garden and the Palace Tennis Court.

Buckingham Palace and Gardens

Looking across to Buckingham Palace from the garden

Having decided not to do the Garden Highlights Tour we spent some time on the balcony overlooking the gardens before following the ‘way out’ signs.  Unknowingly at the time the exit path leads down one side of the gardens and it is a good ten minute walk before you reach the exit.   During this time we were able stop to admire the gardens.  Also near to the exit there was a shop selling Buckingham Palace Ice Cream with delicious flavours and we couldn’t resist the salted caramel.

Buckingham Palace Ice Cream

One of the best salted caramel ice creams I have tasted


If you are looking at visiting the State Rooms it might be worth making a note of the following:-

  • Get there as early as you can.  The queues to get through security only get longer throughout the day.
  • Try to avoid weekends and school holidays as this is when there will be more queues.  I visited on a Sunday in September and it was still very busy.
  • No photography is allowed and mobile phones must be switched off.
  • Be patient – sometimes you maybe waiting for everyone in front of view to move on.
  • There is no time limit – you can take as long or as little as you want.  In some rooms there are seats for you to sit and admire everything.
  • Once on the balcony you can take pictures – make sure you allow enough time for this
  • Get your ticket stamped so that you can come back again.  This is near the exit and not advertised that well but you ticket allows you entrance for one year.  As I visited in September I will be able to go back again next year.  I will therefore be able to see a different exhibition.

    Buckingham Palace summer opening of State Rooms

    This sign is showing the way to the security entrance


In my opinion to have the chance to view the State Rooms of any Royal Palace (and especially Buckingham Palace) for £21.50 is exceptional value and don’t forget that the ticket is valid for one year.  You can go back and visit as many times as you want.  Do remember though, to make sure you get your ticket stamped at the exit on your first visit.

Buckingham Palace

The main gates to Buckingham Palace




  • Judi October 30, 2016 at 9:34 am

    Great tips Jo and has inspired me to visit, must remember to go in the warmer weather so I appreciate the ice-cream

  • Laurie January 1, 2017 at 11:36 pm

    I’ve been wanting to do this for ages. It’s such a shame you can’t take photos, but understanding. Thank you for the tip on multiple visits Jo.

    • jo January 2, 2017 at 5:02 pm

      Hi Laurie, yes I was disappointed that we were not allowed to take photos. However the guide book is very reasonably priced and makes a nice keepsake. I understand that the exhibition this year will include items given to H M The Queen on her official overseas trips. I will definitely be making use of my annual pass.


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